Jump to content
  • 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  
Bombdog

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

Recommended Posts

[Moderator note: The original Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 3)]

 

 

 

 

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.



Damned you Ruhman!

I just ordered Kinsella, Grigson, and Bertolli's books. (all your fault)

It's not bad enough that after finishing Reach I had to go out and buy replacement copies of Making and Soul (loaned out and never returned)

and now you tell me I'm going to have to buy ANOTHER copy of Charcuterie too!

Sheesh!
Edited by Mjx Note added. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He needs a humidifier in there to bring humidity up, and also a dehumidifier or drier for when it gets too high.

This may not be strictly true, in my experience some form of humidifier is needed, but not necessarily a dehumidifier. The cooling system in most of these devices tends to pull the humidity down anyway. Just look at a typical refrigerator which is quite arid, and will dry out the contents if they are not covered or in containers. My modified refrigerator has no problems with high humidity which the condensation of the water vapour on the cooling element doesn't take care of, the humidity will rise as new product is introduced but I have never found that the time taken to reduce this to my working levels has given me any cause for concern. This time taken to reduce the humidity is normally less than 12 hours in my case, but does depend on the quantity and moisture levels of the new product introduced, this may slightly lengthen the time taken to dry existing product but this hobby is not for the impatient anyway is it? How many others on this forum would be prepared to wait 18 months for a slice of ham? :rolleyes:

Regards,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard, what you're saying is true, and i use that effect to in my chamber, but that is only true for "frost-free" fridges. These mini fridges use cooling coils, meaning the humidity that is in there, stays in tehre, and never gets pulled out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Richard, what you're saying is true, and i use that effect to in my chamber, but that is only true for "frost-free" fridges.  These mini fridges use cooling coils, meaning the humidity that is in there, stays in tehre, and never gets pulled out.

Since one shouldn't be seeing a lot of *frost* as such at 15C, I think the requirement would be that one had a condensate drain, or other means of removing it (air change or even a sponge).

If only it were 'frost', that would lock up the excess moisture.

I can recognise that a humidity controlled, moderate temperature enclosure would be of great interest both to home charcuriers and home cheesemakers, but I'm not sure that even the combined market at the likely price, (I'm pessimistic), could justify the costs of productionising a special enclosure. The higher the price, the more an already small market is restricted and the higher still the price must be set to recover the development and fixed costs.

I do however wonder whether or not a 'control pack' might be a more viable product.

Such a pack could then be applied to whatever fridge was available.

By leaving out the enclosure, the whole compressor/evaporator mechanism, and having a smaller product to stock and ship, it should be much more affordable - and hence have a larger market.

I'd like to see

- everything inside the fridge being low voltage. Thats humidifier, fan and controls.

- a "mains power switching" box outside the fridge. (And do me a favour, allow it to work on 240v at 50 Hz, please!)

- And please can I have an LED panel on a ribbon cable to come past the door seal and magnetically stick to the outside of the door or chest freezer to show me cooling, humidifying, and fan activity? (And a flashing low water level warning for the humidifier.) A readout (with max and min stored) of temperature and humidity would be very good to have on that panel too.

Would it be a good idea to make the pack fit into the fridge door? That would minimise the useful space taken up, and might make for easy attachment to removable (potentially replaceable) plastic shelves.

Oh, and by allowing it to control a heater (rather than a fridge) it could possibly be sold to reptile keepers as well.

I've got a feeling that if the exterior temperature gets too low, (like in a garage), then the cooler isn't going to be called on, and hence the cooler isn't going to function as a dehumidifier.

And with the same actual moisture content in the air, allowing it to get "too cold" is going to also increase the relative humidity undesireably.

Probably the way round this involves a heater, perhaps a repurposing of the fridge's existing interior lamp - although the simpler, if counter-intuitive, answer would be to keep the curing fridge in a room that was always above 15C... ! (Though clearly this wouldn't be a problem in Tristar's location... :D )


Edited by dougal (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

I smoked the ham yesterday. Turned out real nice.

It was smaller than I thought, slightly over 5 pounds (the pig was about 3 months old, pretty much the size of a small lamb). I left it in the brine for 2 1/2 days but I did inject some inside, (following the suggestions in the CIA book - Garde Manger)Hardly any fat so to protect the meat, I smoked it with the rind on. After it was smoked, I removed the rind and quikly glazed it in the oven.

It took about 5 hours in the smoker.

The CIA book suggests smoking to an internal temp of 150 F vs 155 F in Charcuterie - Any thoughts on how much 5 degrees F can make in the finished product?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, I love the board. I don't have room for one that large but I do have room for a smaller one and will seek one out later today, on-line.

Lot's going on here today . . . smoking another Wagyu pastrami and another large slab of bacon at the moment. I just tubed off a batch of Andouille, which I will smoke later this evening or tomorrow.

For the first time in days, I can actually see light coming from the back of my refrigerator. Although, once the pastrami and the bacon are finished smoking, I'll be back to where I was until "distribution" mode begins. :smile:

Francois, I doubt the 5 degrees will make any difference at all. I'd feel comfortable taking it to 150 F or 155 F. Once you go over that level, you might experience some drying, so I wouldn't go above 160 F no matter what.

