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snowangel

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

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I have a couple of pieces of lovely high grade leaf lard in the freezer.

Would these be good candidates for Lardo? They are about one pound each.

Additionally, I haven't set up a good air drying setup yet, would a purely refridgerated cure work? If so, do I need to bother with the nitrates?

--Dave

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melicob   

The sausage stuffer finally arrived and I completed my first air dried sausage -- the epic Spanish chorizo. (I was lucky enough to find delicious smoked hot spanish paprika at the store when I was browsing...) They smell fantastic and I can't wait to see the results. Terrarium dials read 65 degrees & 70% humidity. Cross your fingers for success!

And now for the winner of the jankiest drying closet in the universe:

154491507_3c4206142d.jpg

Having no dowels and not enough space to create a separate drying structure, I decided to use the coat closet! I put the towels in there as temporary spacers to keep the sausages from touching. And made a paper towel "hammock" to catch the drips. (And the coats that used to occupy the space have been tossed on the floor.)

I am going to (hopefully) have more sausage than I know what to do with in 18-20 days. Too bad there is no barter system built on sausages!

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Dave, i don' t think leaf lard can be used for lardo. Also, the lardo is done purely in the fridge, i should have mentioned that!

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Pork Sausage (pork shoulder from the butcher specialty shop, fatback from whey raised pigs, garlic, wine, and thyme from the herb garden):

gallery_41070_2979_70083.jpg

gallery_41070_2979_59200.jpg

This was a half batch (to leave myself both room for more experimentation, and to leave myself more ingredients in case of failure). This is the first sausage recipe out of the book, but I added fresh thyme (8-10 sprigs worth) to the wine before chilling it.

The sausage thankfully did not break:

gallery_41070_2979_15538.jpg

Then I realized that sausage was not in and of itself a meal (especially since lunch had been bread, cheese, and salumi since we had had a couple of hour power failure during the day).

So I tossed together a quick pasta using canned and fresh tomatoes, and I sauteed onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the pan drippings from the sausage (and a bit of the same wine used in the sausage):

gallery_41070_2979_51052.jpg

Tomorrow, chicken sausage...

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This is the recipe i used for mine:

1 liter water

300g salt

9g rosmary needles

2 cloves garlic

3 small bay leaves (i used fresh)

7 juniper berries

7 leaves of sage

1000g hunk of fatback that is as thick as you can find

that is really salty--30 percent salt?

i would think you could take it down to 50 grams which is what you want for any basic pickle

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Michael, i used hte recipe froma guy i got in Italy, he told me you can use a 25-35% brine. I figured for my 1st time i would follow his instructions, next time i may try a 20% brine.

50 grams seems very little to cure something that needs to keep near indefinitely, without using any pink salt, doesn't it?

j

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Abra   

Beautiful and juicy-looking sausage, Dave W. And Melicob, I'm going to steal that coat hanger trick, if one will fit in my drying chamber. I'm always looking for ways to get more stuff in there.

I'm going to send an email to Niman today, with links to the pictures of Ron's green jowls and my green lardo, and ask them for advice.

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melicob, you win the award for best curing chamber!

I wanted to write up a thorough review of my first peperone efforts:

gallery_19804_437_7718.jpg

I'm pretty happy, overall, with them. They hung for fourteen days, total, in the chamber. I definitely would make the following adjustments:

  • As for flavoring, the substitute of vinegar for wine didn't work so well, and I'd add more pepper. I went a bit light, which brings up the cure flavor of the meat, but it isn't, well, peppery enough.
  • Using a 1:1 vinegar wash to wipe away the mold clearly worked -- and it required a good airing out to get rid of the excessively vinegary flavor it left behind. I think a weaker solution would have been a good idea.
  • It's an obvious thing to do, but it bears repeating: if the links touch each other, it really affects the curing on those spots.
  • Finally, take a look at these two images:
    gallery_19804_437_55620.jpg
    gallery_19804_437_15592.jpg
    These spots may or may not have been touching, but I'm pretty sure that they were spots where I didn't poke enough holes in the casing. They cured at a slower rate -- note that they are fatter than the more slender spots. They also left slimy casing that hasn't quite dried out, and are generally kind of gross (I peeled it off, in fact). As a result, the white mold never got that dusty quality; it's more sticky.

So next time: more pepper, wine, and holes; less vinegar and touching.

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Wanted to provide a progress report on my first peperone run. Because I shopped before I read the recipe, I used 100% pork for this batch. Today is Day 10 of the drying stage. Here are a few pics . . .

gallery_3085_2982_158207.jpg

My "curing chamber." Conditions are pretty good for curing in my basement but just to keep things consistent, I'm running a humidifier (atop the red cooler).

gallery_3085_2982_3669.jpg

I trust this unit is working properly. I'm a bit concerned because the clock is off and I just set it the other day. But assuming that it is working right, temp and humidity look just about perfect.

gallery_3085_2982_153131.jpg

A closer look.

gallery_3085_2982_90486.jpg

Gratuitous, second closer look. :smile:

I've been rotating the pairs each day so that they don't get "lean marks." However, stupidly, I didn't weigh any of the paired links at the outset, so I'll have to weigh the whole batch again to confirm "doneness." From squeezing them, I think they need another few days. I'm guessing that by no later than the end of the week, these will be ready to eat.

They don't seem to have any mold (yet). The whiter spots in the pics are actually light from my camera's flash bouncing off some small air pockets in the links.

