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snowangel

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 3)

597 posts in this topic

BTW, how much is this stuffer? My wife keeps asking what I want for Father's day and that might be an option.

bigwino posted an amazon link for the stuffer. The five-pound one is $60. I ordered one and it's been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to find time to use it. :sad:

Chris, do you think the petroleum lube gunk is really needed for this? I have some berkshire pork shoulder on order from Heritage Foods - I may want to turn part of it into sausage and I'd hate to have it seize up in the stuffer. :shock:

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Chris, do you think the petroleum lube gunk is really needed for this? I have some berkshire pork shoulder on order from Heritage Foods - I may want to turn part of it into sausage and I'd hate to have it seize up in the stuffer.  :shock:

Not Chris here, but I do think it helps tremendously. As Melkor posted waaay back upthread, it makes cranking the stuffer (is that what the kids are calling it these days? :wink:) so much easier. I was skeptical and decided not to use it the first time I used my stuffer. Big mistake. The second time I did use the lube and the cranking was monumentally easier. So, not needed, but it will be a big help. You can probably just use a little shortening if you can't find the exact stuff.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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MArk, i didn't know you cna use the M-EK as an internal bacteria..it may be fine though

jason

Jason - that is what I am hoping - for this batch of Venison salami... clearly my Tuscan and Chirizo are ok with the M-EK.... just want to know what is what.

Frankly I like the mold effect with the M-EK -- really gives that white powder coating!!!

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Hi everyone!

Well after a year of perusing the forum, I have finally to start sharing and learning with all you wonderful foodies.

Here Goes!

I attempted to make spanish style chorizo a few weeks ago with mixed results, though one sausuge was left to air dry in my basement after stuffing and it was fantastic (20 days!), the rest of the ten pounds I fermented/sweated a little too long (4 days!) and they were rather ripe smelling after a week, so I discarded them. I had misread fermenting instructions off a website.

I am now on my second batch which are properly fermented and are curing in my fridge downstairs.

Chorizo and Salami.

IMG_0474.jpg

They have been curing since late friday.

IMG_0473.jpg

The Salami and chorizo in the centre do not have bactoferm and were not fermented. I am curious to do a comparitve tasting in about 15 days.

Cheers


Edited by thomasevan (log)

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Welcome, Thomas! Glad that your first foray is in the Charcuterie topic.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Thomas - yes welcome. I like the way you have hung the salami's (well hung !!?? -- sorry couldn't resist) - nice way to keep them from touching, and give a cool look.

Wouldn't one get fermentation from the sugars even w/out the bactoferm? I thought the bactoferm was a prevententative(if that is a word) for bacteria not a fermentation agent....

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bactoferm is the fermantation agent. It is bacteria that is added, rather than relying on natural flora in your basement...as they do in cellars in Italy.

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bactoferm is the fermantation agent. It is bacteria that is added, rather than relying on natural flora in your basement...

... to acidify the sausage to the point that the deadly, but tasteless, odourless and not visually evident Botulinus bacteria can't tolerate.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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bactoferm is the fermantation agent. It is bacteria that is added, rather than relying on natural flora in your basement...

... to acidify the sausage to the point that the deadly, but tasteless, odourless and not visually evident Botulinus bacteria can't tolerate.

OK got it. What role does the sugar then play?

Then I am back to my original question about the ME-K - does it do this job?

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bactoferm is the fermantation agent. It is bacteria that is added, rather than relying on natural flora in your basement...

... to acidify the sausage to the point that the deadly, but tasteless, odourless and not visually evident Botulinus bacteria can't tolerate.

OK got it. What role does the sugar then play?

Then I am back to my original question about the ME-K - does it do this job?

As I understand from Michael's book, the sugar is what "feeds" the bacteria. Essentially, it is the sugar that is being fermented by the bacteria, thereby producing the acid that kills the bad stuff. If I recall correctly, one of the benefits of using dextrose is that it distributes more evenly in the meat mixture, making it ideal for fermentation.

That said, I don't think the ME-K serves the same purpose as the Bactoferm F-RM-52 recommended in the book. The F-RM-52 is a bacteria culture, whereas the ME-K-4 consists of mold spores (Penicillium nalgiovense) in freeze-dried form. Mold spores aren't going to carry out the fermentation process, so you'd be left with an un-fermented sausage. Rather, the ME-K seems designed as a product you mix with water and apply to the outside of the drying sausages to produce white mold. If I were drying in the temperature range conducive to botulism (above 40 farenheit, I think), I don't think I'd take the chance of leaving out the F-RM-52.

