• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Bombdog

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 4)

600 posts in this topic

Our local supermarket had [of all things] a special on whole pig legs at an irresistable price so there's some ham experimentation taking place. I feel I should be avoiding the agri-business beasts, but if I'm going to mess things up, better to do the experimenting on the offered legs.

"It followed me home, can I keep it?"

The real question:

The recipe for the dry cure for Blackstrap Ham [on page 199 of my copy] calls for 3lbs of salt and what seems like a huge amount of #2 cure - 12oz.

Can anyone confirm that the quantities are correct before I go giving friends and family nitrate poisoning? Mr Ruhlman, are you still out there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is some Kielbasa and 3 kinds of bacon (cajun, garlic and maple)... forgot my camera, but also have been busy making Brats, Duck garlic and sage sausage, Salmon, duck procuitto, smoked duck breast, Lardo, and beef jerky....

I'll try to get photos and post this week...

gallery_33268_2905_650065.jpg

gallery_33268_2905_883096.jpg


Edited by mdbasile (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a storage question with all this stuff. How long can I store all this stuff in the food save packs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No more than 24 hours. I guess you now have to invite us all over to help you dispose of the product...


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm finally posting, and I have a good reason why:

Where the Belly Meets the Plate is a great article on the charcuterie revolution and pig sourcing. The authors of this book are also quoted in the article.

I had a chance to read this entire thread a month ago, and read the entire book quickly. Unfortunately, since I live in an apartment, there's little that I can do -- I've only tackled the salmon (with excellent results).

This weekend, I attended a 3-hour chef's cooking class at NECI (New England Culinary Institute) and I had a great time picking their brains about their charcuterie. Their students are responsible for making various products for the excellent Sunday brunch; I had a few pates, wonderful smoked sausage, and cured salmon that tasted exactly like I had made (with the Pernod and anise flavors). Everything was so...fresh.

So, one day, when I have a place to hang, grind, cure, and smoke meat, I'll experiment some more, but for now, I will have to live vicariously. Keep the pictures coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For all of you that have dry-cured whole hams, or have read a lot about the process, I have a couple of questions. I don't care if you are an expert or a novice, if you've dry-cured a whole ham, then you out-rank me in terms of knowledge, and I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Okay, here are my two issues. In the book, there are two dry-cured ham recipes. Both of them call for a whole ham with the skin on. I just picked up a ham a couple of days ago, and it is skinless.

Question, has anyone else used a skinless whole ham for the dry-cured recipes? If so, did it end up too salty, or were there any other problems? Any suggestions?

Issue number two, does anyone have any clue why the "Salt-cured ham" recipe wouldn't have any nitrates/nitrites in it? Wouldn't it be a bit safer with some? The Blackstrap ham does have DQ curing salt #2 in it. Has anyone experimented with adding some #2 to the "salt-cured" ham? How has the flavor and color changed?

On a related note, do prosciutto, Serrano, and Bayonne hams generally only have salt as a curing agent, or is there another curing agent added too?

Thanks to anyone and everyone for any info!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're reading this thread you're probably passionate about curing so you might enjoy this:

Pigs & Pinot (swine & wine)

From the link provided above by moosnsqrl:

Second Annual Celebration of Pigs and Pinot

Wednesday, January 24th

TASTE OF PIGS & PINOT -- OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION

6:30 - 9 pm ~ $75 per person

Sample over 50 pinot noirs paired with pork dishes such as homemade sausages, charcuterie, grilled pork, pates and special creations from our guest chefs.

Thursday, January 25th

SWINE & WINE SEMINARS

10:30 am ~ $150 per person

Choose one of three topics:

Pigs & Pinot Cup

Perfecting the Pig and a Passion for Pork

The Craft of Salting & Curing

All seminars will be followed by lunch.

. . . I would certainly hope so! :wink:

=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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For all of you that have dry-cured whole hams, or have read a lot about the process, I have a couple of questions.  I don't care if you are an expert or a novice, if you've dry-cured a whole ham, then you out-rank me in terms of knowledge, and I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Okay, here are my two issues.  In the book, there are two dry-cured ham recipes.  Both of them call for a whole ham with the skin on.  I just picked up a ham a couple of days ago, and it is skinless.

Question, has anyone else used a skinless whole ham for the dry-cured recipes?  If so, did it end up too salty, or were there any other problems?  Any suggestions?

