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snowangel

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

597 posts in this topic

So, I am getting ready to make the Whisky Glazed Smoked Chicken, using a little bird I got at the farmer's market yesterday. I had extra brine, as the bird is so small, and I decided it would be neat to brine some eggs. I have been listening to the book Salt by Mark Kurlansky, and all the descriptions of salt cured fish, meat, vegetables, and even eggs made me want to try...

My question: there is a bit of pink salt in the brine. What are the safety issues involved? I carefully wipe up all the dry cure that spills, and wash everything..., but I know that it eventuallly gets transformed in the meat. Will it get transformed in the eggs? :unsure:

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By the way, I am sort of interested in a Bradley smoker, but it costs a chunk of change, and I have made a deal with my lovely wife and business manager that my hobbys have to be cheap. Eventually, if my hobbies taste really good, the money can come out of the foood budget. Seems fair to me- I get to play, but have to be judicious. Anyway, I made Alton brown's flower pot smoker from Good Eats, with a few little changes that make it perfect for summer time charcuterie:

I took out the switch from the hotplate that supplies the heat (it cyclled 50 degrees up and down) and put a dimmer switch in an extension cord. I couldn't find his suggested lid of a round flower pot, so I used a five dollar wash tub. I had trouble with fat dripping on my pie pans that hold my wood chips (smoking fat smells baaad), so I use heavy duty aluminum foil to deflect the fat.

Total cost: $17 flower pot, $5 lid, $6 smoker grate (also at home depot), $7.50 hot plate at Walmart the evil, $5 dimmer switch, $1 switch box, deep fry thermometer already in the drawer, power strip already have 10 of those...= $41.50

I don't have to buy those biscuits to smoke, and in the winter i will rig up a new lid with dryer duct to a cardboard box for cold smoking.

It works fantastic- I can choose my temperature, I have made a 12 pound brisket, a few pork shoulders, a pork loin (see the book), and most excitingly, my bacon. Man, that bacon! That was the key to getting my hobby paid for :biggrin:

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Chris - I'd go with the apple for the chicken. I haven't made either of those yet, but I've done lots of chicken with apple, and it's very good. The hickory is good too, but gives it a sort of "hammy" flavor. Alder is the most neutral, and to my taste, doesn't give enough of a smoky flavor except to fish.

Pedrissimo - that's a really cute little smoker, I've never seen that done before. What's the diameter? I'm amazed that you could do bacon or a brisket in something so small.

Today I'm making pate de campagne, now that I finally managed to get pork liver. That stuff is hard to get around here. I'm looking forward to a fun and messy day of meat play.


Edited by Abra (log)

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Pedrissimo, that looks great! I will say that one advantage of the Bradley is that you can smoke a ton of stuff all at once, which is crucial for the weekenders like me!

Abra, thanks for the post. I think I'm going with a combination (a.k.a. using up the pucks that fell on the ground and that I now can't distinguish.... :wink:


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Getting liver is no problem here (and I even have some very high grade put aside for making some pate in the next week or so), but this weekend I decided to make some more sausage.

Fresh spring garlic, fresh sage, fresh onion, pork roast (what I could find), and high grade back fat, and a nice merlot. It worked wonderfully...

In fact, we took the remnants from the stuffer attachment, fried them into patties, and had them with a nice local sheep cheese on muffins. I'm off for the store to see if I can snag more pork roast at a good price.

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Pedrissimo - that's a really cute little smoker, I've never seen that done before.  What's the diameter?  I'm amazed that you could do bacon or a brisket in something so small.

Abra, the diameter is somewhere around 18 or 19 inches- the same as the Weber Smokey Mountain. It is enough for a full size untrimmed brisket straight from the packing plant (with a squeeze at the beginning). It would easily hold 3 full size bellies or a belly, a ham, and a chicken. it has done 5 lbs of sausage, and will do 10- provided you aren't picky about the grill marks (they didn't mask the color, unlike what others have seen).

The Bradley sure is nice, especially the digital, for picking a temperature and keeping it there. This takes some dialing in, but it does tend to keep temp with all that ceramic. But those of you who want to smoke but are leery of the investment and space..., this is an easy afternoon project. It won't cold smoke, though. Yet!

