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Bombdog

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

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Mmm, that lomo recipe sounds wonderful. Did you crush the fennel seed or leave it whole? Sweet or hot pimenton? And you used the cure #2, not pink salt, right?

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Mmm, that lomo recipe sounds wonderful.  Did you crush the fennel seed or leave it whole?  Sweet or hot pimenton?  And you used the cure #2, not pink salt, right?

Sorry Abra, I guess I was rather vague there (like my notes and memory).

Yes to curing salt, sweet paprika and the fennel seeds were toasted then semi crushed in a mortar. I was looking for a sweet, garlicky fennel flavor. The sweetness is rather sublime as is the fennel. But both are definitely present.

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When I first started watching this thread we lived in a typical tenement style NYC apartment with a 5'x5' box kitchen. So, we could do little else but watch in envy of Ronnie's bacon making pictoral and Chris' smoker purchase and everything else wonderful on this thread. Additionally, up until about 8 months ago, I had never cooked anything of value outside of pancakes for children on Sunday morning in my life! I was a professonal eater!

What a difference a few months make! We have moved to where we have a kitchen the whole family of 5 can cook in with room for more! Seen here. And, with the help and support of my new friends over in the Italy by Region forums (ITALY ) I can safely say my wife allows me to take the wheel in the kitchen from time to time now.

In watching the evolution of this thread makin bacon has clearly seriously become pedestrian! For me however, it my single greatest achivement in the kitchen to date! From scratch to the best I've ever tasted! Thanks for educating me enough to do it and for letting me share.

gallery_39050_2669_149596.jpg

We used low quality pork belly just in case of first time failure, more fat than meat but it was $1.50 per pound at a mexican carneceria near us. This is finished and ready to come out. We did one peice with the maple cure and one just with the cure salt (we made an awesome carbonara with that one) and smoked with apple wood. Next batch we will use a nieman ranch belly and compare the differences.

gallery_39050_2669_114563.jpg

Ready for the oven! Funny thing to us was we were all eating it so fast we forgot to take the crispy action shot. Suffice to say, we will never buy bacon again.

-Mike


Edited by NYC Mike (log)

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Welcome to bacon-makin', NYCMike. It's never pedestrian to the folks here, and yours looks delectable!

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Welcome to bacon-makin', NYCMike.  It's never pedestrian to the folks here, and yours looks delectable!

Agreed. Your inaugural bacon looks terrific, NYCMike. Welcome to the thread :smile:

=R=

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Nice work, Mike! The Niman Ranch bellies are far more marbled than the ones I've gotten at the carnicaria. You'll be amazed.

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Hello all. I've been following this thread from inception (12/05/05) and have found it entertainig, instructional, and truly inspirational. The pictures are downright gorgeous and, based upon the one posted by ronnie-suburban of his duck and cured ham pate (P. Casas), I decided to give that a go 11 days ago.

Following cooking and cooling, I placed weights (foil covered bricks) on the pate and put the terrine in a 2nd storage refrigerator that is kept at a very cold temp. and is seldom opened. The next day, I removed the weights, foiled the top of the pate, and covered the terrine. The following day a business emergency arose and I found myself in Madrid for 8 days, during which I completely forgot about the pate. Discovered it last night when I went for a cold beer.

Now comes the food safety question. What do you think I should do - Keep it (eat some and freeze some for later) or toss it. Also, when going through the freezer , I found some pork pate with tenderloin insert that was leftover from from New Years Eve. Any thoughts on that one.

TIA

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Hello all. I've been following this thread from inception (12/05/05) and have found it entertainig, instructional, and truly inspirational. The pictures are downright gorgeous and, based upon the one posted by ronnie-suburban of his duck and cured ham pate (P. Casas), I decided to give that a go 11 days ago.

Following cooking and cooling, I placed weights (foil covered bricks) on the pate and put the terrine in a 2nd storage refrigerator that is kept at a very cold temp. and is seldom opened. The next day, I removed the weights, foiled the top of the pate, and covered the terrine. The following day a business emergency arose and I found myself in Madrid for 8 days, during which I completely forgot about the pate. Discovered it last night when I went for a cold beer.

Now comes the food safety question. What do you think I should do - Keep it (eat some and freeze some for later) or toss it. Also, when going through the freezer , I found some pork pate with tenderloin insert that was leftover from from New Years Eve. Any thoughts on that one.

TIA

I'd eat it without hesitation, as long as it smelled ok. I think Mr. Ruhlman posted upthread about pates being good even a couple weeks after being made.

=R=

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Of course, this advice comes from the man who unhesitatingly ate green pork.

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Of course, this advice comes from the man who unhesitatingly ate green pork.

LOL --hey - but he's still here.....

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Of course, this advice comes from the man who unhesitatingly ate green pork.

LOL --hey - but he's still here.....

LMAO . . . well, yeah. :biggrin:

And clearly, I didn't need to remind everyone about it either! :laugh:

=R=

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Abra, forgive me if you've covered this in the preceeding 61 pages (!), but what kind of stuffer do you use?