Issue number two, does anyone have any clue why the "Salt-cured ham" recipe wouldn't have any nitrates/nitrites in it?  Wouldn't it be a bit safer with some?  The Blackstrap ham does have DQ curing salt #2 in it.  Has anyone experimented with adding some #2 to the "salt-cured" ham?  How has the flavor and color changed? 

On a related note, do prosciutto, Serrano, and Bayonne hams generally only have salt as a curing agent, or is there another curing agent added too?

Thanks to anyone and everyone for any info!

Prosciutto and serrano use ONLY salt. Some say that since they use sea salt the nitrites are already in it....

As for using skinless, i don't know, i immagine it would be a pain b/c you have to coat the skinless areas with a lard mixture to prevent them from overdrying...you'd basically have your whole ham covered in the stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, after feeling depressed over a couple of recent charcuterie failures (lomo got too dry on the outside and didn't work out), I was quite pleased to pull down my spicy sopressata today and find that not only does it look fantastic, it's downright delicious!

This was made from a recipe in "Cooking by Hand" and stuffed in to beef middles (my first attempt at larger sausage diameter).

gallery_27805_3593_4456.jpg

Cheers, -Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, after feeling depressed over a couple of recent charcuterie failures (lomo got too dry on the outside and didn't work out), I was quite pleased to pull down my spicy sopressata today and find that not only does it look fantastic, it's downright delicious!

This was made from a recipe in "Cooking by Hand" and stuffed in to beef middles (my first attempt at larger sausage diameter).

gallery_27805_3593_4456.jpg

Cheers, -Dan

No more pix if you're not prepared to send out samples, please. :biggrin:


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, after feeling depressed over a couple of recent charcuterie failures (lomo got too dry on the outside and didn't work out), I was quite pleased to pull down my spicy sopressata today and find that not only does it look fantastic, it's downright delicious!

This was made from a recipe in "Cooking by Hand" and stuffed in to beef middles (my first attempt at larger sausage diameter).

gallery_27805_3593_4456.jpg

Cheers, -Dan

Dan, that is beautiful, and I wish you'd tell us more about the mixture, how you ground it, and how you stuffed it. How was working with beef middles? Where did you get them?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dan, that is beautiful, and I wish you'd tell us more about the mixture, how you ground it, and how you stuffed it.  How was working with beef middles?  Where did you get them?

Thanks for all of the kind words.

The mixture itself was ground using the coarse plate on the KA grinder. I held aside a little bit of back fat to dice by hand to vary the texture a bit. All of the meat and fat was from a pig that I got from a local organic farmer - Tamworth breed, I think - that in and of itself was a cool experience - I went out to the farm and butchered it with him. Definitely learned my way around a carcass...

The beef middles came from Butcher-Packer and are quite a bit different than what I was expecting. Instead of see-through thin hog casings, these have thick white walls that are just barely translucent. Creepiness factor aside, they're super easy to work with. I used my Grisly stuffer with the widest filling tube and just packed it on in. I tied them off in to individual ~14 inch lengths, as my curing chamber isn't that tall.

Here are the sausages just after stuffing - definitely not an appetizing scene:

gallery_27805_3593_132702.jpg

Given the exterior hardening issue I had with my lomo (which, FWIW, I had stuffed in to an inedible collagen casing hoping to help slow down the drying - maybe next time I'll just rub it with some lard and hang it without a casing), I was definitely worried about case hardening, but it all worked out Ok.

Total drying time was about a month and a half.

Cheers,

-Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also thought I'd toss up a couple of pictures from my day of country ham curing. A good friend of mine, David (pictured below), has been curing his own country hams for a couple of years and invited me and a mutual friend Brad to join him this year. We ordered a stack of 5 hams from a local organic farmer we know (plus one from the pig I butchered) and set to curing. Unfortunately the hams that the farm sent us already had the skin removed.