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One of my pieces of Venison salami fell to the floor in my cellar... I am thinking it was there for about 1 week... with nice white mold - BTW... anyway the parts that were on the floor were still "soft and wet meat, while the exposed areas were pretty dry. Floor is a cellar floor - though I doubt any bugs...

It looks and smells fine - Do I have to pitch it or should I continue to hang and wait?

Hmmm. Would it be a worthwhile thing to vac-pack the non-uniformly dried sausage, and keep it thus, in the fridge for a week or two?

I'd expect that sealing it in would be the best way to even out the moisture distribution.

You should be well protected against big bad botulism, the worry would be whether any other moulds or other nasties are going to take advantage of the conditions... hence keeping it really cool, while it evens itself out.


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

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Abra, the diameter is somewhere around 18 or 19 inches- the same as the Weber Smokey Mountain. It is enough for a full size untrimmed brisket straight from the packing plant (with a squeeze at the beginning). It would easily hold 3 full size bellies or a belly, a ham, and a chicken. it has done 5 lbs of sausage, and will do 10- provided you aren't picky about the grill marks (they didn't mask the color, unlike what others have seen).

The Bradley sure is nice, especially the digital, for picking a temperature and keeping it there. This takes some dialing in, but it does tend to keep temp with all that ceramic. But those of you who want to smoke but are leery of the investment and space..., this is an easy afternoon project. It won't cold smoke, though. Yet!

Pedrissimo - how long a 'run' do you get? It strikes me that you'd be unpacking the whole kaboodle to put in another handful of wood...

But it certainly does show that while nice toys may be fun, they aren't the only way to have fun... :biggrin:


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

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I'm about to do three of the recipes in the smoking section, one I've done (the turkey breast) and the other two I haven't (whiskey-glazed smoked chicken and hot-smoked duck ham). Does anyone have experience with these? In particular, I'm wondering about what kind of wood to use (I've got hickory, alder, and apple and want to smoke all of the birds together) and about the glaze.

I tried the whiskey-glazed smoked chicken a couple of weeks ago, and I smoked it with apple (in my Bradley smoker), and it was great. I had trouble getting the glaze to stick to the chicken, so mine might not have been as "glazed" as was intended, but it was still very good. I'd recommend air-drying the chicken for the maximum length of time given in the recipe, and making sure that your glaze is reduced enough to achieve a good consistency.

Did you try the duck ham recipe yet? I've been curious about that recipe.

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OK, you bunch of pushers. I just spent the entire day (I'm at work, and it's slow, OK?) reading all fifty pages of this thread, and I finally just gave in and ordered the book on Amazon. I asked for it for Christmas, and again for my birthday, didn't get it, and reading all your posts just pushed me over the edge.

I got the KA grinder and stuffer attachment for Christmas, though; I made the same error as someone else, a-way upthread - the first time I used it I failed to put the KNIFE BLADE into the grinder, and then couldn't figure out why it was so hard to get the meat to come through. I hate the plastic plunger and keep meaning to buy a dowel or something instead - meat gets stuck in the "cross" part of the plunger and comes back out.

And I agree about the quality of the KA stuffer attachment... ugh. But before I buy the Grizzly or other stuffer, I have to convince myself I'll have the time to make enough sausage to make it worthwhile.

I'm sure my first foray will be with the salmon, because that seems nonthreatening. Then on to air-cured whole meats. Chris, I really like your curing box setup and will likely steal that idea. I have to check the temp/humidity in my basement sometime soon.

ETA: Susan, I also bought a Weber kettle this weekend and will be using it for all of my smoking needs - your posts have convinced me it will all work out. Right? Right.


Edited by jeniac42 (log)

Jennie

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OK, you bunch of pushers.  I just spent the entire day (I'm at work, and it's slow, OK?) reading all fifty pages of this thread, and I finally just gave in and ordered the book on Amazon.  I asked for it for Christmas, and again for my birthday, didn't get it, and reading all your posts just pushed me over the edge.

I got the KA grinder and stuffer attachment for Christmas, though; I made the same error as someone else, a-way upthread - the first time I used it I failed to put the KNIFE BLADE into the grinder, and then couldn't figure out why it was so hard to get the meat to come through.  I hate the plastic plunger and keep meaning to buy a dowel or something instead - meat gets stuck in the "cross" part of the plunger and comes back out.

