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


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All the best country hams I've enjoyed looked pretty gnarly on the outside too. That meat looks absolutely beautiful, Dave.

As for depth of flavor, you may want to try a longer cure. From what I've read in a few other books lately (Pig Perfect by Peter Kaminsky being one of them), 12-18 months is the ideal cure time for a ham. Apparently, that's when the complex and tasty funkiness really begins to develop.

=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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All the best country hams I've enjoyed looked pretty gnarly on the outside too.  That meat looks absolutely beautiful, Dave.

As for depth of flavor, you may want to try a longer cure.  From what I've read in a few other books lately (Pig Perfect by Peter Kaminsky being one of them), 12-18 months is the ideal cure time for a ham.  Apparently, that's when the complex and tasty funkiness really begins to develop.

=R=

Thanks Ron. That's a good idea. I've hung it back in the curing chamber and will just go back to it when I want/need some. It should get several more months in there before it's gone.

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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Can anyone tell me with certainty if the pig/shoulder at whole foods is considerably better than regular pig? I mean in flavor and fat content.

when i cook pork at home, i normally cook an heirloom pig i get from a farmer, and the flavor is night and day. I'm wondering if the whole foods pork is that different from regular, and if it is worth getting for charcuterie.

Are whole foods pigs just regular pigs raised without hormones, but still confined in factories? If so, i can't immagine the flavor/fat content will be much different.

jason

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Can anyone tell me with certainty if the pig/shoulder at whole foods is considerably better than regular pig? I mean in flavor and fat content.

when i cook pork at home, i normally cook an heirloom pig i get from a farmer, and the flavor is night and day. I'm wondering if the whole foods pork is that different from regular, and if it is worth getting for charcuterie.

Are whole foods pigs just regular pigs raised without hormones, but still confined in factories? If so, i can't immagine the flavor/fat content will be much different.

jason

I can't imagine, with the prices Whole Foods charge, that they are special pigs. I could be wrong, but this new place I found charges prices that are way above what I've seen at Whole Foods.

Edited by Bombdog (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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Can anyone tell me with certainty if the pig/shoulder at whole foods is considerably better than regular pig? I mean in flavor and fat content.

when i cook pork at home, i normally cook an heirloom pig i get from a farmer, and the flavor is night and day. I'm wondering if the whole foods pork is that different from regular, and if it is worth getting for charcuterie.

Are whole foods pigs just regular pigs raised without hormones, but still confined in factories? If so, i can't immagine the flavor/fat content will be much different.

jason

I can't imagine, with the prices Whole Foods charge, that they are special pigs. I could be wreong, but this new place I found charges prices that are way above what I've seen at Whole Foods.

I'd have to agree -- especially when compared to Niman, for example.

=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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So I tried my second batch of sausages yesterday, and it all went well, up until the stuffing. There were a few problems, so I'm going to ask some really stupid questions to try and solve this.

1. I'm using a Grizzly 5lb. stuffer, and 32/35mm hog casings. I was using the mid-sized stuffer tube. Is this right? Also are there better casings to use?

2. After putting the casings on the tube, I tied off the one end, and started filling, it took a bit to get right, but occasionally air seemed to back up, and cause a balloning effect on the tube, which I think caused one of the ruptures. Is there a way to stop this? was I forcing the casing to stay on the tube too long as it was filling?

3. I got a few ruptures when twisting the sausage into links. Any tips for doing this. Also after the links are made I plan on poaching the garlic sausage, can I thne cut then into individual links, and have them hold?

So over all, it was a bit of a disaster, but as long as I learn form it, I'll be fine with it. So any tips on proper stuffing technique would be reallt great.

Oh one other thing, the instuctions on the stuffer say to sanitze the parts, would the didhwasher do this, or are there products you guys use for this?

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don't tie the end off before they are stuffed. Just leave a little excess open casing, and tie it off after you're done. Also if they are ruputuring while twisiting them, you've stuffing them too full.

I wash my stuffer with soap and water, and then put it through the dishwasher. I thikn it should be fine. I've seen people recommend soaking the parts BEFORE use in some clorinated water.

jason

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don't tie the end off before they are stuffed. Just leave a little excess open casing, and tie it off after you're done. Also if they are ruputuring while twisiting them, you've stuffing them too full.

Right. See what you did by tying the end off before stuffing is create a sealed "baloon" with air at the end, the more meat you stuff in the more that air pocket is getting pushed and pressure created. So like Jason said, leave a good 2 inches or so at the end without filling or tying so that the air is not trapped there, and only seal it when you are done.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I keep a toothpick handy when stuffing salami. Just a poke in those pesky air pockets eliminates them.

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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I've found that if I twist the links as I stuff, one turned toward me and the next twisted away from me, that I never have a rupture. It does slow down the process a bit until you get the hang of it but worth it in the end. Also soaking the casings overnight has helped as well.

