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


Bombdog
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[American} bacon's a fully cooked product, so it's hot smoked.  ... if it were smoked at danger zone temps, then there would be botulism concerns.

re temps:

botulism spores are very temp resistant and hard to kill.

the bacteria that arise from the spores are less resistant, easier to kill.

the toxin the bacteria produce, which is what is so dangerous to us, is rendered inert at even lower temps.

what these temperatures are, I don't know exactly.  any scientists out there with definitive info on thermal death points?

The spores will survive up to something like 121C (250F), which is why commercial canning heats foods to that level. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulism#Prevention

The FDA says the toxin is destroyed by *10* minutes at 80C (176F) - which invites careful comparison with hot smoking temperatures. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap2.html

(I think the different strain Types have different temperature stabilities and this treatment deals with all of them.)

The temperature stability of spores, bacteria and toxin depends upon (ie varies with) pH, salinity, fat content, water activity...

http://www.foodprotect.org/doc/III-16b%20Cbotfactsheet.pdf (lots of research paper refs)

C Botulinum bacteria multiply most rapidly at *cold* smoking temperatures, ie around 30C (86F) ...

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Clostridium botulinum is not really a problem in raw foods. It becomes an issue in foods that are improperly processed (home canning being the major thing), cooled too slowly, or reheated/re-cooked far too slowly as do the other toxigenic bacteria, Clostridium perfringens, Staphyloccus aureus and Bacillus cereus.

C. bot, C. perf, and B. cereus are capable of forming spores that are heat resistant. When consumed in spore form these pathogens are not a safety problem as healthy adults can consume as many as 1000 per gram and suffer no ill effects. They are indeed deactivated by pressure canning temps (250F for 2.4 minutes) but when food is heated to temps that kill vegetative pathogens (pasteurization) spores survive and become activated; they can then outgrow to form vegetative cells when the food cools. Outgrowth is quick between 70F and 120F which is why cooling is an important area to be on top of. The USDA says that if the food is cooled from 120F to 55F in 6 hours or less, with further continuous cooling to < 40F, for a total of not more than 14 hours, the food will be safe.

C. perf starts outgrowth at 125F, C. bot and B. cereus at 122F. C. perf also has the fastest growth during cooling so cooling control is based on C. perf. It stops outgrowth at 59F; C. bot types A and B (vegs and meat) stop multiplying at 50F, B. cereus stops at 39.2F and C. bot type E (fish bot) stops at 38F. Thus, to be absolutely safe, food should be cooled to and/or stored below 38F and only spoilage bacteria that have survived cooking and/or grow at low temps will shorten shelf life, but the food will be safe.

Cooked/heated food as a greater potential for hazards than raw food because spoilage bacteria are reduced to low levels when food is cooked/heated and so are not present in enough numbers to compete with pathogenic bacteria if cross-contamination or improper cooling occurs. It is best not to touch cooling foods with bare skin (S. aureus and other Staphs) until they are cold, unless they are going to be consumed right away. Of course, proper handwashing protocols should be utilized regardless.

Curing with a salt-based (nitrite-free) cure with the proper amount of salt, and curing at cool temps should be enough to inhibit C. bot (has been for centuries). The salt plus smoking and drying (low water activity) inhibit Staph. Salt is the main inhibitor in dry-cured meats. Nitrite inhibits fat rancidity but does give one more room to maneuver and an extra measure of safety on the C. bot front and, of course, affects flavor and color. I use it for bacon and similar items. I do not use it in brines for hot-smoked fowl that are cooked to proper internal temps because I don't care for its affect on flavor in these cases and it is not needed for safety.

Kevin

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Thanks for the in-depth food safety lessons, dougal and klkruger!

Dougal - that nitrite-free bacon doesn't really taste like "bacon" to me, since it's lacking the cured flavor. It can be good, but i think it's more like a good smoked fatty pork in flavor.

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thanks so much for the food saftey info...really helpful. we're going to use pink salt on this first try.

another question (as we're getting ready to cure our pork belly for bacon): should I trim the skin off my belly before curing to bacon or after?

thanks for any help..

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thanks so much for the food saftey info...really helpful.  we're going to use pink salt on this first try.

another question (as we're getting ready to cure our pork belly for bacon):  should I trim the skin off my belly before curing to bacon or after?

thanks for any help..

If you are going to smoke it - leave it on. If you are going for a Pancetta style drying after curing, then cut it off.

It is tough to cut off, and typically when hot smoking it helps diffuse a too strong smoke flavor.

It is terriffic for Cassolet and other bean dished for imparting a nice smokey flavor -- so DO NOT Throw it away - Just freeze it for later use.

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I'm putting together a Butcher Packer order, and I'm a little confused by the Bactoferm varieties.  Which of the products has everyone been using, and for what specific applications?

Thanks in advance.

I use F-RM-52, as called for in recipes in the book, dry curing salami.