And I agree about the quality of the KA stuffer attachment... ugh.  But before I buy the Grizzly or other stuffer, I have to convince myself I'll have the time to make enough sausage to make it worthwhile.

I'm sure my first foray will be with the salmon, because that seems nonthreatening.  Then on to air-cured whole meats.  Chris, I really like your curing box setup and will likely steal that idea.  I have to check the temp/humidity in my basement sometime soon.

ETA: Susan, I also bought a Weber kettle this weekend and will be using it for all of my smoking needs - your posts have convinced me it will all work out.  Right?  Right.

Oh, my, this is an enticing topic, isn't it?

I do urge you, to break in the KA stuffer, to try either the chicken/basin/tomato or pork/poblano sausages. These two are real crown pleasers -- whether the crowds be sausage-naive kids or sophisticated adults.

And, thanks for the compliments on my Weber one-touch abilities. If you need any help, just PM me. My first foray wasn't as pretty as the ones that have ensued, but all have pleased everyone. I keep trying to justify a Bradley, but can't. The trusty old Kettle just serves so many purposes....


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Did you try the duck ham recipe yet? I've been curious about that recipe.

Tried it today with the chicken and turkey, which turned out great:

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Let me say that I didn't cure the duck for as long as I'd have liked; it was a muscovy duck breast, not pekin/long island (that's all Whole Paycheck had, at $15 a pound, too); I used ruby port instead of madeira.

OK, having said that: this stuff is duck crack.

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Here it is on a plate with the last of my peperone. The color isn't as good in the photo as the duck turned out; it's more pink than brown. You can get a better sense of the colors here:

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I've had my doubts about adding flavorings to the brine of stuff I'm going to smoke, out of a sense that it's often hard to pick up the nuances. But I really could pick up the flavorings here, which played fantastically off the smoke.

I really, really encourage you to make this recipe.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris - that duck looks and sounds awesome. I'm going to make that one soon, but first I'm making your lop yuk. It just still calls to me, from about 20 pages ago.

I put off the second part of making the pate campagne until tomorrow. I think it's a good candidate for being a 2 day recipe, although that timing isn't suggested in the book. It has a lot of steps.

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Good lord, Chris, those pictures look delicious! I'm visiting the 'rents for the week and feel stranded - all I want to do is go smoke things. Talk about addiction! I did pack some of the pancetta, smoked venison sausage, and duck prosciutto in a little berverage cooler and bring it home in my suitcase. It's been a big hit with the family, most of whom think I'm half crazy for this new hobby. Anyone get a similar reaction?

Jeniac, welcome to the dark side. I'm impressed - it took me 3 weeks to read the whole thread! When you do get the book, give the duck prosciutto a shot. It's a very easy recipe and a good introduction to the dried stuff.

-Rob

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Speaking of Chris's duck ham, I wonder what would happen if you "hammed" (can ham be a verb?) a whole duck...

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Wow, nine days is a long brine!  Was that a pretty weak solution, like 1 cup to a gallon?  Did you use sugar, herbs, or just salt?

That's a really nice catering menu you have.  I'm especially craving that Brazilian chicken app.  And a cool mobile smoker.  You really need to join in on the famous ang long-running Behold My Butt thread.  A lot of serious home smokers hang out there.

Hey, I'd wipe those sausages down with vinegar in a hot second.  Fuzzy mold is a no-no, and vinegar seems to nix it if you get it fast.

I used brown sugar, nitrite, packaged pickling spice, fresh garlic, and nutmeg, and a few more allspice berries. I have done some other research on other sites where they have called for a 3 week cure? I would image that it would be way too salty!

I have wiped the sausages with the vin solution and gonna Brave it! I will post pics at the end of the curing process, and we can all have a "Should I or shouldn't I eat or toss discussion"!

Chris! that ham and duck look scumptious!

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One of my pieces of Venison salami fell to the floor in my cellar... I am thinking it was there for about 1 week... with nice white mold - BTW... anyway the parts that were on the floor were still "soft and wet meat, while the exposed areas were pretty dry. Floor is a cellar floor - though I doubt any bugs...

It looks and smells fine - Do I have to pitch it or should I continue to hang and wait?

Hmmm. Would it be a worthwhile thing to vac-pack the non-uniformly dried sausage, and keep it thus, in the fridge for a week or two?

