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jmolinari

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

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JAiro, welcome.

1) I think they'll be fine, just salt them heavily, they may by a bit soupy/watery, but that should be ok, as long as they as basically covered in salt

2) The KS stuff is USELESS. there is no trick to using it, other than NOT using it. It is terrible, and isn't worth the plastic it is made from. Sorry:) A few people in this thread have found the same thing

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OK fatback sources anyone??  Seriously jonesing for lardo.... None since my last trip to Italy in October.

Thx

Apologies for being rather late to the party here, but I might be able to help. I'm in northern VA and found an Amish farmer in southern MD who slaughters hogs during the "cold" months (November through March). I can get all the bellies, hocks, and fatback I can pay for from them by ordering a month in advance. I usually buy fatback 5 lbs at a time, cut it down and freeze in 1 lb or so batches. Don't know where you are, 6ppc, but you might try going out into the country and locating a hog farm if such exists in your area. Fatback (or back fat, if you're in the north) should be available for a buck a pound or less.

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I could use a little help with salmon curing. So far I've tried twice--the first was the fennel cured salmon recipe, and for the second, I followed the smoked salmon recipe (curing only). Both times I found the spicing way too aggressive, but that's a matter of taste and easily addresseable. The larger problem for me was around the cure itself. I followed the directions exactly, and after 48 hours in the fennel cure, my salmon had almost turned into jerky--it was hard, dry, and almost candy-like in its sweetness. I had to throw it out.

The second time I cut down the cure to about 30 hours. This time I had nice cured flesh on the inside but a hard dried out layer (not a pellicle; it was completely dry) on the outside. After cutting off the dried out layer, the salmon was good, if a little salty and overspiced.

My question is around curing times and thickness of the filets you are all using. How thick is the salmon you cure, and how long are you leaving it in the salt/brine? Has anyone had the same experience that I have? Can you offer any advice?

Thanks so much, and I can't wait until I can pick up my own 'curing chamber' and start some work on the meat side!!

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My question is around curing times and thickness of the filets you are all using.  How thick is the salmon you cure, and how long are you leaving it in the salt/brine?  Has anyone had the same experience that I have?  Can you offer any advice?

It really is a matter of trial and error. For me, the one constant is the weight I use on top of the fish. I have a brick and a large Nambe vase (totalling about 16 pounds), which I always use to press the fish while it cures. But beyond that, everything changes, pretty much every time out.

I normally start with a fileted, 4-5 pound side of wild king salmon. When I do, I usually quadruple the cure recipe in the book (plus my own personal seasoning tweaks) and follow the instructions. However, I have learned, via my various attempts, that a 4-5 pound piece of fish needs to cure longer than the time given in the recipe in the book. I finally determined that amount of time to be somewhere between 60 and 72 hours, depending on the weight of the fish. When I cured a smaller piece of fish and did not make any adjustments, I ended up with some tasty but very salty and hard fish jerky. And even in this well-tested configuration, the thin parts of the finished fish are definitely saltier than the thick areas but they are totally delicious and soft. I'm sorry but I've never measured the thickness. I'm guessing that it's about 2" at its thickest point but that's just a guess.

I think that the instructions in the book are just about right when they call for a 1.5-pound piece of fish and a 36-hour cure. If that's what you attempted and you were unhappy with the results, you may want to try adjusting the size of the fish, the amount of weight on the fish or the cure time. But I don't think there's any set formula for how exactly to adjust. You just have to do it a few times to get a feel for it. The more repetitions you get under your belt, the better you'll be able to adjust. And be sure to take good notes, too. After just a few attempts you'll have enough experience to adjust properly. Of course, it's a lot like bread-baking and you'll still be noticing some new qualities in your finished product even after dozens of trials. But there probably won't be huge variations in your results, either. I've probably made about 20 batches of cold-smoked salmon, through a variety of assorted conditions, and the results are fairly predictable now. There's always a curveball in there somewhere, but before too long you'll be able to anticipate it and handle it with ease.

Just keep curing . . . :smile:

=R=

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JAiro, welcome.

1) I think they'll be fine, just salt them heavily, they may by a bit soupy/watery, but that should be ok, as long as they as basically covered in salt

2) The KS stuff is USELESS. there is no trick to using it, other than NOT using it. It is terrible, and isn't worth the plastic it is made from. Sorry:) A few people in this thread have found the same thing

Thanks for the info, jmolinari

I am going to try a batch of the emulsified sausage next, and the book strongly recomends NOT to use the KA stuffer, but instead to use a pastry bag. The books mentions to pipe directly from the pastry bag into the poaching liquid, but I was wondering if anybody had any expirience with piping from a pastry bag into casings.

