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snowangel

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

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I think it's time to cure more meat, man!

I agree...it's been too long since I've stuffed a salame! I'm thinking it's time to visit my butcher next week.

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I've not cured anything yet. I'm leaving mid-week next week for almost a week, and as soon as I get home, I'm raring to go. Where should I start? Pepperone? Or some whole piece of meat? Or do both? I think my family would appreciate a sausage-style more than a hunk-o-meat.

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I've not cured anything yet.  I'm leaving mid-week next week for almost a week, and as soon as I get home, I'm raring to go.  Where should I start?  Pepperone?  Or some whole piece of meat?  Or do both?  I think my family would appreciate a sausage-style more than a hunk-o-meat.

I dont' see why you need to choose. I made Tuscan salame first along with bresaola. I'd do more than one salame if I was you. Your family can clean you out if they like it....and then you are sitting there waiting for another batch to cure.

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Elie, yes, high 70 is definitely too hot to cure/age meats.

I have kept the bactoferm in my regular household freezer for at least 4-6 months before moving to my colder chest freezer, and the last batch i made was fine. I would just use a little more to make sure you get some "live" bacteria. I think BP is trying to stay on the safe side, which i sprobably a good idea since we are eating uncooked meat.

As i said upthread, i had a pH meter to check acidification...you can probably use paper strips, just get hte ones that are made to test acids to they are a tighter range, instead of 3-14, they are like 4-6pH, so the resolution is better.

With this stuff, just like green guanciale, better safe than sorry. pH strips are cheap...mailorder.

jason

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Elie, yes, high 70 is definitely too hot to cure/age meats.

I have kept the bactoferm in my regular household freezer for at least 4-6 months before moving to my colder chest freezer, and the last batch i made was fine. I would just use a little more to make sure you get some "live" bacteria. I think BP is trying to stay on the safe side, which i sprobably a good idea since we are eating uncooked meat.

As i said upthread, i had a pH meter to check acidification...you can probably use paper strips, just get hte ones that are made to test acids to they are a tighter range, instead of 3-14, they are like 4-6pH, so the resolution is better.

With this stuff, just like green guanciale, better safe than sorry. pH strips are cheap...mailorder.

jason

Since we've been discussing this, I finally went and checked my unopened package of bactoferm and it calls for storage at or below -17 C (which is basically 0 F), so a regular, household freezer should be fine. I keep a thermometer in my freezers and they're usually right around 0 F.

I'm a little miffed, however, that the supplier would send this product out without even so much as a freezer pack or a note on the side of the box with a reminder about the contents' perishability. I send out perishable samples all the time from work and we always include freezer packs and mark the shipping containers accordingly. Here's a case where I actually bought perishable product, paid for the shipping and the same care was not provided. Not cool, IMO (literally and figuratively).

=R=

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ronnie the 1st time i ordered culture it came with a freezer pack..it was melted by the time i got it, but at least an attempt was made...the 2nd time it was just boxed...and both cultures seem to work equally well.

I think it has a shelf life of some period at room temp...and much longer period if held cold.

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ronnie the 1st time i ordered culture it came with a freezer pack..it was melted by the time i got it, but at least an attempt was made...the 2nd time it was just boxed...and both cultures seem to work equally well.

I think it has a shelf life of some period at room temp...and much longer period if held cold.

I just asked a lab tech used to using bacteria. We have two freezers here- -20C and -80C. She thinks that if you divide the packet up into little amounts and don't open each little packet until you are ready, they ought to be able to last for a few years at ~-20C. You should actually check your home freezer- my normal freezer at home gets to -24C if you crank it down (some people MAY not like their vegetables to freeze in the fridge, though!)

I will divide my bactoferm into little plastic tubes, but it strikes me that press and seal ought to work perfectly for making tiny little packets.

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Pedrissimo, i agree, press and seal should work. I would maybe wrap it in foil around the press and seal.

