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


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I know that there have been previous inquiries regarding non-pork alternatives, but I'd like to ask a more specific question:

I want to cure a batch of beef bacon. I've had what is commercially available, and I like it fine, but I think it can be done better.

What cut would you suggest? My butcher says my best bet would be to buy a blade and to bone it out -- he says I need the fat. I've also seen beef bacon made with brisket -- though I think that wouldn't be fatty enough.

I imagine curing time will really be a bit of guesswork determined by thickness. Has anyone done this? Michael? Any guidance?

Aidan

Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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I know that there have been previous inquiries regarding non-pork alternatives, but I'd like to ask a more specific question:

I want to cure a batch of beef bacon.  I've had what is commercially available, and I like it fine, but I think it can be done better.

What cut would you suggest?  My butcher says my best bet would be to buy a blade and to bone it out -- he says I need the fat.  I've also seen beef bacon made with brisket -- though I think that wouldn't be fatty enough.

I imagine curing time will really be a bit of guesswork determined by thickness.  Has anyone done this?  Michael?  Any guidance?

Aidan

Aidan, I think that a high-quality, whole brisket -- especially using the point -- would be a good way to go. I've made pastrami with whole wagyu brisket a few times and it's extremely well-marbled in most places. And with a really good brisket, even the flat should be elastic enough to make suitable fake-on.

=R=

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

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Regarding duck prosciutto, I've had mine in for about 8 days now, they have defintely firmed up a bit but they are still somewhat squishy ... At what point do you think squishy means raw as opposed to ready (As I assume the fat on the breast will never not be somewhat squishy).

Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

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I am a bit worried about the chorizo I have hanging, as I put it up at the same time as the tuscan and it's not near as dry.  I made them the same day, packed them in to the same size casings, and hung them up side-by-side.  Any idea why the tuscan would dry more quickly than the chorizo?  Should I be concerned?

Ok, a bit odd to be quoting my own posting, but I've got an update. When I came home tonight I went to check the chorizo again, and there was still no noticable progress. I pulled one down and sliced in to it to get a closer look. It's definitely not dry - it's evenly moist (no noticable case hardening). The meat and fat come apart if you manipulate a slice in any way which seems rather odd. Here's the *really* bizzare part: there's liquid fat. Underneath the casing, there are definitely pools of light brown oozing fat - it's really as unattractive as it sounds. Squeezing a thick slice, fat definitely seeps out inbetween the bits of meat.

Something's not right. This is made from the same piece of meat and same backfat as my tuscan salame which came out just dandy.

I can post pictures if anyone is interested, though perhaps I'll email them outside of the thread as not to disturb anyone. Any ideas?

Thanks,

-Dan

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i'll bet the culture never grew, i'll bet that if you did a pH reading it would be 5 or higher.  not enough acid.  your salami, though, looks perfect. they shouldhave cured at the same rate.

Michael,

I wonder if during the excitment of making batches of salame I forgot to add the culture, or if it just didn't grow.

Well, of all the things I've tried making from the book (bacon, pancetta, numerous fresh sausages, etc.), this'll be the first one in to the trash basket... Oh well. I'll console myself with more delicious tuscane salame...

Thanks for the help - having you participate in this forum is fantastic.

-Dan

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http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11606201..._3718_57017.jpg

Above is a picture of one of the duck breasts. I dont know how to get the picture to be seen directly in the forum other than by putting in that link.

But anyways....'m not sure what to think about those little white splotches on the surface of the breast. Can anyone help me out with it.

Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

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http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11606201..._3718_57017.jpg

Above is a picture of one of the duck breasts. I dont know how to get the picture to be seen directly in the forum other than by putting in that link.

But anyways....'m not sure what to think about those little white splotches on the surface of the breast. Can anyone help me out with it.

Hi Jeremy,

I would just rub it off with a little vinegar if I were you, then see how it progresses, it is most likely quite harmless.

I have had similar on some of my beef bacon, after it has been kept for 6 weeks, it turned out to actually be the start of bloom which is normal on cured meats and salami in some conditions.

I wouldn't be too worried as long as it isn't hairy and green!

Regards,

Richard

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

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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I know that there have been previous inquiries regarding non-pork alternatives, but I'd like to ask a more specific question:

I want to cure a batch of beef bacon.  I've had what is commercially available, and I like it fine, but I think it can be done better.

What cut would you suggest?  My butcher says my best bet would be to buy a blade and to bone it out -- he says I need the fat.  I've also seen beef bacon made with brisket -- though I think that wouldn't be fatty enough.

