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

597 posts in this topic

...

Regarding the mealy sausages, I have, again since acquiring "Charcuterie", found that if the forcemeat is worked, in my case using a K beater in the food processor for a few minutes, I am able to avoid that problem. I presume due to the more thorough incorporation of the meat proteins which are made water soluble by the addition of the salt, this seems to allow more liquid to be held in the sausage and also seems to prevent the fats from leaching out during the cooking process. I am assuming that some type of protein matrix forms which holds the liquid and fats, similar to an emulsion type sausage. ...

That's exactly my presumption as to what is going on. My belief is that in an "emulsified sausage" there is simply much more emulsion, as a result of the meat being more finely divided and so having a much greater surface area for protein interaction, with whatever residual meat particles being so fine as to become effectively lost in a sea of emulsion.

Can anyone confirm or correct this?

I have Ruhlman, but not (yet) McGee... :biggrin:

PS Tristar, when you say "K beater", I'm thinking that implies the Kenwood equivalent of the Kitchenaid "Paddle', rather than any "food processor", doesn't it?


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

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IIRC, Ruhlman explains that the ring indicates a lack of humidity, meaning that the exterior dried out too rapidly.

Huh, that's funny since my humidity was right in the zone for the whole time. Oh well, still tastes great! I think for my next project I'm going to use some lard on the exterior to slow the surface drying like they do for whole legs of prosciutto.

...Which brings me to the next thing. Feeling hungry and inspired by Mark, I bought a nice bone-in half leg of lamb this weekend. It's the shank end. I thought it might work well because I don't have to worry about rolling the bone-in leg, and it looks like a miniature pork leg. So the plan is to give it a nice covering of lard in the lean spots once it's done curing, wrap it in some cheesecloth, and hang it up. Should be done about the time I get back from the honeymoon.

But first things first - Mark, would you mind posting your recipe for the lamb prosciutto? It just looks amazingly delicious!

-Rob

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Just pulled down and sliced my Lamb Procuitto!!!

Nice and thin slices....

The Norwegians make a dry cured leg of lamb. It's called fenelar. They--yes all of them--are adamant that it must be sliced perpendicular to the way you and I would be inclined to do it. I've had it both ways and can say that they do have a point although it looks a little inelegant, whacking right into the leg that way. They eat it on flatbread with finely chopped red onion and creme fraiche. It's absolutely delicious.

Really - interesting they would cut it that way. I have had cured reindeer in Finland and I believe they cut it accross the grain - sort of perendicular to it -- like I did the lamb, but at an angle - I am going to try it...

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Meant to post this before -- my Venison Salami -- actually a little moist still so I will hang for a few more days.

It is so F..ing humid here right now my cellar is close to 80%...

gallery_33268_2905_856579.jpg

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That looks like great stuff Mark...how'd you like the taste?


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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IIRC, Ruhlman explains that the ring indicates a lack of humidity, meaning that the exterior dried out too rapidly.

Huh, that's funny since my humidity was right in the zone for the whole time. Oh well, still tastes great! I think for my next project I'm going to use some lard on the exterior to slow the surface drying like they do for whole legs of prosciutto.

...Which brings me to the next thing. Feeling hungry and inspired by Mark, I bought a nice bone-in half leg of lamb this weekend. It's the shank end. I thought it might work well because I don't have to worry about rolling the bone-in leg, and it looks like a miniature pork leg. So the plan is to give it a nice covering of lard in the lean spots once it's done curing, wrap it in some cheesecloth, and hang it up. Should be done about the time I get back from the honeymoon.

But first things first - Mark, would you mind posting your recipe for the lamb prosciutto? It just looks amazingly delicious!

-Rob

Thanks Rob. It is here

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1167664

It is Jason's recipie

If you do a search there has been alot of discussion.

Interestingly I got almost exactly 37.5% weight loss after only about 2 weeks hanging. I was really quite surprised it was so quick.

I was surprised actually. 8lb leg now 5 lbs.

Hey Jason -- you were at about the same no?


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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That looks like great stuff Mark...how'd you like the taste?

Thanks Dave.

It is very nice -- as you can see there is a fair amount of backfat, so there is no gaminess. IIRC - I used toasted juniper, pink peppercorns, garlic and and an herb or two. Nice mild slightly wild taste.

Hey Dave did you hang a lamb procuitto?

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Has anyone else had the problem with natural casings where the casings ended up being so tough that you cannot bite or chew through them? If so, did you find a way to mitigate it, or is it just One Tough Pig?