Michael, do you wish to share a recipe with us?  I sure don't want to buy another book because the one I have is so nicely marked and splattered up!

If you don't mind Abra -- I would like to revisit this for a bit.

First of all nice job - really interesting. One of the things that was not clear to me was your verdict about the food processor vs the paddle -- what did you and Michael conclude?

Thanks,

Mark

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Late last week I was at Foodstuffs (Evanston, IL location) when I saw a beautiful, 3.5-pound piece of Wild Coho Salmon in the fish case. I decided right there on the spot that I'd finally try my hand at cold-smoked salmon. I also happened to pick up a 1.5-pound piece of farm-raised salmon at Costco later in the day.

Later that day, I made a quadruple batch of cure, basically following the recipe in the book for Smoked Salmon. I did cut back on the cloves and the bay leaves a little bit and since I had 2 ounces of fresh dill in the fridge, I included it. I halved the amount of pink salt, as well*. I cured the pieces of fish simultaneously for 36 hours (also weighing them down, per the instructions in the book) and then, after rinsing them thoroughly, dried them on racks in my fridge for about 24 hours.

After the drying, I manipulated my gas-powered smoker into what I hoped would become a cold smoker. I filled the tinder box with apple and cherry wood and filled the water bowl with ice. I then started a half chimney of lump charcoal in my Weber grill. When the lump charcoal became red hot, I removed 2 very small embers (about 1 square inch each) from the chimney and placed them on top of the wood chips in the tinder box. I closed the 2 side dampers and top damper on the smoker almost completely, leaving them only about 1/4" open. Miraculously, the embers smoldered very slowly -- and evenly -- for about 4 hours while the temperature inside the smoking chamber never went above 90 F. After the smoke finished its run, I retrieved the fillets and was delighted with the results, which actually approximated (or maybe even were) cold-smoked!

gallery_3085_3591_231830.jpg

Cold-smoked salmon fillet.

gallery_3085_3591_22856.jpg

A closer look at the flesh, still supple and oily.

gallery_3085_3591_353013.jpg

In lieu of freezing the smoked salmon first, I found that my cheese knife was the best one for the task of slicing the finished product.

gallery_3085_3591_163760.jpg

Cold-smoked salmon on toasted blackbread with chive cheese, aka Dinner Part 1.

gallery_3085_3591_93402.jpg

Cold-smoked salmon on a toasted sesame bagel with chive cheese, aka Dinner Part 2.

FWIW, the piece from Costco also turned out very tasty. However, it started out much 'fishier' than the piece of Wild Coho from Foodstuffs and it ended up about the same. The finished product made with the fish from Costco also lacked the sweetness in the piece of wild fish. But, in either case, I'm delighted with the results and can't wait to make another batch. I've got a few tweaks in mind -- including removing the curing salt entirely -- and hope to give it another whirl very soon.

=R=

*Edited to add/correct info about pink salt quantity


Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

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Nice job Ron -- great color on that Coho. My experience has tought me to lower the salt level, but I have not yet gone 100% w/out.

I have been making the gravelox version for the last 6 months - about 8 times, but finaly did my first cold smoke a week ago. I found that myself and "friends and family" felt that 4 hours was almost too smokey - one at 2 hours seemed perfect. Maybe we have just been used to the pure brine cured.

FWIW - I have been using 1/2 cup salt 1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup scotch and the rind of one lemon - on a 2.5 lb salmon... all types... but no wild coho yet....


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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Beautiful, Ron! And, thanks for the tip on using the cheese knife.

However, you disappoint in that you didn't photo your set up.

I'm intrigued by the idea of using just a couple of embers on top of wood. This Kettle Queen is bound and determined that the Great Goddess of the North (my 25-year old Kettle) can cold smoke. Your endeavour is making me think it might just be possible.

I've ordered two bellies from a guy at the farmer's market, which I won't get until a week plus, but I do know that it will be superlative pork.

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Wow, Ron, that is semi-miraculous to be able to keep such a low temp - you weren't using the gas at all? It's the miracle of the coals and the fishes.

Mark - the processor produced a superior dog.

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After the drying, I manipulated my gas-powered smoker into what I hoped would become a cold smoker. I filled the tinder box with apple and cherry wood and filled the water bowl with ice. I then started a half chimney of lump charcoal in my Weber grill. When the lump charcoal became red hot, I removed 2 very small embers (about 1 square inch each) from the chimney and placed them on top of the wood chips in the tinder box. I closed the 2 side dampers and top damper on the smoker almost completely, leaving them only about 1/4" open. Miraculously, the embers smoldered very slowly -- and evenly -- for about 4 hours while the temperature inside the smoking chamber never went above 90 F.

Ron, great description of how you manipulated the temp of the smoker! During my first few tries here, maintaining the right temperature steadily has been the biggest challenge.

Nice looking fish too!