This, then, brings up a question I've had for a while. If the drying is being done in an environment below 40 degrees, is it necessary to use bacteria (Bactoferm) at all? In other words, is there any threat of botulism if the sausages spend their entire drying time within the so-called "safe" temperature range? Any thoughts?

-Rob

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Actually, the acidifications kills any bacteria that isn't tollerant of high acid environments, not just botulism.

Dextrose is used because it is a simple sugar (monosaccharaide) which can be broken down by the bacteria to acid. Regular sugar is a disaccharide, which the bacteria cannot use.

Just like in beer making, the more sugar, the more acid (carbonation for beer) can be made.

jason

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Wow, I go out of town for a week, and look how much you guys get done, including getting new converts. Welcome, new folks!

And you have saved me from a grievous error. My Bactoferm arrived while I was away, and now that I'm catching up, I see that I ordered the wrong stuff, since all I got was the M-EK. Drat, if I only read the book more carefully, I'd be ready to start now, instead of having to wait for another order to arrive. I wish the B-P site were more specific about the various uses, but I guess they mostly deal with the pros, and the likes of us have to scramble to keep up. When will I learn to RTFM?

In the meantime, I'll be concentrating on terrine, rillettes, and stuffed pig feet, in preparation for a party in a couple of weeks. Those pigs trotters from Niman are as long as my forearm, which is pretty long. I'm going to try a boned, stuffed, rolled thing that I'm hoping will be impressive. I'll show it off, if it works out.


Edited by Abra (log)

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In the meantime, I'll be concentrating on terrine, rillettes, and stuffed pig feet, in preparation for a party in a couple of weeks.  Those pigs trotters from Niman are as long as my forearm, which is pretty long.  I'm going to try a boned, stuffed, rolled thing that I'm hoping will be impressive.  I'll show it off, if it works out.

Those stuffed trotters sound amazing. I hope you'll share the results here even if they're not optimal. Less than perfect attempts are just as important to learning as the perfect ones -- maybe even more so.

Good luck, Abra.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Rob,

It seems to me that the bacteria don't just kill bacteria- as far as I understand it, they share that duty with your curing salt (in this case #2, right?). For us, who have fridges, in the modern world, the most important thing they bring besides another measure of safety is that they completely change the taste of the meat! They are a mix of bacteria that is much like the bacteria used to make yogurt, and some cheeses. I know that the stuff from BP includes at least one strain from Lactobacillus, which is the same genus as you find in most yogurt. Yogurt sure does taste different from milk, and the low pH allows it to be more stable. At the same time, just like your body, or yogurt, you want your sausage to be colonized by benign bacteria, not nasty kinds! That, in addition to the low pH will reduce the risk of later infection by the unhealthy ones!

By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,

Peter

This, then, brings up a question I've had for a while.  If the drying is being done in an environment below 40 degrees, is it necessary to use bacteria (Bactoferm) at all?  In other words, is there any threat of botulism if the sausages spend their entire drying time within the so-called "safe" temperature range?  Any thoughts?

-Rob

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Rob,

It seems to me that the bacteria don't just kill bacteria- as far as I understand it, they share that duty with your curing salt (in this case #2, right?). For us, who have fridges, in the modern world, the most important thing they bring besides another measure of safety is that they completely change the taste of the meat! They are a mix of bacteria that is much like the bacteria used to make yogurt, and some cheeses. I know that the stuff from BP includes at least one strain from Lactobacillus, which is the same genus as you find in most yogurt. Yogurt sure does taste different from milk, and the low pH allows it to be more stable. At the same time, just like your body, or yogurt, you want your sausage to be colonized by benign bacteria, not nasty kinds! That, in addition to the low pH will reduce the risk of later infection by the unhealthy ones!

By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,

Peter

Thanks, Peter. I had the feeling that it was still worth it for the taste. On the bacon, how did you like the flavor of the cherry wood? I used hickory when I did it and thought it was a bit harsh. I'm thinking about apple or cherry next time.

And Abra, I know how frustrating the BP stuff can be sometimes. The day I got my order, I realized I wanted to order the M-EK as well to try to get some white mold. With their shipping as expensive as it is, I feel like I should wait until I need a bunch of stuff before I order. Oh well!