I'd expect that sealing it in would be the best way to even out the moisture distribution.

You should be well protected against big bad botulism, the worry would be whether any other moulds or other nasties are going to take advantage of the conditions... hence keeping it really cool, while it evens itself out.

I would be concerned about sealing up salami before the curing is completed: my understanding is that botulinum likes anaerobic conditions, which is what you'd be giving it if you sealed it. Since it's just one salami out of a whole batch, I would think you could pitch it with not too many regrets but if that's not an option rehanging it while keeping a close eye would probably be best. If it's rotten you will know when you cut it open. Maybe you can take a test slice?


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Pedrissimo - how long a 'run' do you get? It strikes me that you'd be unpacking the whole kaboodle to put in another handful of wood...

But it certainly does show that while nice toys may be fun, they aren't the only way to have fun...  :biggrin:

I get about 1 1/2 hours out of a good handful of chips or a few chunks. Now i have to fine tune my dial- I did the whiskey glazed chicken, and it turned to rubber last night! :sad:

The temp was too low too long because the chips bring the temperature down. Oh well- the glaze was awesome- like Mexican candy!

Now I will have smokey chicken stock. Live and learn- keep the temperature up around 200! I figured it could just go slower, as the pink salt would remove my worry about botulism. Turns out there are other reasons to keep the temperature up.

By the way, you do have to take it apart- but it isn't hard, and the ceramic holds the heat well.

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Well, Mark, I can tell you what I'd do with it, which is toss it and start over.  But if you decide to re-hang it and live to tell the tale, I wouldn't be surprised!

LOL! Mark, I'll say that I'd definitely just brush it off and eat it. After all, I ate that green jowl bacon. I guess that I'm up for just about anything. :biggrin:

=R=

Just think of the resistance your building up!

I like it.... yes - well it is now hanging and lookin good... I'll post a photo

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One of my pieces of Venison salami fell to the floor in my cellar... I am thinking it was there for about 1 week... with nice white mold - BTW... anyway the parts that were on the floor were still "soft and wet meat, while the exposed areas were pretty dry. Floor is a cellar floor - though I doubt any bugs...

It looks and smells fine - Do I have to pitch it or should I continue to hang and wait?

Hmmm. Would it be a worthwhile thing to vac-pack the non-uniformly dried sausage, and keep it thus, in the fridge for a week or two?

I'd expect that sealing it in would be the best way to even out the moisture distribution.

You should be well protected against big bad botulism, the worry would be whether any other moulds or other nasties are going to take advantage of the conditions... hence keeping it really cool, while it evens itself out.

Actually that is what I did - wrapped in plastic for 2 days and now they are fine....

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I get about 1 1/2 hours out of a good handful of chips or a few chunks. Now i have to fine tune my dial- I did the whiskey glazed chicken, and it turned to rubber last night!  :sad:

The temp was too low too long because the chips bring the temperature down. Oh well- the glaze was awesome- like Mexican candy!

Now I will have smokey chicken stock. Live and learn- keep the temperature up around 200! I figured it could just go slower, as the pink salt would remove my worry about botulism. Turns out there are other reasons to keep the temperature up.

By the way, you do have to take it apart- but it isn't hard, and the ceramic holds the heat well.

The general rule I usually follow in BBQing is that if it's a food (like a chicken) that you could normally roast at high temperatures in the oven and still get juicy, tender results, then it's better to smoke at higher temperatures too. The reason is that those meats have very little connective tissue. In something like a brisket or pork shoulder, that connective tissue breaks down into gelatin with low, slow heat. But a chicken that lacks that connective tissue is going to dry out.

Of course, smokey chicken stock may very well be worth the detour! I would think you could come up with some killer soups with that...

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It's been a big hit with the family, most of whom think I'm half crazy for this new hobby.  Anyone get a similar reaction?

Yeah, I'm getting the half-crazy reaction too -- the crazy half makes it and the ain't-crazy half is the one that's feeding everyone. :wink:

Report from the crazy half. Today I decided that it was time to experiment with the good mold slurry mentioned above. I scraped some good white mold off of an artisanal cheese rind, put it into a spray bottle with some distilled water, and sprayed my sopressata with the slurry. Then I dumped the rest of it into the ice bowl (trying to keep things cool during a heat wave here) for good measure. Can't hurt, you know? Report to follow.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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A quick question, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed - I couldn't find the Search within Topic button. While I anxiously await the arrival of my book, can anyone tell me what ingredients are required for the salmon that seems to be the For Beginners Who Are Scared recipe from this book? A PM would be fine if copyright is an issue here. The book's scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, and I'd like to start curing that night when I get home from work (at 11:30pm), which means I should go shopping tomorrow.