-Mike

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That's gorgeous, Mike. You've inspired me to want to get on the bacon bandwagon.

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So here we all are making and eating salted, smokey pork fat to our hearts content...

So last week - Well - I went to the doc for a check-up....

He freaked - BP way high, colesterol high, blood sugar high...weight up.....

However, he is a good friend too....

So there we are having dinner at his house the next night(a revolving dinner group) and I brought a plate of my finest:

Tuscan Salami

Chirizo

Lamb Procuitto

Cold Smoked Salmon

Venison Salami

Andouille

Pancetta

..... and always a crowd pleaser - Guianciale

Soo... we are all devouring the goodies, and he came up to me and just smiled with a piece of Guianciale in his hand and said yup - we'll obviuosly going to fix your issues with medication - because a change in diet does not seem to be a good idea not only for you - but me :-)

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So here we all are making and eating salted, smokey pork fat to our hearts content...

So last week  - Well - I went to the doc for a check-up....

He freaked - BP way high, cholesterol high, blood sugar high...weight up.....

Interesting. I've had just the opposite happen to me. I've lost just a tad over 60 lbs in the past 11 months. My b/p is down and my cholesteral has dropped so much my Dr removed me from the meds.

I admit to a pretty aggressive work out regimen, but I eat ALOT of my own stuff, nearly every day.

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Nice job Ron -- great color on that Coho. My experience has tought me to lower the salt level, but I have not yet gone 100% w/out.

I have been making the gravelox version for the last 6 months - about 8 times, but finaly did my first cold smoke a week ago. I found that myself and "friends and family" felt that 4 hours was almost too smokey -  one at 2 hours seemed perfect. Maybe we have just been used to the pure brine cured.

FWIW - I have been using 1/2 cup salt 1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup scotch and the rind of one lemon - on a 2.5 lb salmon... all types... but no wild coho yet....

Thanks, Mark. I appreciate the recipe info very much, as future tweaks are definitely on the horizon. I was actually shooting for 2 hours of smoke time but I was so delighted when I saw how my rigging was working, I just decided to let it keep smoking until the chips burned out. I wouldn't say the final product is too smokey but definitely smokier than what I'm accustomed to.

Beautiful, Ron!  And, thanks for the tip on using the cheese knife.

However, you disappoint in that you didn't photo your set up.

Next time, I promise. That said, it was very simple and straightforward. I just placed some of the cure in the bottom of an oval, ceramic baker, placed the fish (skin side down) on top of that, splashed it with some dark rum and then covered it evenly with a bit more cure. After that, I placed a piece of plastic wrap over the fish and placed another, smaller oval on top of that. Into that 2nd oval I put a couple of #10 cans and then put the whole contraption in the fridge for 36 hours.

I'm intrigued by the idea of using just a couple of embers on top of wood.  This Kettle Queen is bound and determined that the Great Goddess of the North (my 25-year old Kettle) can cold smoke.  Your endeavour is making me think it might just be possible.

It's definitely possible (I think :smile:). It really comes down to vent/damper control. As long as you can find that "setting" where the embers still smolder without dying out or growing a flame, you'll be ok. And there should be room in the Weber for a tray of ice to help keep things cool

Wow, Ron, that is semi-miraculous to be able to keep such a low temp - you weren't using the gas at all?

Nope, I never even turned it on.

My only real complaint is, in spite of what the pics show, that the fish was a bit drier than I am used to. Lox, as I know it, is much oilier. I attribute this to the use of curing salt but I'm not sure that's accurate. What I do know is that the fish's texture changed very little after it had been smoked. After 36 hours of curing, it was much stiffer than I am used to when I make gravlax, which contains only Kosher salt. Next time out, I will almost certainly omit the pink salt and see how it affects the final product.

=R=

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Hello all. I've been following this thread from inception (12/05/05) and have found it entertainig, instructional, and truly inspirational. The pictures are downright gorgeous and, based upon the one posted by ronnie-suburban of his duck and cured ham pate (P. Casas), I decided to give that a go 11 days ago.

Following cooking and cooling, I placed weights (foil covered bricks) on the pate and put the terrine in a 2nd storage refrigerator that is kept at a very cold temp. and is seldom opened. The next day, I removed the weights, foiled the top of the pate, and covered the terrine. The following day a business emergency arose and I found myself in Madrid for 8 days, during which I completely forgot about the pate. Discovered it last night when I went for a cold beer.

Now comes the food safety question. What do you think I should do - Keep it (eat some and freeze some for later) or toss it. Also, when going through the freezer , I found some pork pate with tenderloin insert that was leftover from from New Years Eve. Any thoughts on that one.

TIA

I'd eat it without hesitation, as long as it smelled ok. I think Mr. Ruhlman posted upthread about pates being good even a couple weeks after being made.

=R=

=R=

Thanks for the input. Had a couple of slices last night and it was great. I've made this pate several times in the past and this was the best result. Maybe being aged for 11 days played a role. Took a few pix, and if any turned out OK, I'll post later.

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