David has a small smoke house on his property (my photos don't really do it justice) that has a slightly slanted curing table, hooks from the ceiling, and a fire pit in the center - very very cool. So, after rinsing the hams off, we set to massaging in a mixture of salt and brown sugar (David doesn't do nitrates, but I added DC #2 to my mix):

gallery_27805_3593_11764.jpg

Once rubbed down, we set them in to their own individual piles of curing mix, tossed some mix on top, and let them sit. To the left is a 20+ pound skinless ham with sea salt and brown sugar only, off to the right is my much smaller ~15 lb ham, skin still on, with salt, brown sugar, and DC#2:

gallery_27805_3593_144566.jpg

Given that all of my experiences with curing thus far have involved bleaching down work surfaces, sanitizing mixer and grinder parts, etc., this whole process was a bit odd. Obviously this is how hams have been cured for a long long time (as evidenced by David's awesome smoke house - who knows how old that thing is) and I shouldn't worry about it. That said, definitely a bit odd.

So, right now the hams get flipped and rubbed down every few days. After 4-6 weeks we'll wash them off, hang them, smoke them, and then let them hang and cure until we get hungry and can't take it anymore!

Cheers,

-Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Dan, for sharing your experience here. Your post is really instructional . . . and inspirational too! You've dispelled a lot of my 'fears' about this type of project.

=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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been working our way through the book for a few months. We went on a Christmas “toy” binge so we’re pretty well set. Pastrami came out pretty good. Sausages look and taste nice. I’m getting ready to start on the dry cured stuff now. We tasted some great Spanish Chorizo at Olivetto this past weekend and it’s inspired me to make some. Paul Canales did a demo on cutting up a lamp and a pig Saturday including how to do a trotter for Zampone. We are cutting up a whole Berkshire in a few weeks so this year we though we’d devote a good porting of it to charcuterie cuts.

If anyone has some suggestions please feel free to help us out. A good recipe for Zampone would be nice too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, a quick question. I am wondering how much nitrate there is in pink salt. I live in Norway, and what we get here is called "nitrit-salt" and has a lw level of nitrates. Butchers use only this when they make bacon etc. I just made 20 pounds of bacon using coarse sea salt, pepper, brown sugar and regular sugar, then smoked it with juniperbushes for 6-7 hours. I was a bit grey at the edges, but as I cut into it, it was very red. Can this come from the smoke or is th from the salt? Also, is it very necessary to use nitrates in curing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nitrates add safety and maintain the red color. Nitrates break down to nitrites over time.

In cure #1 : It consists of 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite.

Cure #2 has nitrates, but i'm not sure about the concentration

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

D.Q Curing Salt #2 has:

Sodium Nitrite 5.67%

Sodium Nitrate 3.63%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vacuum sealing is considered to be an excellent way to marinade. I don't see why it would be any different for curing, but I'm not a science guy.

This is a fasinating thread, I have been sitting here 2 hours reading it.

Regarding the question above here is part of a technical bulletin from one of the biggest suppliers of butchers curing and season supply's in the UK.

Cure In The Bag Method

Advantages: Reduces curing time, prevents meat oxidation and contamination.

1) Carry out instructions up to point 2 as above.

2) Place the rubbed meat in a vacuum bag and pull vacuum seal.

Cheers

Norman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By Bon Appetit Cookbooks
      This topic was hijacked from the Vancouver Board.
      What cookbooks do you love to cook out of at home?
      Is there a specific recipe that is your favorite?
      Or is there a book you just can't live without?
      If you have pictures, even better! Lets see how it turns out!
      Some of my favorites to cook out of:
      The Balthazar Cookbook - The Beef Tartar is amazing! As is the Chicken Liver Mousse
      The Babbo Cookbook - The Strawberries & Peaches with Balsamic Zabaglione
      Barefoot in Paris - The Blue Cheese Souffle looks JUST LIKE THE PICTURE!
      The Bouchon Cookbook - The Roast Chicken will seriously change your life
      Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy - The Chocolate Pots are the easiest dessert in the world and tastes so good....especially with the Amedei #7
      There are lots more. Hopefully I can take pictures and show you.
      Hopefully this post can be an ongoing thing.
      I think we are all interested in what eachother cooks!
      Happy Cooking

      J
    • By Dave the Cook
      Those of us that have been following Rob Connoley's (aka gfron1) trek from home cook to down-and-literally-dirty locavore James Beard-semi-finalist chef are justifiably proud of his well-deserved transformation to a published author, which he has faithfully detailed in an earlier topic. If you're not familiar with his story, I urge you to catch up, then come back here, because we're ready to move on to the next step.
       
      Rob's book, Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm & Field, is finally, officially available. This alone is awesome news, and you should totally order your copy today. Or . . . 
       