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Thanks pedrissimo and Jason. I do own a vacuum-sealer, so once I open this remaining pack, I'll weigh it up and vacuum seal some mini-packs for later use.

=R=

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This charcuterie business is like having a pet to take care of!

YES! That's it exactly!

Better in fact: you can't eat your pets! (Bourdain excluded, of course.)


Edited by Michael Ruhlman (log)

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This charcuterie business is like having a pet to take care of!

YES! That's it exactly!

Better in fact: you can't eat your pets! (Bourdain excluded, of course.)

I dunno 'bout that. I've got an African Grey Parrot that has come extremely close to becoming a late night snack on more than one occasion. Usually when he interupts a conversation with a Bourdain like stream of profanity!

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My wife and I will be there. Look forward to meeting you.

For those of you in the metro Detroit area, or those willing to travel to go to heaven here is  your chance to worship at the altar of the pig...

Chef Brian is having an....

All Pig Dinner

Recipes From Chef Brian’s Book Charcuterie

Monday, June 19, 2006

First Course

Assorted Charcuterie

Country Terrine with Ginger Marmalade

Pork Rillettes

Smoked Garlic Sausage with Michigan Tart Cherry Mustard

Second Course

                  Slow Braised Hog Short Ribs

With Caramelized Onion Tart, Hand Rolled Gnocchi, Guanciale and

Mustard Sauce

Third Course

Crispy Hog Shoulder Confit Steak

With Michigan White Bean and Smoked Ham Hocks,

Werp Farms Baby Vegetables and Truffle Demi Glaze

Fourth Course

Sage and Garlic Stuffed Smoked Berkshire Hog Loin

With Creamy Caraway Cabbage, Matignon Vegetables, Pancetta,

Forest Mushroom Sauce and Crisp Celery Root

Fifth Course

Sweet Pancakes

With Maple Cured Breakfast Sausage, Chantilly Cream,

Stewed Michigan Apples and Hard Cider Reduction 

For more information, go to http://www.fivelakesgrill.com

I hope to see you there

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Well, I asked BP about the freezing of Bactoferm. According to them, in a normal houshold freezer that does not go below -10F, it should last about a month only. Ideally you want to store it at 30 below :wacko:. He said he would not use it if it has been stored at a temp above -10F after a month. Not much of a "freezer-life" is it? I really don't see me using the whole batch in one month so, I will probably still use it later anyways and see if it works. what do u all think?

Edit: expert opinion needed, is a temperature in the mid to high 70s too hot to properly cure and age salame/coppa?

My quess, is that, as in any other product information sheet or statement, they are being xtra cautious. I too will at some point in the next few weeks be using Bactoferm that is over 1 month old....

I'll keep you posted too...

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I've not cured anything yet.  I'm leaving mid-week next week for almost a week, and as soon as I get home, I'm raring to go.  Where should I start?  Pepperone?  Or some whole piece of meat?  Or do both?  I think my family would appreciate a sausage-style more than a hunk-o-meat.

I dont' see why you need to choose. I made Tuscan salame first along with bresaola. I'd do more than one salame if I was you. Your family can clean you out if they like it....and then you are sitting there waiting for another batch to cure.

Agreed. It is just a little more effort to make the 2nd one. Tuscan is a good start, and Chirizo/Pepperone would be a good 2nd....

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Chufi, when you're here in September, we'll charcute ourselves silly!

I'd love to join you for future charcutery fests! What a great day that was....

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Here's my Charcuterie Play Day report.  I was so busy charcuting that I didn't get a lot of good pictures, but a couple of other cameras were hard at work, and I'll try to get those guys to post here too.

It was major fun, and I highly recommend getting a bunch of your porkiest friends together for a similar exercise.  As one of us said "in this group, there's no shame in admitting to loving pork fat."

Abra - it's a few days since the meat festival and Greg and I wanted to add our thanks. We are so glad we came, cured, chopped, stuffed and smoked the porky goodness. We actually smoked more bacon the next day with confidence thanks to your kind support and teachings.

