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snowangel

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

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So,

I've really enjoyed reading parts of this thread, and there are a lot of great tips in here....but man, 57 pages and counting?  It's getting a bit hard to suss out the knowledge, especially for the beginner stuff (i.e. the trials an tribulations of Pancetta).

Has anybody thought of putting together a Carcuterie FAQ?  Is there a way to print out the entire thread, or get it into a format to be, er,  sliced and diced into categories?

sander

I've been working on this, but the task gets more and mroe daunting every day. But, if it helps, in the lower LEFT* corner, there is a search window that allows you to only search this topic. It is most helpful!

*Edited to change right to LEFT corner for the search button

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I followed Brian Polcyn's recipe from his Charcuterie book. A supplier of mine butchered a Wentworth pig back in the winter. The leg weighed in at 20 ish pounds but that included the femur. We salted the thing down and pressed it by filling a hotel pan with 30 pounds of (cleaned & wrapped) bricks and using that as weight. Every 4 or 5 days we rubbed it down with fresh salt as well as a little cayenne and sugar. It dropped plenty of water. After 35 days we removed the old salt, applied fresh salt (always kosher) and black pepper, rubbed it down with lard then covered in cheese cloth and hung it. The leg was hung on March 1 and yesterday (August 1) we cut into it. It probably has not dropped any water for 2 months so I thought it was good to go. The flavor is great but it is not as dry as I had hoped and the inside, especially around the hip joint was too pink and had the look of raw meat. Of course we won't be eating that part uncooked.....

Any comments as to what I may have done wrong. I think I could have pressed it longer but how do I tell when it's ready to hang?

Next time I will definitely remove the femur bone as well.

It is pretty damn good though.  Anyone gonna get over here?

I don't have any idea what is going on here. I replied to your original post not long after you started the topic. It's even in "find member posts" for my profile.

But here is my answer again

My guess is that you didn't do anything wrong, it just needed to cure a bit longer. I too have a ham curing at the moment, also done from the book. I seem to have misplaced my charcuterie notebook at the moment, but if my memory serves me right I hung mine in March and noted that it would not be ready before September at the earliest.

What was the weight when you removed it? I normally shoot for at least 30 percent wt loss during a cure. Like I said, I can't find my damned notebook. But I know I removed mine to check the wt a couple weeks ago and noted then that I was still far from 30 percent. I started with (I think) about 13 lbs.

Michael frequently posts to the charcuterie thread. You might want to post your question over there and see if he has any ideas.

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Michael frequently posts to the charcuterie thread. You might want to post your question over there and see if he has any ideas.

Host note: topics merged so hopefully, Michael or someone with experience will weigh in. And, Bombdog, we look forward to a report on your ham.

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Tears to my eyes Ron - WOW!!

I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal.  I cannot believe I made this from scratch.  It's just sensational.  Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.

Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

gallery_3085_3358_42297.jpg

After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.

gallery_3085_3358_166390.jpg

You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat.  I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that.  It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out.  And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking.  As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book.  Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away.  And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

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Just wondering if anyone has picked up the book "Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and Pâtés". I was looking at it on amazon and one of the reviews, by a professional charcutier, made it sound questionable. Most of the other reviews said it was way too advanced, but that is essentially what I am looking for. Anyone know anything about this book?

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Just wondering if anyone has picked up the book "Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and Pâtés".  I was looking at it on amazon and one of the reviews, by a professional charcutier, made it sound questionable.  Most of the other reviews said it was way too advanced, but that is essentially what I am looking for.  Anyone know anything about this book?

If it's the one by John Kinsella, I have it and refer to it occasionally. It is a bit technical but it provides a plethora of recipes as well -- most being for 10-pound batches. If I'd bought it before this book, I'm not sure I ever would have started any of these projects because it isn't very accessible for the non-pro. That said, it's nice to have the library of recipes the book provides because once you get the techniques down, as they are conveyed in Charcuterie, you'll probably want to have some proven recipe variations to help guide your future improvisations. Ditto for Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book. It's a bit weak on technique relative to this book but the additional recipes it provides can be useful.

=R=

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Thanks for the info Ronnie. Sounds like the two books are the combo I'm looking for. I'm a professional chef looking to expand on our charcuterie work at the restaurant, so all in all, sounds perfect. Thanks again.