      . . . we want to continue the conversation about Rob, his book and his future plans in this topic. And just to up the awesomeness, Rob is offering a free book to a randomly selected participant here.
       
      Simply post a question or comment in this topic between now and 11:59 p.m. CST (US), 13 September 2016 and you'll be eligible to "win," based on a random drawing to be conducted, with each participant getting one chance, not including Society volunteers (and Rob himself. Multiple posts will not improve your chances, so don't get overheated.)  The winner will be announced on 14 September.
       
      Rob will be along shortly to add his encouragement and whatever late-breaking news he has -- he's busy guy these days, so be patient -- but there's no need to wait to post questions or comments.
       
       
      P.S. And if you don't win, you should still get this book.
    • By liuzhou
      A few weeks ago I bought a copy of this cookbook which is a best-selling spin off from the highly successful television series by China Central Television - A Bite of China as discussed on this thread.   .
       

       
      The book was published in August 2013 and is by Chen Zhitian (陈志田 - chén zhì tián). It is only available in Chinese (so far). 
       
      There are a number of books related to the television series but this is the only one which seems to be legitimate. It certainly has the high production standards of the television show. Beautifully photographed and with (relatively) clear details in the recipes.
       
      Here is a sample page.
       

       
      Unlike in most western cookbooks, recipes are not listed by main ingredient. They are set out in six vaguely defined chapters. So, if you are looking for a duck dish, for example, you'll have to go through the whole contents list. I've never seen an index in any Chinese book on any subject. 
       
      In order to demonstrate the breadth of recipes in the book and perhaps to be of interest to forum members who want to know what is in a popular Chinese recipe book, I have sort of translated the contents list - 187 recipes.
       
      This is always problematic. Very often Chinese dishes are very cryptically named. This list contains some literal translations. For some dishes I have totally ignored the given name and given a brief description instead. Any Chinese in the list refers to place names. Some dishes I have left with literal translations of their cryptic names, just for amusement value.
       
      I am not happy with some of the "translations" and will work on improving them. I am also certain there are errors in there, too.
       
      Back in 2008, the Chinese government issued a list of official dish translations for the Beijing Olympics. It is full of weird translations and total errors, too. Interestingly, few of the dishes in the book are on that list.
       
      Anyway, for what it is worth, the book's content list is here (Word document) or here (PDF file). If anyone is interested in more information on a dish, please ask. For copyright reasons, I can't reproduce the dishes here exactly, but can certainly describe them.
       
      Another problem is that many Chinese recipes are vague in the extreme. I'm not one to slavishly follow instructions, but saying "enough meat" in a recipe is not very helpful. This book gives details (by weight) for the main ingredients, but goes vague on most  condiments.
       
      For example, the first dish (Dezhou Braised Chicken), calls for precisely 1500g of chicken, 50g dried mushroom, 20g sliced ginger and 10g of scallion. It then lists cassia bark, caoguo, unspecified herbs, Chinese cardamom, fennel seed, star anise, salt, sodium bicarbonate and cooking wine without suggesting any quantities. It then goes back to ask for 35g of maltose syrup, a soupçon of cloves, and "the correct quantity" of soy sauce.
       
      Cooking instructions can be equally vague. "Cook until cooked".
       
      A Bite of China - 舌尖上的中国- ISBN 978-7-5113-3940-9 
    • By yoboseyo
      Novice at meat-curer looking for advice. I'm making 2 pancettas this season.
       
      The first one I used the over-salting technique. What I didn't expect was that the salt would all turn into brine in a day, and I expected that I could scrape away the excess salt at the end. Instead, I left it on the brine for too long, and the result was too salty. The meat firmed up in 2 days so I should've taken it out then.
       
      For my second one, which is currently in the fridge, I used the equilibrium salting technique. I added about 100g salt for 3.5kg meat. The problem now is that it's not firming up seemingly at all! It has been 9 days in the fridge, and flipping it every day or 2. After 6 days, however, there was no pool of brine left. I put the meat in a folded over but unsealed bag. Did the brine evaporate or resoak into the meat?
       
      Any advice on how to continue would be appreciated.
    • By davidcross
      I made some Lonza and cured it for 2 weeks.
       
      In the drying chamber (70% humidity and 55F with gentle air flow) it's only been 4 days but it's already lost 30% of its pre-drying chamber weight. Normally that can take weeks.
       
      Is that normal, and is the meat ready?
       
      Thank you
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.