We have been enjoying all the sausages and meats all week and are talking about making a drying rack now that Shel has inspired us with his. Or yours. Or the one you have together!!!

One of the best outings in a long while. And don't even ask what picture is going on our mantel!!!


Edited by Della (log)

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This charcuterie business is like having a pet to take care of!

YES! That's it exactly!

Better in fact: you can't eat your pets! (Bourdain excluded, of course.)

I dunno 'bout that. I've got an African Grey Parrot that has come extremely close to becoming a late night snack on more than one occasion. Usually when he interupts a conversation with a Bourdain like stream of profanity!

well we used to have a basset hound...think fried ears..

..on a more serious note... started guiancale, pancetta, and hanging a lamb proscuitto...

damn I love you guys.........


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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on a more serious note... started guiancale, pancetta, and hanging a lamb proscuitto...

I just put my bresaola up to hang, and good lord, does it smell good!

I seem to recall way upthread people saying they sometimes had trouble keeping the larger whole-muscle pieces from drying too fast, and that rubbing in olive oil didn't seem to help much. I'm wondering if anyone's taken a page from the prosciutto book and tried spreading on some lard to help slow the drying...

Thoughts?

-Rob

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So I took another crack at the andouille using a modified version of Ron's recipe:

  • 5 lb pork
    1/2 lb fat
    1/2 c minced garlic
    2 T cayenne
    3 T salt
    1/8 c black pepper, coarsely ground
    2 T dried thyme
    1 t curing salt #1

I forgot to add 1 c of ice water. Here's what it looked like after having been chilled and seasoned:

gallery_19804_437_45381.jpg

The KitchenAid grinder parts (with the coarsest plate) spent the night in the freezer, assembled. I fed the grinder with my hand in a latex glove to keep it cool, which seemed to work really well.

gallery_19804_437_69099.jpg

After the grind, we're holding at 32F.

gallery_19804_437_84187.jpg

And, mixing with the KA to get the primary bind (with a frozen bowl and paddle):

gallery_19804_437_13967.jpg

Still nice and cold:

gallery_19804_437_116124.jpg

Time to get the 5# Grizzly stuffer out!

gallery_19804_437_16471.jpg

I mounted it with four screws onto a piece of particle board. That's not going to be enough; I need to have some way to secure it to my rolling island or, better yet, a table, because it slides around when you're cranking it. Also, the place where the sausage feeder tube attaches to the canister drips liquid, which makes me think I should insert a piece of plastic under the plate at that spot.

I put a thin coating of the Petrol Gel along the edge of the plate that pushes down on the meat in the cannister.

gallery_19804_437_38430.jpg

I froze the canister, but, in the end, I don't think it made that much difference. Unlike, say, the KA bowl, it isn't thick enough to hold the cold.

gallery_19804_437_35463.jpg

Threaded the casings (which I had rinsed and soaked overnight) onto the feeder tube -- and then (doh!) had to squeeze them around the black feeder tube lock before installing it on the cannister.

gallery_19804_437_2203.jpg

Here's the cannister with 5+ pounds of meat. I did have about a cup or so left over, but I just stuck it in the fridge while I stuffed this batch. Given that my KA capacity is about 5.5 pounds, having this cannister hold just that size works fine, but, honestly, reloading it was a cinch.

gallery_19804_437_106174.jpg

Then I started cranking, and...

gallery_19804_437_97269.jpg

... well, to say that this system is better than the KA is an absurd understatement. What used to take me about 45 minutes of frustrating labor now takes -- no exaggeration -- five minutes of easy cranking. I had to pause to remember to snap the photo because it was so easy. Here are the filled casings before being tied off.

gallery_19804_437_79666.jpg

After tying them off (in uneven lengths; gotta work on that) and poking them with a pin to reduce air holes, I tied them to the Bradley rack and hung them to dry out a bit on the Ikea rack.

gallery_19804_437_52351.jpg

One thing I did notice using these Butcher & Packer casings is that they appear to be a lower quality casing than the ones I've been getting at Whole Foods. If you look carefully, you can see these little white lines.

gallery_19804_437_18841.jpg

Based on what I read above (thanks to whomever wrote it!), I'm convinced that those lines are indeed blood vessels to the intestinal lining. There aren't too many of them, and I could care less, but it was a difference that I noticed.