=R=

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Beautiful and juicy-looking sausage, Dave W.  And Melicob, I'm going to steal that coat hanger trick, if one will fit in my drying chamber.  I'm always looking for ways to get more stuff in there.

I'm going to send an email to Niman today, with links to the pictures of Ron's green jowls and my green lardo, and ask them for advice.

I agree on the coat hanger method; great idea!

Abra, I'll be curious to hear what Niman comes back with. I've been too busy/lazy to make contact with them. FWIW, I did have some more of my green jowl bacon today for breakfast and not only was it delicious, I'm still here to type about it. :wink:

Chris, thanks for the additional pictures and assessment of your peperone project. It seems like you have a fairly solid idea of how you'll adjust next time around.

I also have to add that, thanks to this book, I felt like such a cooking stud on Saturday when I had a bunch of people over for a cookout. One of the items I served was a batch of Italian Sausage that I'd put up on Thursday. Not only did it feel totally cool to serve homemade sausage to my guests, but the feedback was terrific. Every single link was eaten and my guests were just blown away. A couple asked if I had just bought the ground meat and added seasonings. A few others couldn't quite comprehend how the stuff was made (until I showed them the stuffer, etc). My poor, naive mom was shocked when she learned what the casings really were :biggrin: and lots of folks told me that they were the best sausages they'd ever eaten. A very rewarding experience! :smile:

=R=

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They look fantastic, Ron. Moving them around: you smarty!

I've run into a similar dynamic when smoking links -- where I've ended up with some annoying "dead spots" where the links were touching each other. On that basis, I figured that I might as well move them around every so often while they were drying.

We'll see how they turn out. It's really hard to wait. :rolleyes:

=R=

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More adventures in sausage making for Memorial day.

gallery_41070_2979_45470.jpg

Chicken breast meat, softened dried fruit, pork backfat, and kosher salt.

The liquid for the sausage was Calvados (which, I think, in retrospect, should have been cut 50/50 with apple cider, the flavor is very pronounced in the final sausage), with a bay leaf in it. The bay leaf imparted no noticeable flavor, I wouldn't use it again.

gallery_41070_2979_37685.jpg

The sausage after the grind. I'm very pleased with the way the dried fruit ground in with the meat.

However, after the bind, when I tasted the sausage I thought it was a bit too harsh, so I added a half teaspoon of dried orange peel, and a tablespoon of good honey. They had a modest impact, and I think in the future I'd add more honey, and mix the honey in with the liquid. Also note that I make sausage in half batches, so this is based on 2.5lbs of meat.

gallery_41070_2979_38942.jpg

And done...

gallery_41070_2979_1670.jpg

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Dave, using the Calvados is a great idea. Did you soak the dried fruit in it too? How exactly was the sausage " too harsh" after the bind? Too much alcohol?

=R=

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Dave, using the Calvados is a great idea.  Did you soak the dried fruit in it too?  How exactly was the sausage " too harsh" after the bind?  Too much alcohol?

=R=

The fruit was actually a "soft dried" fruit I happened to have on hand, so I didn't need to soak it myself.

The sausage has a little too much of the harsher bite of the Calvados to my mind. For dinner tonight, we're going to sautee some sweet onion and apple, and make sandwiches with the sausage, and some melted Parano cheese. I suspect that the cheese and the apple and onion will tame the overtones nicely.

Some of this may be taste; my wife doesn't think the sausage is as strongly flavored as I do (or alternatively, appreciates the Calvados more).

I guess the easiest way to describe it would be that it has the same "feel" as a Marsala sauce with too much wine in it.

--Dave

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In my last batch of salame i boiled the wine for about 5 minutes, reducing from 1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cups...getting rid of the alcohol. You could try the same thing with the calvados?

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I'm happy to report that the pulled pork as described in the cookbook turns out perfectly in the Bradley smoker, as was evidenced by the loosened belts around the table yesterday. I used maple and apple for about 3 hours of smoking at 200-220 degrees F and then followed with 4 hours in a 250 degree F oven. Took it out and it basically fell apart upon first sight of the forks...it really takes faith to cook something for 7 hours...and further unbelievable it is so moist. I highly recommend the method to those with smokers.

It was served with baby back ribs and beef brisket also both smoked.

I have found a free fridge, so my next project is a curing chamber. The charcutering adventure continues...

I must say that the success the board has had is inspirational...and is good to show my wife from time to time to show her that I'm not the only one sleeping with the book on my bedside table.

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I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

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I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

Richard, tell us more about the smoking process, your chamber, method, wood, etc. please!

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No smoking process, Susan. I am late to the party. This is one of the first recipes in the book: the fennel cured salmon.

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mdbasile   
I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

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I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

Thanks, Mark. As long as I am not food poisoning myself and others. I'll try future ones for different lengths of time, as well as different cures.

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So, are there any suggestions for what to make with Leaf Lard?

--Dave

The use I most often hear suggested for leaf lard is pie/pastry crust. I'm sure there's a process for getting it into the right form but I've never had any in my mitts so I can't advise.

=R=

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FoodMan   
I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

Thanks, Mark. As long as I am not food poisoning myself and others. I'll try future ones for different lengths of time, as well as different cures.

Richard-

You will be just fine and enjoy some good salmon. Like mdbasil said, the cure is much more concentrated on the edges giving it a darker color.

jmolinari-

That is some wickedly awsome looking lardo! I cannot get over how thick it is. I so wish I have access to as good raw ingredients as yours.

I really need to start dry curing sausages. Everyone's stuff is just fantastic.

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