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Mark, 2 weeks seems very fast...i thin mine was about 3-4..but i could be wrong. I also had mine in a collagen casing, so that probably slows down the loss.

looking back, the one i posted about here was the one not in collagen..

jason


Edited by jmolinari (log)

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Has anyone else had the problem with natural casings where the casings ended up being so tough that you cannot bite or chew through them? If so, did you find a way to mitigate it, or is it just One Tough Pig?

Must be a tough pig Dave...I've not had the problem at all


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Nice mild slightly wild taste.

Hey Dave did you hang a lamb procuitto?

I guess I was just expecting more of a gamy flavor, so was a bit disappointed by the lack of it. Next time I think I'll use more venison. The recipe I used (I think) had pork, venison and fat back.

I did a lamb prosciutto, yes, using Jason's recipe. I hung a bone in leg though and it took quite a while to cure. After that experience and the pictures of Jason's and Abra's I'll go boneless next time.

I'm still working on a lomo...the tenderloin was a failure. I need to try with a loin this time.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Up-topic a bit, I mentioned that I have had sopressata in my curing chamber for a while, along with some friendly white mold courtesy of a goat cheese I had in the fridge. I went down in to the laBORatory -- er, I mean the basement today to see how things were going.

Here's the absurdly salty water (equal parts water and salt someone recommended somewhere) with the two pieces of moldy rind in them:

gallery_19804_437_127372.jpg

Pretty crazy -- until you see these sticks of sopressata:

gallery_19804_437_71841.jpggallery_19804_437_64649.jpg

You'll notice in the left photo that one of the sticks really hasn't reduced in size nor has it gotten the mold. Makes me wonder about the relationship between the two....

I'm letting them hang for a bit more and then will cut 'em down and check out the definition (about which I'm worried, I must say).

Oh, one thought about tough casings. I remember reading many years ago about using papaya enzymes to tenderize natural casings. Just a thought!


Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Interesting Chris. Your sopressata looks great, but that one stick is intriguing. I'm am curious about one thing. Michael says that the salt water solution in the curing chamber is to inhibit mold growth. Isn't putting your mold source in the solution counter productive? I guess, since you have mold on the sopressata it works. But it's got me scratching my head.


Edited by Bombdog (log)

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Dave, I spend the bulk of my time in that basement scratching my head these days.

<chuckle> I hear THAT


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Chris, why does the water look oily?

Do you think the mold might be from the slurry spray, and not the cheesy water?

Looks good though!

jason

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It looks oily because there's, like, um, stuff kinda floating in there.

Mold could be from the rinds, the cheesy slurry, the dog piss, the ghosts of dead Italian charcutiers....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Mark, 2 weeks seems very fast...i thin mine was about 3-4..but i could be wrong. I also had mine in a collagen casing, so that probably slows down the loss.

looking back, the one i posted about here was the one not in collagen..

jason

However 35-40% weight loss from original weight is what I am looking for - right?

I certainly could re-hang it, but given the feel, the salty dry top side and just the look of it made me think it was done. I even put a metal rod through - thought it smelled kind of cured, but could not be sure... It looks great and tastes wonderful - but I would not want to be early if I am.

I know Abra said she had about 50% loss in about 2 weeks with hers. How can I be more sure it is ready?

All input is appreciated.

Thanks.

Edited to add that I just re-hung it for a couple more days just to see any difference - I must add the thing is quite solid.


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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Nice mild slightly wild taste.

Hey Dave did you hang a lamb procuitto?

I guess I was just expecting more of a gamy flavor, so was a bit disappointed by the lack of it. Next time I think I'll use more venison. The recipe I used (I think) had pork, venison and fat back.

I did a lamb prosciutto, yes, using Jason's recipe. I hung a bone in leg though and it took quite a while to cure. After that experience and the pictures of Jason's and Abra's I'll go boneless next time.

I'm still working on a lomo...the tenderloin was a failure. I need to try with a loin this time.

I just tried abit more and I think you are on to something -- the venison could just as easily be some other meat ... sort of -- mine still has a unique, almost sweet flavor (not surgary but "meat sweet" - if that makes sense.

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PS Tristar, when you say "K beater", I'm thinking that implies the Kenwood equivalent of the Kitchenaid "Paddle', rather than any "food processor", doesn't it?

Hi Dougal,

I actually have a Philips HR 7805/A which is an old combination machine that I bought here in Indonesia about 8 years ago at a sale. You are correct in thinking that the paddle is similar to the Kitchenaid and Kenwood paddles.

