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


snowangel
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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.

speaking of ham and Ruhlman . . . did everyone see No Reservations last night? :laugh: Oops, sorry. Wrong Forum. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I think this thread in intself is an ideal indication of exactly how far above Charcuterie is on every single level than Bones could ever have even aspired to become.

What other cookbook in history has spawned a 60-page thread of PASSIONATE devotees that found it to be such an incredibly inspiring tome? I don't see a Bones thread, period.

The book was superb. In fact, I'm of the opinion that everything you touch turns to gold at this point, Michael. As long as you keep writing, I'll keep buying your books. I just finished Reach Of A Chef last night, actually. I couldn't put it down. Read it from cover to cover nearly in a single evening. THAT is quality literature.

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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

this is an interesting comment on a couple levels but it compels me now to note fyi, that we are working on a revised charcuterie to include a few new recipes that people seem to want and to revise some older ones. my current obsession is to create a foolproof hot dog recipe for the home suasage maker. anyone want to help me test a new method? grinder, food processor, stuffer, and pink salt would be required in addition to standard items.

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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

this is an interesting comment on a couple levels but it compels me now to note fyi, that we are working on a revised charcuterie to include a few new recipes that people seem to want and to revise some older ones. my current obsession is to create a foolproof hot dog recipe for the home suasage maker. anyone want to help me test a new method? grinder, food processor, stuffer, and pink salt would be required in addition to standard items.

My all beef version of the Chicago Style Hotdog in the book has been turning out great but if you want volunteers to test something new, just count me in. For the revised charcuterie I personally would like to see more non-pork recipes, I know that in this thread that is a nearly sacreligious statement, but it can be done!

Best Regards,

Richard

Edited by tristar (log)

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

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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...

my current obsession is to create a foolproof hot dog recipe for the home suasage maker. anyone want to help me test a new method?  grinder, food processor, stuffer, and pink salt would be required in addition to standard items.

I'd like to volunteer to help test. Do the dogs need to be cold smoked? My smoker can't do low enough temp for that.

I'm particularly interested in trying to get a really great "snap" to the casing.

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anyone want to help me test a new method?  grinder, food processor, stuffer, and pink salt would be required in addition to standard items.

Sign me up, please.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Michael, I want to test, and since I was already planning to try hot dogs for a party for Chufi on Sept. 23, to show her some "real" American cookout food, I hope your recipe is ready to try before then!

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... anyone want to help me test a new method?  ...

Michael, I'm sorry but that really is a pretty daft question... :biggrin:

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

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Well, I don't want to sound like the only one who isn't interested in the hot dogs, because I am. Although it seems the entire Charcuterie Crowd has beat me to it.

I forgot how damned difficult it is to tightly roll pancetta and get it tied by yourself! Today was rinse and hang 5 lbs of pancetta and 2 jowls at 3 lbs each. I love the look of my curing box again!

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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... anyone want to help me test a new method?  ...

Michael, I'm sorry but that really is a pretty daft question... :biggrin:

Well, there's certainly precedent for this. Paula Wolfert floated this little invitation in the Slow Mediterranean Kitchen thread inviting eG folks to help test recipes for the revised edition of The Cooking of Southwest France.

I usually test my recipes three times, but this time I could use some help as the manuscript is due in late September. So here's my proposal: if you're interested in participating, I promise that your name will appear in the acknolwledgemnts in a paragraph devoted to the egulleteer commando group, and that I will send you a signed copy of the new edition of the book expressing my gratitude for your help.

If you are interested, please contact me by PM and I'll send you a short list  of recipes to choose from. After you test the recipe, I'll need your honest opinion and any suggestions. I can't promise that I'll go along with your ideas, but will appreciate them and consider them. Thanks for your interest!

Paula

I think she got a pretty good response, judging by the comments in the later thread after the book was published.

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Well, I don't want to sound like the only one who isn't interested in the hot dogs, because I am.  Although it seems the entire Charcuterie Crowd has beat me to it.