The other options could be for some of you to email my wife and tell her that I REALLY need to buy another stuffer. :biggrin:

Thanks

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Jairo, when i make mortadella i scoop the emulsified sausage into 4" casings, then "rap" it on the counter to compact it. Works perfectly.

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That's a beautiful ham, Derek!

Jmolinari, if you perfect a larger plate for the KA, please make several - I know I'd gladly buy one from you, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

Today I'm making Toulouse sausage for cassoulet, and I think I'll also make a Thai sausage that's notable for hanging, uncured, at room temp for two days to get "sour." It's a bit scary, but supposed to be delicious.

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Just joined eGullet (mostly because of this fabulous and informative Charcuterie forum--one of my fave cookbooks), and I have a question about rendered duck fat. The cookbook has some seemingly conflicting info (at least for me). On p. 258 it says you can keep confited duck legs for 6 months in the fridge, and then re-use the fat, but on p. 257 it says keep the duck fat in the freezer up to 6 months. So what I'm wondering is--how long can one keep non-confited rendered duck fat in the fridge? I rendered some a couple months ago, and never transferred it to the freezer (thinking of the 6 months in fridge as a confit info), but now I'm wondering if it's okay. It looks okay and smells fine. Our fridge is kept at an even 35 degrees fahrenheit.

Thanks much!

Anna

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Just joined eGullet (mostly because of this fabulous and informative Charcuterie forum--one of my fave cookbooks), and I have a question about rendered duck fat. The cookbook has some seemingly conflicting info (at least for me). On p. 258 it says you can keep confited duck legs for 6 months in the fridge, and then re-use the fat, but on p. 257 it says keep the duck fat in the freezer up to 6 months. So what I'm wondering is--how long can one keep non-confited rendered duck fat in the fridge? I rendered some a couple months ago, and never transferred it to the freezer (thinking of the 6 months in fridge as a confit info), but now I'm wondering if it's okay. It looks okay and smells fine. Our fridge is kept at an even 35 degrees fahrenheit.

Thanks much!

Anna

Kept cool enough to not go rancid the fat should keep a long time IMHO. If it smells OK then you should be good to go.

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My question is around curing times and thickness of the filets you are all using.  How thick is the salmon you cure, and how long are you leaving it in the salt/brine?  Has anyone had the same experience that I have?  Can you offer any advice?

It really is a matter of trial and error. For me, the one constant is the weight I use on top of the fish. I have a brick and a large Nambe vase (totalling about 16 pounds), which I always use to press the fish while it cures. But beyond that, everything changes, pretty much every time out.

I normally start with a fileted, 4-5 pound side of wild king salmon. When I do, I usually quadruple the cure recipe in the book (plus my own personal seasoning tweaks) and follow the instructions. However, I have learned, via my various attempts, that a 4-5 pound piece of fish needs to cure longer than the time given in the recipe in the book. I finally determined that amount of time to be somewhere between 60 and 72 hours, depending on the weight of the fish. When I cured a smaller piece of fish and did not make any adjustments, I ended up with some tasty but very salty and hard fish jerky. And even in this well-tested configuration, the thin parts of the finished fish are definitely saltier than the thick areas but they are totally delicious and soft. I'm sorry but I've never measured the thickness. I'm guessing that it's about 2" at its thickest point but that's just a guess.

I think that the instructions in the book are just about right when they call for a 1.5-pound piece of fish and a 36-hour cure. If that's what you attempted and you were unhappy with the results, you may want to try adjusting the size of the fish, the amount of weight on the fish or the cure time. But I don't think there's any set formula for how exactly to adjust. You just have to do it a few times to get a feel for it. The more repetitions you get under your belt, the better you'll be able to adjust. And be sure to take good notes, too. After just a few attempts you'll have enough experience to adjust properly. Of course, it's a lot like bread-baking and you'll still be noticing some new qualities in your finished product even after dozens of trials. But there probably won't be huge variations in your results, either. I've probably made about 20 batches of cold-smoked salmon, through a variety of assorted conditions, and the results are fairly predictable now. There's always a curveball in there somewhere, but before too long you'll be able to anticipate it and handle it with ease.

Just keep curing . . . :smile:

=R=

Thanks Ronnie! I guess it is just a matter of experience--the good news is the second try was much better than the first, and I'm going to try the third round soon.

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I just wanted to note the chorizo recipe in the book was very good ..I did add more chile than it says ..but I can not stop myself ...and used toasted whole cumin seeds instead of the ground ...