I drool when I see some of the machines in this and other forums, but due to the low demand here for kitchen equipment, prices are double what you would pay in the West if you can actually find the machines! So I have to make do! In actual fact condsidering that I normally produce small quantities, it seems to work out quite well, I can beat, whisk, knead, process and slice\grate with one machine!

Regards,

Richard


"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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Oh, one thought about tough casings. I remember reading many years ago about using papaya enzymes to tenderize natural casings. Just a thought!

I seem to recall having some tough casings about a year ago. The occasion was the Super Summer Sunday Sausage Slam, and bockwurst was the guest of honor. It seemed that it was that batch of casings, as I've never had problems since. They were tough to bite, but not impossible.

I've read in a few places (I forget if one of them is Michael's book) that adding some acid like vinegar when you soak the casings can help tenderize them. Also, I've read that not stuffing the casings enough (not stretching them thin enough) can make them tougher, but I think that's a slippery slope: you're tempted to overstuff them (which I did the batch after the bockwurst), and the result is burst links. So maybe it's best just to get new casings...

-Rob

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OK, comrades, now it's my turn for stupid mistake/will this kill me?

Apparently the temp in my meat fridge was a little higher than I thought. My (uncured) bone-in leg of lamb has been in there, and when I took it out it was in the early stages of spoilage. I trimmed off all the funky looking areas (brownish green) and got it back to looking nice and fresh, albeit smaller. I went ahead and put the cure on it, turned the temp down on the fridge, and am hoping for the best.

So, the question is: will this still safe to eat once it's cured and dried?

Embarrassed,

Rob


Edited by Rubashov (log)

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Up-topic a bit, I mentioned that I have had sopressata in my curing chamber for a while, along with some friendly white mold courtesy of a goat cheese I had in the fridge. I went down in to the laBORatory -- er, I mean the basement today to see how things were going.

Here's the absurdly salty water (equal parts water and salt someone recommended somewhere) with the two pieces of moldy rind in them:

gallery_19804_437_127372.jpg

...

...  I'm am curious about one thing.  Michael says that the salt water solution in the curing chamber is to inhibit mold growth.  Isn't putting your mold source in the solution counter productive?  I guess, since you have mold on the sopressata it works.  But it's got me scratching my head.

Hold on, there's some confusion here!

-- the "absurdly salty" water in the curing chamber is to act as a humidity control. If you have enough surface area of a *saturated* salt solution (ie excess undissolved salt), then that will control the humidity in the sealed chamber to about 75% relative humidity. (Less salt will give higher RH, 100% RH at zero salt, naturally.) This gets upset whenever the chamber door is opened, and it gets upset by lumps of meat contributing moisture to the atmosphere (drying). And the bowl of salty water is pretty sluggish in responding to humidity change, but it will exert a control influence tending towards its eqilibrium (at 75%RH for a saturated solution). You can increase the 'power' of the control (so it tries harder to get to equilibrium faster) by increasing the surface area of the solution and by keeping the air moving over the solution.

-- now, the bugs and salt. Essentially, salt doesn't evaporate. The chamber atmosphere simply cannot be salty (unless you go spraying salt solution around). Salt is bad for most bugs. So salt *in* the meat helps to preserve the meat. Salt in the *water dish* will stop the water (dish) going mouldy. But salt in the water in the dish won't have anything to do with bugs in/on the meat, or the walls of the chamber, other than by moderating the humidity.

And the cheese in the water dish is probably in the least effective place to contribute its bugs to the process. Hanging it up amongst the meat would seem a much better idea.

On a related theme - spraying with a solution containing traces of appropriate cheese rind - this is probably best done outside the chamber, unless you are hoping that the chamber will develop its own resident flora...


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

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Mark, 40-50% loss for your lamb, means in my mind it is ready...if it feel firm, and tastes good, that is even more proof. Eat away! I keep my humidity at about 75%. If yours is lower it would explain the faster drying too.

Rob: i would not mess with teh lamb. To me, getting really ill, and never wanting to eat cured meat again, is reason enough to start over, and waste a few weeks or a month.

jason

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OK, comrades, now it's my turn for stupid mistake/will this kill me? 

Apparently the temp in my meat fridge was a little higher than I thought.  My (uncured) bone-in leg of lamb has been in there, and when I took it out it was in the early stages of spoilage.  I trimmed off all the funky looking areas (brownish green) and got it back to looking nice and fresh, albeit smaller.  I went ahead and put the cure on it, turned the temp down on the fridge, and am hoping for the best.

So, the question is: will this still safe to eat once it's cured and dried?

Embarrassed,

Rob

As others here have told me.... trust your nose....

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