=R=

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_34671_3458_122787.jpg

Valuable lesson learned, to cold smoke cheese you need cold. Tastes great though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the board as well, but my solution was simpler, whiteboard marker and the front door of the refrigerator! :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If every one can stand a few more gratuitous bacon shots.

gallery_34671_3458_26192.jpg

Honey cure.

gallery_34671_3458_87875.jpg

Maple cure.

gallery_34671_3458_84899.jpg

California ham spice cure.

gallery_34671_3458_198452.jpg

A trio of smoked salts. Kosher with a pellicle of jojoba oil. Sel de Guerande. Fleur de sel.

The honey cure won hands down. The california ham spice was interesting, very meaty. Anyone know what is in that stuff? The only definate info I can find says it contains clove and sugar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If every one can stand a few more gratuitous bacon shots.

gallery_34671_3458_26192.jpg

Honey cure.

Pictures like this make me happy I picked the book up. I just need the time to make something!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If every one can stand a few more gratuitous bacon shots . . .

We can never have too many. Nice work, Kerry. :smile:

=R=

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My little Lardo and Lomo curing project worked out great! Even though the room is still a little drier that ideal, both meats cured beautifully. The Lardo made from belly took about a couple of weeks and has a very intense porky fatty flavor. The Lomo was lovely with a good hit of garlic and spice. I will post my "recipe" for it soon. Like I mentioned it was based on the Bresaola recipe.

gallery_5404_2234_144057.jpg

gallery_5404_2234_134126.jpg

gallery_5404_2234_424696.jpg

gallery_5404_2234_326013.jpg

BTW, Michael I would be happy to test a recipe as well. I do not have a stuffer, but I do have everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful stuff, Elie. I definitely want to make some lardo too. I had some over the weekend that was just awesome. Thanks for the pics.

=R=

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerry, there is no such thing as "gratuitous" bacon. All bacon is essential.

Wow, Elie, there's a lot of meat in that lardo. how come you used a belly, as opposed to fatback? I'm looking forward to your lomo recipe!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kerry, there is no such thing as "gratuitous" bacon.  All bacon is essential.

Wow, Elie, there's a lot of meat in that lardo.  how come you used a belly, as opposed to fatback?  I'm looking forward to your lomo recipe!

Well, because I could not find appropriatly thick fatback at the butcher, so I gave the belly a try.

Funny, only someone on this thread would say that there is too much meat in that hunk of fat :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just jumping onto the bandwagon and about to attempt my first project - bacon or...pancetta. I just have a question. How important is the humidity factor if I plan to cure stuff in a refrigerator? I stuck a thermometer that has a humidity reading and it's about 15C and 20% humidity in the fridge I'm 'dedicating' to curing stuff if it's possible. Also use the fridge to store flours and other dried stuff which doesnt carry any funky flavours (since one has to refrigerate most things in the tropics!) so it's not too crowded. So, any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just jumping onto the bandwagon and about to attempt my first project - bacon or...pancetta. I just have a question. How important is the humidity factor if I plan to cure stuff in a refrigerator? I stuck a thermometer that has a humidity reading and it's about 15C and 20% humidity in the fridge I'm 'dedicating' to curing stuff if it's possible. Also use the fridge to store flours and other dried stuff which doesnt carry any funky flavours (since one has to refrigerate most things in the tropics!) so it's not too crowded. So, any ideas?

I know this is a stupid question but I'll ask anyway...

I assume your fridge is working.

In Charcuterie, It is written that 'an unused refrigerator can be a perfect drying box', Later an 'unpluged refrigerator' is mentioned. Would a fridge that is working, at it's lowest setting work? Even at the lowest setting it is probably much colder than the 60 F that is recommanded.

I have a second fridge but I use it to store a few things and while it would give me room to cure some sausages, I just could not turn it off. Could I use the suggestion of water and salt in a working fridge to increase the humidity??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[

I have a second fridge but I use it to store a few things and while it would give me room to cure some sausages, I just could not turn it off.  Could I use the suggestion of water and salt in a working fridge to increase the humidity??

This is exactly what I use. My temp remains about 55-60F. I keep a large glass bread baking dish filled with heavily salted water on the bottom.

So far...so good. Only problems have been of my own making.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know this is a stupid question but I'll ask anyway...

I assume your fridge is working.

In Charcuterie, It is written that 'an unused refrigerator can be a perfect drying box', Later an 'unpluged refrigerator' is mentioned.  Would a fridge that is working, at it's lowest setting work? Even at the lowest setting it is probably much colder than the 60 F that is recommanded. 

I have a second fridge but I use it to store a few things and while it would give me room to cure some sausages, I just could not turn it off.  Could I use the suggestion of water and salt in a working fridge to increase the humidity??

