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jmolinari

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 5)

538 posts in this topic

Mike you need a thermo-hygrometer. Available cheaply on Ebay or in cigar stores.

After that you need to decide if and how you'll control temperature and humidity.

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Thanks Jason and great blog!

-Mike


-Mike & Andrea

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Mike you need a thermo-hygrometer.  Available cheaply on Ebay or in cigar stores.

After that you need to decide if and how you'll control temperature and humidity.

Having a thermometer/hygrometer that records maximum and minimum (for both temperature and humidity) is well worth paying just a fraction more for.

Should still be cheap though.

Your call whether to pay more for a wireless one (so you can see readings without even visiting the basement). Beware though that having a humidity sensor remote from the display is actually much rarer than speed-reading of spec-sheets might suggest!


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

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I picked up a thermometer/hygrometer at a pet store in the section where they sell supplies for keeping reptiles. Its digital and also records max and min for both temp and humidity. it was less than $20. The brand name was fluker's or something like that.


Anyone who says I'm hard to shop for doesn't know where to buy beer.

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This is my first post on the eGullet forum.

I tried the Chef Milos’s Country Venison Sausage recipe p. 157-158 from the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.

I used fibrous casing instead of hog casings.

Here are the pictures. I don’t have any of them in the smoker.

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Below is the finished probduct.

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Some people said that it needed more spice and other’s thought it was just fine.

Over all I thought is was fine. I will do this recipe again.


Edited by cleglue (log)

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Here is my second post.

My wife's cousin's husband and I made Soppressata a few weeks back. We used the recipe from the book "Charcuterie The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing" by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn...page 186-188.

The hog middles truly were a pain in the rear. The middles had a lot of very thin spots which caused them to explode will stuffing. I also need to learn to tie the links better. I had a few that fell. I love the fibrous casing I use for venison sausage much better.

We made 25 pounds of soppressata.

Here are the pictures. The white bowl is fat back.

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Here is what it looked like about 2 1/2 weeks into the project.

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Here is the finished product. Click on any picture below and you will be able to see the pictures larger then click through the album.

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A New York friend of my wife thinks this was great. This is my first attempt at dry curing sausage.

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Nice job recording the process cleglue!

So, what did you think of the results? What would you compare the flavor to? Would you formulate the recipe the same next time, or make some changes?

I'm looking to try my first dry cured sausage soon, but I'm still trying to decide on a good base recipe.

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Very nice Cleglue.

I think a good base recipe is a simple cacciatorino. Just salt, pepper, a touch of garlic and a tiny bit of wine. It makes it easier to taste issues and problems and understand how the fermentation works.

I would go with a salame as follows:

meat + fat -100%

salt - 2.7-3%

Cure #2 - 0.25%

pepper - 0.25-0.5%

dextrose - 0.5%

starter - as needed

wine - a splash

garlic - not much

that's it. But that's just me.

I also learned this past weekend, that 1500g is the most one can mix in the bowl of the 5.5qt. KA Artisan mixer, and that making 15 lbs of salame is a LOT of work and cleanup:)

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Nice job recording the process cleglue!

So, what did you think of the results?  What would you compare the flavor to?  Would you formulate the recipe the same next time, or make some changes?

I'm looking to try my first dry cured sausage soon, but I'm still trying to decide on a good base recipe.

I wasn't sure how it was suppose to taste...it does seem to be and acquired taste. About 50 % of the people around here like it other's do not. I've only had one person that has actually had soppressata before and he and his entire family loved it. I think it tasted fine...I've only had a store bought shrink wrapped soppressata a few weeks before making this.

I think the recipe is fine.

This was my first attempt at dry curing anything.

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jmolinari,

Thanks for the recipe. I'll probably try it sometime with about 5 pounds of meat. The 25 pounds I made was also a lot of work.

I like you blog site.

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Thanks cleglue. Yes...25lbs is a huge amount of salame, and it basically takes all day to make it and clean up. I think the amount i made last time, 15lbs, is the most i'd ever want to make in 1 sitting..

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A little less than a month or two, two pig legs went into tubs with a goodly amount of dry cure. One was more or less the molasses and rum mixture straight from the book; its partner was a variant with kirsch instead of rum, and a few pounds of black cherries. Both had been boned out all the way up [down] the leg.

This past weekend they were rinsed and soaked then dried before being hooked into the 'Heath Robinson' cold smoker:

gallery_42308_5747_29188.jpg

That's two-thirds of the Weber 'Bullet' smoker acting as the firebox, and a cold box made from scrap plywood, old broom handles, aluminium ducting, and of course, Duct tape. There was plenty of capacity left under the new plywood lid of the hot smoker, once things were running we did a couple of slabs of organic bacon, and a couple of big racks of ribs.

Up in the cold box there was not much to see:

gallery_42308_5747_2211.jpg

You would be hard put to confirm that there were two 20lb hams-in-the-making hanging in there, eh? Cold box temperatures were generally about 6o Fahrenheit, with the hot smoker running around 180 to 200 depending on how carefully I tweaked. Ambient was around 5 Fahrenheit for most of the time. The lid on the firebox end of the duct was 3/4" ply and has a couple of layers of heavy aluminium foil stapled to the underside to try to reflect some of the heat back. The same weights used to press the hams were placed on top to keep things flat and relatively leak-free once the temperature got up.

One thing that did take me by surprise was the volume of moisture that built up in the bottom of the cold box, and thus naturally in the duct.

The legs will be taken out and hung overnight in the garage to keep them from neighbourhood dogs, coyotes and 'coons before going in for a few more hours in the smoke tomorrow.