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Hmm... I guess I will be living dangerously then. The Tuscan and the Chirizo were both done with ME-K "in" the salami and they are fine -- eaten a bunch and still here. The Venison I have hanging is the same - I'll keep my fingers crossed. It had been frozen very cold far a few months.

I spoke with BP about it and I am pretty sure if it goes bad - I'll know it.

I am thinking that getting a serious strain of deadly bacteria is not very likely...

I am curing right @ 60 degrees

Doesn't the curing salt DC #2 in my case help prevent deadly bacteria?


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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pedrissimo...correct. Although as i understand it, the only thing the curing salts do is oxidize the meat, stopping botulism.

The curing salts (nitrate and nitrite in #2, as used in sausage that would be eaten raw) are there to protect aginst botulism. They do change the taste of the meat - and that's why, in this age of refrigeration, we still cure meat. We like the taste of it! (And the dark colour it produces.)

I do think that "oxidises the meat" is a simplification that invites being called an over-simplification! :smile:

If anyone is interested in the detail of the action of these curing salts, I was given a very detailed explanation, and lots and lots of references, here: http://forum.rivercottage.net/viewtopic.php?t=12943 (the thread developed from humble beginnings...)

Using curing salts *and* fermentation makes for a "belt and braces" approach. And there's no harm in that!

But personally, I'd be a bit wary of eating a raw sausage without the benefit of either fermentation or curing salts... whatever temperature it might be said to have been dried at.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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The difference is huge. The hickory I am using has a bit of an odd metallic edge to it- just a touch, and is strong and familiar. I smoked kielbasa last night with it- it is awesome- tender, brown on the outside, pink on the inside, ready for my wife's white bean, kielbasa, carrot and kale soup. But the cherry is fragrant and just as intense, but more subtle, if that makes sense. The smell of it leaps out of the bacon, and it is intoxicating. I have only started to experiment with smoking this spring, and besides a brisket, some pork shoulders, and a few links of cajun-style boudin, the bacon and the kielbasa are my first relatively un-spiced smokings. I have heard that many of the fruitwoods are milder, but I didn't realize that they could still impart such intense flavor. I wouldn't smoke a brisket in cherry, though. Probably mildly spiced pork, chicken, and fish. On the other hand, mesquite and hickory can stand up to beef and heavily spiced meats. Does that make sense?

Cheers,

Peter

Rob,

By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,

Peter

Thanks, Peter. I had the feeling that it was still worth it for the taste. On the bacon, how did you like the flavor of the cherry wood? I used hickory when I did it and thought it was a bit harsh. I'm thinking about apple or cherry next time.

And Abra, I know how frustrating the BP stuff can be sometimes. The day I got my order, I realized I wanted to order the M-EK as well to try to get some white mold. With their shipping as expensive as it is, I feel like I should wait until I need a bunch of stuff before I order. Oh well!

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I agree with what pedrissimo says above. Hickory works great in certain cases. For me, those are primarily with beef, pork butt or more heavily-spiced sausages (with the exception of andouille). For bacon, my favorites are apple, cherry or a combination of the 2. The combo has pretty much become my default fuel for most pork and smoked sausage.

The differences imparted upon finished product by the various woods is surprisingly profound. Not only do certain woods seem to pair better with certain foods, but I think there's also a sensory memory aspect to a successful pairing as well because we get used to certain aromas accompanying certain foods. When they change, it can really affect our satisfaction levels. As this applies to our own projects, finding the right wood is part of "perfecting" a recipe and it can definitely be a challenge.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I agree with what pedrissimo says above.  Hickory works great in certain cases.  For me, those are primarily with beef, pork butt or more heavily-spiced sausages (with the exception of andouille).  For bacon, my favorites are apple, cherry or a combination of the 2.  The combo has pretty much become my default fuel for most pork and smoked sausage.

The differences imparted upon finished product by the various woods is surprisingly profound.  Not only do certain woods seem to pair better with certain foods, but I think there's also a sensory memory aspect to a successful pairing as well because we get used to certain aromas accompanying certain foods.  When they change, it can really affect our satisfaction levels.  As this applies to our own projects, finding the right wood is part of "perfecting" a recipe and it can definitely be a challenge.

=R=

Another consideration with woods I have experienced over many trials is over not to oversmoke. Meats/Protiens can only take on so much smoke before the smoke will impart a bitterness and overpower instead of enhance.

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