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 like butcher packer has a few different cultures now. there is the T-SPX or something like that, that sounds good. It is meant for mild tasting stuff. I might try that next times, see if i get more porky flavor instead of so much acidified flavor

I got some of it last time I ordered. I haven't yet tried it, but had the same thoughts.

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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Dave, since you'll get to it before i do for sure, please let us know how it turns out.

Of course! Although I'm pretty full of stuff right now.

I just boned out two shoulders today and removed the coppa's. I'll get them in the cure tomorrow. I got the 100mm collagen casings with the last order.

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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thanks so much for the food saftey info...really helpful.  we're going to use pink salt on this first try.

another question (as we're getting ready to cure our pork belly for bacon):  should I trim the skin off my belly before curing to bacon or after?

thanks for any help..

If you are going to smoke it - leave it on. If you are going for a Pancetta style drying after curing, then cut it off.

It is tough to cut off, and typically when hot smoking it helps diffuse a too strong smoke flavor.

It is terriffic for Cassolet and other bean dished for imparting a nice smokey flavor -- so DO NOT Throw it away - Just freeze it for later use.

also add it to stocks, has an extraordinary amounth of gelatin. it was a customary ingredient in the troisgros brothers veal stock, for instance.

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thanks so much for the food saftey info...really helpful.  we're going to use pink salt on this first try.

another question (as we're getting ready to cure our pork belly for bacon):  should I trim the skin off my belly before curing to bacon or after?

thanks for any help..

If you are going to smoke it - leave it on. If you are going for a Pancetta style drying after curing, then cut it off.

It is tough to cut off, and typically when hot smoking it helps diffuse a too strong smoke flavor.

It is terriffic for Cassolet and other bean dished for imparting a nice smokey flavor -- so DO NOT Throw it away - Just freeze it for later use.

also add it to stocks, has an extraordinary amounth of gelatin. it was a customary ingredient in the troisgros brothers veal stock, for instance.

Huh - that is interesting Michael. I have used Ham Hocks - for my VEal Stock/Demi-Glace.

Do you think smoked or raw? I assume smoked.

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I've used both Mark. Michael is sooooo right! It's like having a jar of stock jello in the refrigerator when you go to use some.

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 used both Mark.  Michael is sooooo right!  It's like having a jar of stock jello in the refrigerator when you go to use some.

You mean smoked and not smoked?

The other thing I have used that works nicely a the end of a procuitto - I buy them from a local italian market. I like not only the gelatin, but that slightly sweet flavor.

Hey Dave -- I jut put up some Soppreseta - like yours in beef middles(camera is at my office- so not photos yet) - how long do you think the "hang-time" will be?

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I've used both Mark.  Michael is sooooo right!  It's like having a jar of stock jello in the refrigerator when you go to use some.

You mean smoked and not smoked?

The other thing I have used that works nicely a the end of a procuitto - I buy them from a local italian market. I like not only the gelatin, but that slightly sweet flavor.

Hey Dave -- I jut put up some Soppreseta - like yours in beef middles(camera is at my office- so not photos yet) - how long do you think the "hang-time" will be?

Yes, both smoked and non smoked. The fat back I get, normally comes with the skin on. I've used that and the skin from smoked bacon.

I think I normally have about 3 wks (+ or -) hang time on the sopressata. I'm sure the conditions in the curing chamber affect that time frame, so your mileage may vary.

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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Last week, I picked up some frozen duck breasts to try my hand at the Duck Prosciutto again (first batch last year ended Not Well), and to try out my new aging fridge.

Since I had four breasts in the package, I decided to try an experiment with two of them. I put them in the basic cure, added maple syrup, and treated them like I would pork belly. Today, I took the resulting breasts, let them dry a bit in the fridge, and then hot smoked them over applewood (using the Lil Smokey for the smoking).

The result is a smokey, meaty bacon flavor, with a nice chewiness to it. This batch is slightly over salted (in the future, I'd do 5-6 days in the cure instead of 7, since the meat is so much thinner), but if you put it up against something else (like say, a tomato) it works perfectly.

This would make a nice alternative for people who either can't get pork belly or want a bacon that isn't pork based, and a nice occasional change of pace for the rest of us.

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Alright guys I'm finally trying my hand at the duck prosciutto as well. I just bought two today.

One of them i'm going to slather up with some hoisin sauce before throwing in the cure and the other I think I'm going to coat with some ground ginger garlic and clove and throw in the cure .... What do you guys think about the flavor combos for those?

Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

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Alright guys I'm finally trying my hand at the duck prosciutto as well. I just bought two today.

One of them i'm going to slather up with some hoisin sauce before throwing in the cure and the other I think I'm going to coat with some ground ginger garlic and clove and throw in the cure .... What do you guys think about the flavor combos for those?

I think it sounds adventurous and can't wait to hear how they turn out!

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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