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This past weekend they were rinsed and soaked then dried before being hooked into the 'Heath Robinson' cold smoker:

gallery_42308_5747_29188.jpg

Nice setup Derek!

I was wondering about the underside of your new 'lid' for the WSM. How did it hold up? Any affect to the wood?

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I was wondering about the underside of your new 'lid' for the WSM. How did it hold up? Any affect to the wood?

Other than being tarry from the smoke, there's no visible problem with the ply lid on the firebox - The foil seems to have worked well. I weighted the lid down to discourage warping, and that was probably worth doing, since the flatness is all that's maintaining any kind of 'seal'. If I was more fastidious then a lipped lid might be the way to go, but the simple ply sheet allowed a 'vent control' [i.e. I slid it slightly off to one side to open airflow when needed :wink: ]

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... How did (the underside of your new 'lid' for the WSM) hold up?...

Like this:

gallery_42308_5747_602.jpg

Surprisingly well, perhaps, but plywood is tough stuff :smile: I've poured molten lead into plywood boxes, and had only the face plies char.

Here's what the hams looked like after about 16 hours in the smoke:

gallery_42308_5747_4003.jpg

You can see the effect of the molasses based cure :laugh: Now it's all about time and patience. I still find the amount of Number Two cure specified for this recipe to be a bit startling.

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A little less than a month or two, two pig legs went into tubs with a goodly amount of dry cure. One was more or less the molasses and rum mixture straight from the book; its partner was a variant with kirsch instead of rum, and a few pounds of black cherries. Both had been boned out all the way up [down] the leg.

This past weekend they were rinsed and soaked then dried before being hooked into the 'Heath Robinson' cold smoker:

gallery_42308_5747_29188.jpg

That's a great setup. I am going to build something similar with my bullet smoker, except I'm going to grab an old refrigerator off craigslist and modify that for my smokebox. I also want to look into modifying the bullet to have an electric element so I don't have to mess around with the charcoal chimney anymore.

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I am going to build something similar with my bullet smoker, except I'm going to grab an old refrigerator off craigslist and modify that for my smokebox.

One reason I went the 'plywood box' route was the expectation of encountering difficulty in getting the low temperature smoke to carry enough draft to go 'downhill' from the firebox and then back up again. By elevating the lightweight box (not so readily done with the spare fridge currently sitting in the workshop) it was easy enough to keep things flowing the right way...

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One reason I went the 'plywood box' route was the expectation of encountering difficulty in getting the low temperature smoke to carry enough draft to go 'downhill' from the firebox and then back up again. By elevating the lightweight box (not so readily done with the spare fridge currently sitting in the workshop) it was easy enough to keep things flowing the right way...

When I set up the Ghetto Smoker with the hose fully extended it goes up then down then up again into the smoke box, and I have not had any trouble getting plenty of smoke through (an added benefit of this arrangement is that most of the moisture seems to condense out before getting to the smoke box, keeping it quite dry in there.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Very nice job on the ham. I like the smoker idea. Are the hams finished or do they need more time to cure?

I looked at the recipe last night...I believe it said seven weeks.


Edited by cleglue (log)

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Very nice job on the ham.
Thanks! :smile:
Are the hams finished or do they need more time to cure? I looked at the recipe last night...I believe it said seven weeks.

They'll hang for at least that long. If or when the weather gets too warm then they'll be moved into an old refrigerator with an external temperature controller and a small fan for air circulation. I'm not sure whether or not to lard over the exposed flesh and try for a longer, slower drying time.

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Hello, I'm new here and very pleased to have found this forum. I'm Dutch so please excuse my spelling!

Yesterday I started my first home made bacon! Tried my hand at sausages and becoming more ambitious. I turned out to be more challenging than I thought. Got a lovely bit of belly, farm reared, but without skin. Decided to use it anyway. Than the salt. Pink salt over here has a nitrite of 0.6%

I know the book says 6%. But I figured tot 450 gr of kosher mixed with 50 gr. of pink would end up in 0.6 % nitrate so I used my pink salt pure. Mixed with sugar I coated my belly (6.5 pounds) with 70 gr. of the suger/salt mix and put it in the fridge. I would have liked to use the maple syrup for the canadian bacon, it sounds delicious. But that cure has a much higher nitrite % and I can't copy that.

Now I need to figure out what to do next. I have till next Saturday for that. Don't own a smoker so I'll have to improvise. Perhaps half in the oven, no smoking alas, and half in an improvised smoker. I was thinking to use a dustbin, put an electric plate in it with the chips on top. Hang the bacon in it and close the lit.

After reading more I also discovered I could possibly use the bbq. I have a small gas bbq and a very old Webber. Now I have to find out how to control the temperature.

Any tips are more than welcome!

Next project will be the duckham. See if I can find a place that is humid and cold enough. Figured duck would be the best to start with. Wouldn't want to spoil an expensive bit of pork on a first try!


Edited by kaatje (log)

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Kaatje, let me be the first to welcome you to eGullet!

If you're having trouble getting 6% nitrite, I imagine it'll be tough to do some of the recipes in the book. Any chance a local charcutier could get you some pink salt with a higher concentration of nitrite?

In the meantime, I heartily recommend trying some of the fresh sausages in the book. The meat grinder can be a bit of an investment, but well worth it! And they don't need any nitrite.

As for the duck ham, I've wanted to try it for a while, but the temperature/humidity balance in my basement isn't right and I haven't had time to set up a dedicated curing chamber. Plus I wouldn't want to spoil an expensive piece of duck when pork is so much cheaper here!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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