Dave, I suspect Mr. Ruhlman would be delighted to have you test his hot dog recipes. I doubt that you're late to the party. :laugh:

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my current obsession is to create a foolproof hot dog recipe for the home suasage maker. anyone want to help me test a new method?  grinder, food processor, stuffer, and pink salt would be required in addition to standard items.

I would love to test your method. If I can do it, it is really a foolproof recipe!

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... anyone want to help me test a new method?  ...

Michael, I'm sorry but that really is a pretty daft question...  :biggrin:

Well, there's certainly precedent for this. Paula Wolfert...

...

I think she got a pretty good response, judging by the comments in the later thread after the book was published.

Sorry, Edsel, divided by a common language, and all that.

I had believed that my implication was clear, that there was unlikely to be a single contributor, and not many non-posting readers, who would have any hestitation in accepting such an invitation.

I seem to have been wrong in thinking that I had made myself clear, but I doubt I'm as far wrong on the other part... :biggrin:

Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt, personally, of course I'd love to try and help.

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

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I was at the gift show in Toronto on Tuesday and I stopped off to check out a couple of things at the Cuisinart booth. There was a little thermoelectric wine cooler there and it occured to me that with a few modifications it might make a great chamber for hanging cured meats and sausages.

Turns out the guy who actually manufacters the units for cuisinart was there and we got to talking. He makes units cooled by thermoelectrics. They are capable of a variety of temperatures, and could have air circulation and humidity built in (his company also makes humidors - apparently essentially the same requirements that we have).

I told him that I would be interested in having something about the size of a fridge you would have in a dorm room (ie about twice the size of a bar fridge), with no window in the door so that it is dark, capable of the appropriate temperatures and humidity ranges. He got all excited about the idea and asked what sort of price that folks making charcuterie at home would be looking at paying for such a thing. I said I figured about $200 and he felt that it would be do-able for that price. He asked how long things would be in the unit, when I said weeks to months, he said "I guess you won't need a timer". But we did talk about something in the way of a calendar built into the door to mark how long things had been in the unit.

So I told him I would ask folks on eG if they felt there would be a market for such a thing, and would ask what you would want to see built in to it.

Ideal temperature is about 60 degrees with 70 percent humidity, but would we want a temperature and humidity range for a variety of products? If so what range would you want to see?

So tell me your thoughts, whether you think this might be useful, any other features you think it should have.

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If he can make something that controls humidity and temperature for $200, i'd be rather surprised. He needs a humidifier in there to bring humidity up, and also a dehumidifier or drier for when it gets too high.

Either way, it would be interesting if this can be done. I think $200 is a good price to get people interested, although that size is a bit small. You couldn't hang much more than 3 or 4 pieces i think.

Keep up informed if he makes any progress with the project.

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Either way, it would be interesting if this can be done. I think $200 is a good price to get people interested, although that size is a bit small. You couldn't hang much more than 3 or 4 pieces i think.

I have to agree. My full size refrigerator is completely full at the moment.

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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Either way, it would be interesting if this can be done. I think $200 is a good price to get people interested, although that size is a bit small. You couldn't hang much more than 3 or 4 pieces i think.

I have to agree. My full size refrigerator is completely full at the moment.

Definitely, space becomes an issue . . . I'm beginning to feel like a meat traffic controller! :biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Definitely, space becomes an issue . . . I'm beginning to feel like a meat traffic controller! :biggrin:

=R=

MTC - the new 'it' profession (replacing "plastics"). If something has to be given the heave-ho from your curing chamber, don't let it be the wagyu pastrami! :shock:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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But we did talk about something in the way of a calendar built into the door to mark how long things had been in the unit.
 



I'm using a chalkboard between the kitchen and garage to keep track of what's in the curing chamber. I still keep the same notes in the book I'm using, but this is easier for me to see at a glance what's in there and when I need to be checking on it.

gallery_16509_1680_317585.jpg


 

[Moderator note: This topic continues here, Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 4)]

Edited by Mjx
Note added. (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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