I imagine curing time will really be a bit of guesswork determined by thickness.  Has anyone done this?  Michael?  Any guidance?

Aidan

Hi Aiden,

I have dry cured Brisket Bacon, and the result was a little tough, delicious but still slightly chewy, I have some plate in the freezer awaiting my arrival home for the next experiment, plate is supposed to be more tender I believe. I haven't tried Wagyu as there is nobody in Indonesia that would sell it retail.

My greatest facon is however, dry cured duck breast, using a commercial smoke cure as with all my facon experiments, I treated it just like the beef, and the result was superb, tender and full of flavour.

Just rub with the manufacturers recommended quantity of curing salt, ziploc and place in the fridge. Leave for 2 days per half inch of thickness, plus one day, remove, wash off and leave uncovered in the fridge to form the pellicle.

The really great thing about dry curing is that the quantity of salt is calculated for the weight of cured product, and even if you forget that you are curing something and leave it too long it will not get too salty.

If you want to see the result's just take a look at my weblog.

Regards,

Richard

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

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11606201..._3718_57017.jpg

Above is a picture of one of the duck breasts. I dont know how to get the picture to be seen directly in the forum other than by putting in that link.

But anyways....'m not sure what to think about those little white splotches on the surface of the breast. Can anyone help me out with it.

Hi Jeremy,

I would just rub it off with a little vinegar if I were you, then see how it progresses, it is most likely quite harmless.

I have had similar on some of my beef bacon, after it has been kept for 6 weeks, it turned out to actually be the start of bloom which is normal on cured meats and salami in some conditions.

I wouldn't be too worried as long as it isn't hairy and green!

Regards,

Richard

Yeah it isnt hairy or green and is pretty thin and small. After I rub it in vinegar (distilled i assume) shoud i hang it to dry for longer?

Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

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http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11606201..._3718_57017.jpg

Above is a picture of one of the duck breasts. I dont know how to get the picture to be seen directly in the forum other than by putting in that link.

But anyways....'m not sure what to think about those little white splotches on the surface of the breast. Can anyone help me out with it.

Hi Jeremy,

I would just rub it off with a little vinegar if I were you, then see how it progresses, it is most likely quite harmless.

I have had similar on some of my beef bacon, after it has been kept for 6 weeks, it turned out to actually be the start of bloom which is normal on cured meats and salami in some conditions.

I wouldn't be too worried as long as it isn't hairy and green!

Regards,

Richard

Yeah it isnt hairy or green and is pretty thin and small. After I rub it in vinegar (distilled i assume) shoud i hang it to dry for longer?

How long has it been hanging Jeremy, is it already dried? if so it could just be the start of bloom. If you decide to rub with vinegar, just rub that one little spot and it should just dry in the fridge. If it was in my house it would already be half eaten by now!

Regards,

Richard

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

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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I jsut ate a pork confit that I made last week. Truly excellent. Better (in my opinion) than most duck confits.

Does anyone know if the fat in which the confit was made (duck in this case) can be used to make another batch of confit?

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Ruined Guiancale...

Ok sot I took the jowl - cured it with the pancetta cure - cold smoked it... then put it in cheescloth and hung it for about 5 weeks.... took it down last night.... and well - lots of green mold... so much so that I had to toss it - no question on this one - hell it was almost "smoking" with mold.

Could the cheese cloth hanging have contributed to this?

This is the 1st green mold I have experienced, and I have been doing alot of stuff.

Sort of baffled - ideas anyone?

Thanks..

OTOH - my soppresetta seems to be doing quite well, with lots of white mold and no issues... yet... at about 3 weeks.

Edited by mdbasile (log)
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Ruined Guiancale...

Ok sot I took the jowl - cured it with the pancetta cure - cold smoked it... then put it in cheescloth and hung it for about 5 weeks.... took it down last night.... and well - lots of green mold... so much so that I had to toss it - no question on this one - hell it was almost "smoking" with mold.

Could the cheese cloth hanging have contributed to this?

This is the 1st green mold I have experienced, and I have been doing alot of stuff.

Sort of baffled - ideas anyone?

Thanks..

OTOH - my soppresetta seems to be doing quite well, with lots of white mold and no issues... yet... at about 3 weeks.

I've never smoked jowls, just cured and then hung. I've never had any problems with mold using that method.

The only time I have had any green mold was a result of (to my thinking) hanging too much and not getting sufficient air circulation in the chamber.