-Tyson

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Those of us who attended the eG Heartland gathering in Ann Arbor this past weekend got to taste some of Ron's pastrami. All I can say is that it is staggeringly good. :wub:

There are pictures and reviews of Ronnie's charcuterie course in the 2006 Heartland gathering thread starting at post # 45. Check out the terrine (post # 58) - classic stuff! There's a pic of the whole spread at post # 66.

I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal.  I cannot believe I made this from scratch.  It's just sensational.  Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.

Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

gallery_3085_3358_42297.jpg

After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.

gallery_3085_3358_166390.jpg

You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat.  I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that.  It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out.  And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking.  As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book.  Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away.  And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

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I am not sure pork fat can get any better than this. Since pictures are worth a million words, here is the pork belly confit after resting for almost a week in lard, crisped up (boy these are some kicked up 'lardons'), but meltingly tender and served with stewed beans

gallery_5404_94_202913.jpg

gallery_5404_94_160519.jpg

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Wow, Elie, that's gorgeous. It makes it look like winter will almost be fun.

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Oh, Elie, that looks so delicious. I'm calling the butcher to order another belly right now!

=R=

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Speaking of ordering more belly.....

I suddenly realized that I was taking the last slab of bacon and chunk of pancetta out of the freezer the other day, so today I made a trip to my slaughter house/butcher and came home with this haul. Two bellies and two jowls here.

gallery_16509_1680_228956.jpg

The last time I purchased jowls they were trimmed. These two were not and look what I found!

gallery_16509_1680_328676.jpg

So, now I know what that infamous gland actually looks like.

Gotta love these guys. 8 lbs of fat back, 16 lbs of belly and 7 1/2 lbs of jowl for 56 bucks!

BTW Elie...that looks fantastic!

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BTW, the Lardo-belly is hanging already to age and so far so good. I will probably hang the lomo tonight.

Unfortunatly the pork belly has been curing for more than a week already and I will not have time to smoke it till the weekend. Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

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Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

I don't see any problem with waiting. I would just take it out of the cure to make sure you don't get it any saltier than you want. I can't imagine any issue with you placing it in a clean ziplock in the frige for a few days.

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Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

I don't see any problem with waiting. I would just take it out of the cure to make sure you don't get it any saltier than you want. I can't imagine any issue with you placing it in a clean ziplock in the frige for a few days.

Agreed.

=R=

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ok, i'll try that. I'll remove from the cure but will not rinse it yet and store it in a clean bag till Saturday or Sunday. If it rains again, then in the oven it will go :sad:.

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Question about ham:

I have a friend who is a hunter, and he has just given me a frozen foreleg of a wild pig. What can I do with this?

I would love to dry cure it, but I don't know if frozen meat does well.

If I did, as it is small, how do I tell how long it needs to be in the cure?

Thanks!

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Greetings all.

I'm happy to report that I just returned from Tahiti, and the lamb prosciutto and coppa I hung before leaving are doing quite well. I was very relieved to find no mold or other critters when I got back, considering that they were left unattended for about 3 weeks.

I'm also happy to report that it seems the coating of lard I put on when I hung them is working - it's prevented the exterior from drying too quickly or developing any sort of crust. In fact, it seems to be slowing down the entire drying process (a good thing, as far as I'm concerned). After 3 weeks, each piece had only lost about 15% of their weight, meaning lots of time for flavor to develop. I'm aiming for 40% loss overall, so it will be a while longer.

After I checked the pieces, I redistributed the lard a bit, re-wrapped them in cheesecloth, and returned them to the chamber. Fun stuff!

Finally, I'm looking forward to a fun weekend, as I finally got my KA grinder and Grizzly stuffer. No more hand-cranked meat grinding/stuffing for me!

Best,

Rob

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i may try the lard next time as i've found the bresaola dries very quickly (it has no fat), in only about 3 week. More time for flavor to develop would be nice.

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Next weekend, I would like to try the American style brown sugar glazed ham (p. 93), using a 8 pound fresh ham from a baby pig.

When I buy a ham at the supermarket, it benefits from being slowly braised, even if labeled 'fully cooked'. Should I do the same with the ham I am about to smoke?

Also, any thoughts on how it would turn out if I cooked it with the rind on and remove it later, to glaze the ham in the oven (like what I usually do with a store bought ham).