Yup, it's working. I think it would go up to 80F if it were turned off (average room temp is about 88F here :raz:). I've managed to get it to stay about 60F but it can actually go a bit warmer if need be. Maybe I'll try the water & salt trick too and see if I can get the humidity up.

p.s. what's the use of salt for though?


Edited by Gul_Dekar (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The salt inhibits the growth of algae and scummy stuff in the water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As mentioned upthread, a saturated brine also helps keep the humidity at 70%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As mentioned upthread, a saturated brine also helps keep the humidity at 70%

And that does mean saturated! I used a locally available block salt which comes in pyramid shapes about three inches tall, I have found that once the salt is saturated the blocks become water logged and actually help in transferring the moisture to the atmosphere in the refrigerator as they stick up above the water about two inches. Saves having to use a container which has a large suface area of water!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As mentioned upthread, a saturated brine also helps keep the humidity at 70%

And that does mean saturated! I used a locally available block salt which comes in pyramid shapes about three inches tall, I have found that once the salt is saturated the blocks become water logged and actually help in transferring the moisture to the atmosphere in the refrigerator as they stick up above the water about two inches. Saves having to use a container which has a large suface area of water!

As Tristar implies, people should be saying "wet salt" rather than "saturated brine". You should have solid salt above the liquid surface. (Specifically, you might need it for bringing the humidity *down* to 75%.)

If your problem is just raising the humidity towards 70%, then its not nearly so critical.

The chiller element in the fridge knocks out moisture as condensation (potentially frost). So it is dehumidifying, whenever the fridge is actively cooling. A nice large surface area dish of water or brine (and a little air movement) will compensate for the condensation loss and raise the humidity back up again.

However - if (when) the temperature outside the fridge is 15C/60F or less, (as in cold seasons in an outhouse, garage or maybe cellar) then the fridge won't need to cool things, so the motor won't run, so there won't be any moisture being knocked out as condensation.

Then the damp salami (or whatever) will bring the humidity up and up, to somewhere likely in the 90's% RH.

This is where the salt can most obvoiusly be needed to act as a de-humidifier.

If you have just saturated brine, and it takes in more water, it won't be saturated any more, and so will equilibrate at an RH higher than 75%.

What makes it worse is that the unsaturated brine forms a dilute surface layer, floating on the denser saturated brine, so that the RH control point shoots up very quickly.

Excess salt, at the surface, will dissolve in the 'new' water and keep the brine saturated, even as it controls a damp atmosphere down to 75%.

It is worth noting that even a saturated Sodium Chloride solution will control towards a 75% RH, (at the temperatures in question), and that is slightly higher than that recommended. However that is the lowest control point that salt can give you. Other chemical compounds give other possibilities, but there's nothing as convenient and cheap and close to the 60-70% ideal as plain salt.

Tristar's point, about the solid salt increasing the surface area in contact with the air, and hence the 'power' of the control, is an important bonus.

So, the take-home message is that "wet salt" will exert a controlling influence towards 75% RH from both sides, whereas "brine" (even saturated brine) will humidify quite well, but plain brine is no good at de-humidifying.

I think that the book's single sentence on this topic (on Page 175), could usefully be amplified in the Second Edition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Removd two items from the curing chamber today.

gallery_16509_1680_95534.jpg

A Genoa salame. I really like this one!

And LOOK!, I've finally got mold, and good mold at that!

gallery_16509_1680_31073.jpg

This is a Coppa, although using large chunks from the shoulder portion(as Jason described long ago). I wasn't brave enough to try to stuff the entire piece into the casing. This picture doesn't really show the mold that well, but it's a nice fine white thing.

Curious, it only formed on the 4 sticks of coppa and not on ANY of the other meats in the box (???)

Share this post


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

  • Similar Content

    • By boilsover
      Solid intermediate cook, here.  Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps.  But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
       
      I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful.  What do you all like, and why?
       
      Thanks!
    • By Chris Hennes
      On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
       
      One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
       
      The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By CanadianSportsman
      Greetings,

      I've cooked several recipes from Keller's "Bouchon" the last couple of weeks, and have loved them all! At the moment (as in right this minute) I'm making the boeuf Bourguignon, and am a little confused about the red wine reduction. After reducing the wine, herbs, and veg for nearly an hour now, I'm nowhere near the consistancy of a glaze that Keller specifies. In fact, it looks mostly like the veg is on the receiving end of most of it. Is this how the recipe is meant to be? Can anybody tell me what kind of yield is expected? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, kindly. 
    • By Paul Fink
      This unfortunately titled book changed my life. I always enjoyed cooking and idealized Julia Child &
      Jacque Pepin. But I was a typical home cook. I would see a recipe and try to duplicate it little understanding about what I was doing.
       
      Cooking the Nouvelle Cuisine in America talked about a philosophy of cooking. It showed me that there is more depth to cooking. A history. A philosophy.
      The recipes are very approachable and you can make them on a budget from grocery store ingredients. I read it as a grad student in Oregon, in the late 80's I had access to lots of fresh ingredients. And some very nice wines, cheap! I was suppose to be studying physics but I end up learning more about wine & cooking.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×