My neighbour, the duck hunter, graced me with 8 wild ducks, so yesterday was sausage day. Again I used the base recipe from the book with the roasted garlic, but also added cherries and dates. It will go in the cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving and we wanted a bit of sweetness.

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I just started going through this thread (though I've had the book for a while now) and I have to say that the stuff you guys are producing is unbelievable. I've been mostly playing with the terrine side of the book, but I'm going to jump into the cured meat part this winter.

I notice that people are having a hard time keeping their temps down for cold smoking. I did a search and found a guy with an ingenous solution using a charcoal lighter and a garbage can, based on a technique Jacques Pepin used with an old refrigerator. The fridge idea was my moment of inspiration. With the availability of cheap fridges on Craigslist, do you think it's feasible to hook up a dryer tube from your smoker to one of those half size (or even full size) fridges and use THAT as your cold box? Do you think that the smoke residue would have a negative effect on the operation of the fridge? You could obviously keep your temperature way down. I also am toying with the idea of a large coleman cooler with a similar hose hookup, using ice packs to keep things cool. Any thoughts on these ideas?

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don't tie the end off before they are stuffed. Just leave a little excess open casing, and tie it off after you're done. Also if they are ruputuring while twisiting them, you've stuffing them too full.

jason

Do you mean both ends? I didn't tie off the last bit, just the bit at the start. Was this wrong? I thought that if I didn't tie it offthe sausage would pour out when I started filling. I did have the wherewithall to not tie off both ends ( although I almost did) figuring that would trap in the air.

I think you're right about over stuffing though. I think I was over zealous to not get too many air pockets, not realizing that twisting off the sausage into links would probably do that job for me.

Thanks everyone for your help, I know I'd be a lot more afraid to try this stuff if I didn't have you guys here for help.

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That makes sense, thanks jason.

Has any one made the garlic sausage before? After teh stuffing the book says to cook to 150, but in other recipes the book says to freeze or refrigerate until ready to cook. Does that mena these whould be cooked right away, and then kept? I don't think it's right to grill or roast all these sausage and then store them. Or would poaching be proper.

I did grill some up today though and served them with the staff meal, and they were mighty tasty. Also I jsut got the call that my fat back is in, so I think the next project will be the chicken and basil sausage. Damn ths suff is too fun to make, even when I'm making it a disaster, I still just want to make more.

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That makes sense, thanks jason.

Has any one made the garlic sausage before? After teh stuffing the book says to cook to 150, but in other recipes the book says to freeze or refrigerate until ready to cook. Does that mena these whould be cooked right away, and then kept? I don't think it's right to grill or roast all these sausage and then store them. Or would poaching be proper.

I did grill some up today though and served them with the staff meal, and they were mighty tasty. Also I jsut got the call that my fat back is in, so I think the next project will be the chicken and basil sausage. Damn ths suff is too fun to make, even when I'm making it a disaster, I still just want to make more.

When I made these, I smoked some of them (to please my husband) and froze the rest of them, uncooked, and we grilled them.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Michael, I have a question. Today I started some maple-cured bacon with half a pork belly, and having already stolen the rind from the other half to make daube, I needed to use half a skinless belly. I made Jim Drohman's pork belly confit, and as I was pouring a bottle of wine over the meat I got to thinking about the cooked wine thing again.

I'm pretty convinced that it's a good thing to cook wine before using it in marinade, but this recipe didn't call for that. Is it that the salt will get the wine into the meat, even though the acids might "cook" the surface? Or is it that the belly is at least half fat, which is not likely to be "cooked" by the wine? Or something else? The mouse of doubt is gnawing at me over this one!

If anyone besides Michael wants to weigh in on this one, of course, have at it!

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Well, after what seems like a long time, I FINALLY think I got the coppa right.

gallery_16509_1680_357974.jpg

Hot in the foreground, and sweet in the back. Both recipes from the book.

gallery_16509_1680_241951.jpg

After removing the collagen casings, sweet on the left, hot on the right.

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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Well, after what seems like a long time, I FINALLY think I got the coppa right.

gallery_16509_1680_357974.jpg

Hot in the foreground, and sweet in the back.  Both recipes from the book.

gallery_16509_1680_241951.jpg

After removing the collagen casings, sweet on the left, hot on the right.

Looks beautiful. How's the taste?

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Looks beautiful. How's the taste?

Great flavor, reminiscent of the lomo I did a few months ago. I'm quite satisfied with it.

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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Looks beautiful. How's the taste?

Great flavor, reminiscent of the lomo I did a few months ago. I'm quite satisfied with it.

Glad to hear it. I've not yet done the coppa. You've inspired me to give it a go. Did you follow the recipe from the book verbatim, or did you make any alterations?

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