I do not like fennel at all and planned on leaving it out, which I may have already stated. Mistake? Perhaps I will just use the seeds, as Elie did on page 1 of this thread.


Jennie

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A quick question, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed - I couldn't find the Search within Topic button.  While I anxiously await the arrival of my book, can anyone tell me what ingredients are required for the salmon that seems to be the For Beginners Who Are Scared recipe from this book? ...

I do not like fennel at all and planned on leaving it out, which I may have already stated.  Mistake?  Perhaps I will just use the seeds, as Elie did on page 1 of this thread.

Hi Jeniac.

Ummm. The recipe is "Fennel-cured Salmon"... :unsure: ... but leave out the fennel... ?

Don't worry - I very successfully did something rather similar with Gin and Juniper berries instead of the Pernod, bulb fennel and roasted fennel seeds.

You are going to need a 2 to 3 lb single piece of nice, fresh salmon fillet, maximum one and a half inches thick, with its skin still on. White sugar, (light) brown sugar, and kosher salt - if you have a cup of each, that'll be more than the recipe calls for. Apart from that its just two tablespoons of whole white peppercorns. And the fennel! (1/4 cup Pernod, 1/2 cup of seeds and a whole bulb of the stuff.)

The book very helpfully suggests various alternatives to the fennel - citrus juice and zest, black pepper and coriander, dill, horseradish, ... its a versatile technique!

It is also stated that the quantities can be scaled back in proportion to the weight of the salmon piece, so a 1 lb tail piece would be fine.

As to equipment, the recipe calls for a pan or dish in which the samnon can lie flat, with a minimum of space around it. A snug fit. Some plastic wrap. And another dish to fit inside the first. This is going to need to be weighted somehow and will be used to gently press the fish while it is curing in the refrigerator.

Before getting the book, I had used a suitably-sized ziploc plastic bag to retain the cure, and pressed it between two identical shallow oval serving dishes. That works too.

Ever bigger ziploc bags are going to be useful - that's the thing you may have to hunt for!

So, that's it! Now, just clear a bit of fridge space, and sharpen the slicing knife!

Enjoy!

PS - There is a "search topic" button near the bottom left corner of each page. Just above the jump to page numbers and the "x User(s) are reading this topic".

Click in the box saying "enter keywords" (those words disappear when you click) and type in your keyword(s), and click the "search topic" button alongside.

Now that I know its there, I'm using it more and more... :biggrin:


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

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One of my pieces of Venison salami fell to the floor in my cellar... I am thinking it was there for about 1 week... with nice white mold - BTW... anyway the parts that were on the floor were still "soft and wet meat, while the exposed areas were pretty dry. Floor is a cellar floor - though I doubt any bugs...

It looks and smells fine - Do I have to pitch it or should I continue to hang and wait?

Hmmm. Would it be a worthwhile thing to vac-pack the non-uniformly dried sausage, and keep it thus, in the fridge for a week or two?

I'd expect that sealing it in would be the best way to even out the moisture distribution.

You should be well protected against big bad botulism, the worry would be whether any other moulds or other nasties are going to take advantage of the conditions... hence keeping it really cool, while it evens itself out.

I would be concerned about sealing up salami before the curing is completed: my understanding is that botulinum likes anaerobic conditions, which is what you'd be giving it if you sealed it. ...

Yes indeedy, its anaerobic conditions in which c. botulinum would thrive.

Like the *inside* of a dried sausage. Even without the accident.

Which is why its already loaded with curing salts, and its had a high temperature incubation, so that fermentation has already acidified it.

Which in turn is why I was thinking that it should already be well-protected against botulism, and my worry would have been any other organisms getting ensconsed. My understanding is that its those other organisms that are discouraged by by the simple salting and the drying, (which latter part was incomplete).

I'm confident that the subject of this experiment will be able to log on after eating it!


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

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