With that reasoning, I would suspect that the cheesecloth might be the culprit. OTH, I really don't know, just guessing.

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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turns out there is a little green growing on the breast ... if i clean it right away should everything be ok?

As long as it hasn't penetrated into the meat I think you will be just fine, give it a try and when you are drying it try to keep it in a slightly drier atmosphere, I have seen some people who have had whole salami's covered in green mould and they have just used the vinegar wash and eaten the salami's with no ill effects as the meat inside the outer casing was still fine.

Regards,

Richard

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

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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Interesting post in the Texas forum regarding Iberian pork products at Central Market. It's nice to know that Spanish cured pork (including the legendary Jamón ibérico) is making it to the U.S. now, but I'm curious as to how it compares to carefully crafted products made here.

Has anyone compared, say, imported Spanish lomo to cured pork loin made with high-quality (e.g. "Heritage breed") pork and artisinal technique here? I've made the pork confit recipe from Charcuterie, but haven't attempted a dry-cured lomo.

I recall dining in a restaurant in San Juan where there were hams hanging from the ceiling, their dainty little black hooves pointing to the ceiling. The ham was incredibly expensive, and was sliced by hand from an elaborate stand that kept it clamped in place. The stand was located in an alcove lit from above. :raz: I decided to pass on the ham course. Only later did it dawn on me that those hams looked an awful lot like Jamón ibérico. I could kick myself for not trying some, and asking where it came from. Is Puerto Rico not subject to the food-nanny FDA?

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Bought the book a couple weeks ago. Went to a small family reunion and decided to make the corned beef to bring along. Wanted to start with something simple, and I LOVE corned beef. The husband thought I was weird to go to the trouble, even though he admits we haven't had a great corned beef since we moved to Indiana, and that it wasn't "cost efficient." I won't tell you what I told him :laugh:

Bought a whole brisket, and even with all the other food present, it completely disappeared. Juicy, spicy, tender...and a magnificent smell ! Sorry, no photos, but it looked like a corned beef should :wink:

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... The husband thought I was weird to go to the trouble, even though he admits we haven't had a great corned beef since we moved to Indiana, and that it wasn't "cost efficient."  I won't tell you what I told him  :laugh:

Good for you! Home-made is always better, even if it isn't "cost efficient". :wink:

BTW, you can get some pretty decent corned beef in Indianapolis. Ronnie can attest to this....

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Francois, it's fine to re-use the fat from making confit, so long as you've filtered it so it's absolutely clear, and kept the temperature very low while you were simmering the duck. I always save mine - it should be pure white to pale ivory colored. If's it's brown, toss it.

The jellied duck juices you get after making confit are fabulous too. Somewhere here I read the neatest trick. Pour the fat and juice through a filter into a jar, screw the lid on tight, then put it in the fridge upside down. After it chills, turn the jar right side up and you'll have all the duck jello at the top, right under the lid, for easy removal and use.

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... The husband thought I was weird to go to the trouble, even though he admits we haven't had a great corned beef since we moved to Indiana, and that it wasn't "cost efficient."  I won't tell you what I told him  :laugh:

Good for you! Home-made is always better, even if it isn't "cost efficient". :wink:

BTW, you can get some pretty decent corned beef in Indianapolis. Ronnie can attest to this....

Ronnie needs to tell me where. Probably downtown, I don't get there enough. Live out in the burbs :sad:

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Ronnie needs to tell me where.  Probably downtown, I don't get there enough.  Live out in the burbs  :sad:

Search the Heartland forum for "Shapiro's". It's a deli that won't win any style points (cafeteria style), but the corned beef is excellent. They're downown on South Meridian (South of the train station, West of Eli Lilly headquarters), but they've got a branch in the 'burbs in Carmel.

For the best pastrami in the "Heartland", you'll have to come to the next eG gathering and hope that Ronnie makes some more of his awesome wagyu pastrami. See the Heartland Gathering 2006 thread for an idea of what we enjoyed this year.

Since next year's eG Heartland Gathering may be happening in Cleveland, maybe we can persuade Mr Ruhlman to attend. :wink:

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I jsut ate a pork confit that I made last week.  Truly excellent.  Better (in my  opinion) than most duck confits. 

Does anyone know if the fat in which the confit was made (duck in this case) can be used to make another batch of confit?

I re use the fat all the time. I strain it through a fine strainer, chill it, and lift if off any residual gelee, then freeze it til next time. Since I use such low temps to make confit, it doesn't seem to break down in quality.

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