Then I hung them in the Bradley, to smoke at about 180F using a combination of hickory, alder, and apple (basically, the leftovers from some previous smoking).

gallery_19804_437_15380.jpg

I expected they'd be in there about four hours, but they reached 150F after just under two hours, so I grabbed them and gave them their ice bath.

gallery_19804_437_47274.jpg

If you look closely, you'll notice not only that they hardly have the dark smoky color that a good andouille needs, but they also have little pockets of liquid here and there.I don't know what that's about; maybe those were air pockets I didn't find with my pin, and they collected liquid?

The finished result.

gallery_19804_437_24763.jpg

Ron's right: they taste fantastic, have great definition, and are exactly what I'd hope for in a good andouille -- with a bit less smoke. Next time, I'm cold smoking them to keep them away from 150F as long as I can.

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Chris, they look good.

Also, you are VERY lucky. It looks like you have an older model KA grinder, which has a coarser coarse plate. Wish i had that too, my coarse plate is 3/8"..looks like yuors is about 1/2". They no longer make that size for the KA.

jason

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Delicious looking andouille, Chris, and a beautiful photo essay!

Out of curiosity, when you're stuffing, do you let the natural pressure of the meat pull the casing off the tube unassisted, or do you regulate it gently with your hand? I only ask because in your photos the air pockets and variable thickness suggest the former. I usually hold on to the casings right at the end of the tube, not letting casing slip off until it's nice and full of meat (but not too full so that they burst when linking). The result is usually a nice, round rope of sausage of constant diameter without many air bubbles. Do other people us a similar technique?

Chris, how do you like your Grizzly stuffer? I've been holding off on buying mine until the mystery KA grinder shows up.

-Rob

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Chris, Great job!l The definition on those sausages is amazing!

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Thanks, folks!

Also, you are VERY lucky. It looks like you have an older model KA grinder, which has a coarser coarse plate. Wish i had that too, my coarse plate is 3/8"..looks like yuors is about 1/2". They no longer make that size for the KA.

I just measured it, and it's the newer 3/8" one. Having said that: when I read the Folse recipe, he mentioned cutting stuff up into dice by hand if your grinder plate is too small, so every time I found a smallish piece of pork during the grinding, I tossed it into the grind bowl. I think that I'll do that more often in the future, to vary the definition a bit -- maybe even dice up a pound or so of the butt and toss that into the bowl, to have even more.

Out of curiosity, when you're stuffing, do you let the natural pressure of the meat pull the casing off the tube unassisted, or do you regulate it gently with your hand?  I only ask because in your photos the air pockets and variable thickness suggest the former.

I did both, actually. At first, I didn't need to use my hand, but the casing didn't slip off as smoothly after a while. I also like having it stuffed loosely, so that I can move things around more easily.

Chris, how do you like your Grizzly stuffer?  I've been holding off on buying mine until the mystery KA grinder shows up.

Buy it. Buy it now. It's fantastic, a breeze to set up, use, and clean. The combo of the KA grinder and the Grizzly is just the ticket, man.

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Buy it. Buy it now. It's fantastic, a breeze to set up, use, and clean. The combo of the KA grinder and the Grizzly is just the ticket, man.

Cool, glad to hear you're happy with it. There's no way I can resist the prospect of doing in 5 minutes what it takes me 45! Now all I have to figure out is how to put it past the fiance... I just cut a deal with her - she'll let me buy the deli slicer if I agree not to buy my lunch for a month. Not a bad deal - maybe I can tack on a couple more weeks and throw in the Grizzly to boot!

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I'm with Chris. Trying to stuff with the KA is a waste of time. It smears the meat and is SUPER tough to do.

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