The recipe does not give any time estimate. Has anyone tried it? How long can I expect it to take to cook in the smoker?

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There hope for all us apartment dwellers that don't have access to a smoker like (what feels like) the rest of the lucky folks here! I made Canadian Bacon this weekend and simply mixed 1.5 Tbs of natural liquid smoke in with the brine, then after curing and rinsing and drying, but before cooking, I rubbed it down with a water/liquid smoke mix (1:1 ratio, I think I used 2 tsp of each) and it turned out gorgeous and smoky delicious!

gallery_41089_3428_39611.jpg

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gallery_41089_3428_23618.jpg

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I'm working on a couple of projects which I'm planning to serve this weekend.  The first is a Duck and Cured Ham Pate from Tapas by Penelope Casas, which I've made a few times in the past.  However, this time I decided to apply the method conveyed in Charcuterie to it and I'm thrilled with the results.  The assembly and cooking are described in much greater detail in Charcuterie and because of that, I was able to take a lot of guesswork out of the process and, I think, improve the final product (keeping in mind that what is shown below is actually the 'little buddy' terrine I made with the extra pate filling I had and some bacon I'd made a few weeks ago, which I had sliced pretty thick). . .

gallery_3085_3359_147895.jpg

Casas' Duck and Cured Ham Pate a la Ruhlman and Polcyn.  Instead of cooking at 350 F for 2 hours, I cooked it for 90 minutes at 300 F.  The results are noticeably superior.

gallery_3085_3359_79288.jpg

You can see the chunks of prosciutto in the pate and some pistachios which I added because, well, I had them on hand.  The bacon here is a little thick but again, I was using a vacuum-sealed package I already had on-hand.  I think the proportions on the actual terrine will be just about perfect.  Since it is deeper, the prosciutto chunk-size will make more sense and I sliced the bacon for its exterior 'to order' on my slicer, so it'll be a bit thinner.

I'm also in the final stages of making my first Pastrami.  For this I used an 11-pound Wagyu brisket, which my butcher ordered for me . . .

gallery_3085_3358_284885.jpg

Cured whole Wagyu brisket which was smoked to an internal temp of 150 F over hickory wood (took about 6 hours at 215 F).

A few pieces 'fell off' during the smoking and they tasted fantastic.  The brisket is now steaming/braising gently in the oven.  I hope to post some internal pics by later tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

=R=

Succulance!!!!!!!

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I followed Brian Polcyn's recipe from his Charcuterie book. A supplier of mine butchered a Wentworth pig back in the winter. The leg weighed in at 20 ish pounds but that included the femur. We salted the thing down and pressed it by filling a hotel pan with 30 pounds of (cleaned & wrapped) bricks and using that as weight. Every 4 or 5 days we rubbed it down with fresh salt as well as a little cayenne and sugar. It dropped plenty of water. After 35 days we removed the old salt, applied fresh salt (always kosher) and black pepper, rubbed it down with lard then covered in cheese cloth and hung it. The leg was hung on March 1 and yesterday (August 1) we cut into it. It probably has not dropped any water for 2 months so I thought it was good to go. The flavor is great but it is not as dry as I had hoped and the inside, especially around the hip joint was too pink and had the look of raw meat. Of course we won't be eating that part uncooked.....

Any comments as to what I may have done wrong. I think I could have pressed it longer but how do I tell when it's ready to hang?

Next time I will definitely remove the femur bone as well.

It is pretty damn good though.  Anyone gonna get over here?

definitely didn't cure long enough. that sounds like the only thing. i emailed brian. we should address ways of judging doneness, though weight is probably the best. in parma the stick needle-like bones into it and sniff--i'll bet you can smell raw vs cooked.

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I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

Bones by Jennifer McLagan won the category. I read it from cover to cover, then left it in the bookstore. Not only was it not in the same league as Charcuterie, it was barely useful. I'm astounded that such a faux cookbook could win any award.

=R=

thanks everyone, appreciate all your good thoughts.

frankly, i wasn't the least surprised. I was surprised once, though--when the french laundry cookbook didn't win. after that I realized how irrevocalby political the process was. i've skeptical and dubious about the beard awards and have been given no cause to think otherwise in the intervening years. the iacp awards to my mind are more reflective of the actual quality of a book. and lest you think I'm biased here, I should note that charcuterie wasn't even nominated by iacp.

so there you go.

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