I would post a pic but can not figure the image gullet out just yet...

am making a green chile cheese dip made with lots of the chorizo to take to work tonight ....

I also have some duck breast hanging to dry and bacon curing ..

what a great book this is...so easy to follow ...so is this thread...wow such terrific info ...

thanks!

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Hi All!

Been curing some chorizo for almost 2 weeks, and would love some help determining if I have "good mold" or "bad mold:"

This is my first attempt at dry-curing, and the sausages were washed with brine (as recommended in Charcuterie) and then went into a sterilized cabinet. For insurance, I also hung a sausage with "good mold" in the cabinet.

They've been held around 60F and 70% humidity for almost 2 weeks now. At first the mold was very white and a touch fuzzy, but now it is very white and very chalky/dusty. Still, I don't feel like spending all night on the toilet!

Below are the pics. Opinions? Thanks from a newbie charcutier!

Jeff

Chorizo album

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Seems like good mold to me!

Thanks, J...

Is it typical for "good" mold to come in a little fuzzy then go chalky?

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That's a beautiful ham, Derek! 

Jmolinari, if you perfect a larger plate for the KA, please make several - I know I'd gladly buy one from you, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

Today I'm making Toulouse sausage for cassoulet, and I think I'll also make a Thai sausage that's notable for hanging, uncured, at room temp for two days to get "sour."  It's a bit scary, but supposed to be delicious.

Hi Abra,

You should give this one a try as well if you are looking for asian flavours, however this one doesn't seem to sour at all! I made some recently and the dried version was produced without starter cultures or cures other than the salt and spices in the recipe.

Urutan Bali

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Hi, this is my first post,

has anyone tried Salted Cod, sounds interesting (if all goes well, should be dining on it shortly), but can you 'Salt' any other (white) Fish to the same degree, that is dehydrated or rock hard; I mean, why do we only Salt Cod, what about other fish that's easier to obtain or more common (here in Ireland)?

Jon.

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jeff, my salami usually don't develop mold, but i think the fuzzy to chalky is expected.

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Hi, this is my first post,

has anyone tried Salted Cod, sounds interesting (if all goes well, should be dining on it shortly), but can you 'Salt' any other (white) Fish to the same degree, that is dehydrated or rock hard; I mean, why do we only Salt Cod, what about other fish that's easier to obtain or more common (here in Ireland)?

Jon.

I'm mostly guessing, but I think the pre-eminence of Salt Cod is mostly historical (i.e: it used to be hugely abundant, to the point of becoming a commodity). I know that other white fish are salted as well , and many others are variously preserved (herring, mackerel, lingcod etc..).

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We made some spicy italian sausage using chicken yesterday. Othe modifications included adding a little ground habanero, using 1/2 1/2 sharp paprika instad of all sweet. Pretty darn tasty and the new stuffer works like a charm.

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jeff, my salami usually don't develop mold, but i think the fuzzy to chalky is expected.

Jomlinari...

How is it that you are not getting any mold? Are you brining the outside to prevent it? If so, why?

Thanks!

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Jeff, i don't know, i wish i did get mold! It may be because i use collagen casings. I haven't yet figured out why i don't!

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Tristar, that link's not working for me. Can you post it again? The sausages sound really interesting!

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Tristar, that link's not working for me.  Can you post it again?  The sausages sound really interesting!

Urutan Bali (Balinese Style Beef Sausage)

Whilst the Hindus of Bali may be shocked that the Wild Boar of the original has been replaced with Beef, their sacred animal, I am sure that they will understand.

A deliciously spicy sausage, not for the faint hearted! Can be fried, grilled or smoked as a fresh sausage, but can also be fermented and dried, later fried for use as a flavouring agent in fried rice etc. In its dried condition it will keep for up to two months. The fermenting and drying can be done in ambient conditions of high heat and humidity (i.e. tropical conditions if sunshine is available.)

Ingredients:

1 kg Beef Brisket

20 grams of Small Red Shallots

15 grams of Garlic

0,5 grams of Coriander seeds

0,5 grams of Cumin seeds

7,5 grams of Fresh Lesser Galangal Root

15 grams of Bird's eye Chilli

15 grams of Salt

0,5 grams Terasi (dried fermented shrimp paste)

0,5 grams of Black Pepper

5 grams of Fresh Turmeric Root

5 grams of Fresh Ginger

5 grams of Fresh Galangal

3 mtrs Sheep Casing

Directions:

Wash and rinse thoroughly the Sheep Casings, place to one side.

Grind all spices together to form a paste together with the salt.

Coarsely grind or chop the Brisket, add the spice paste and knead the forcemeat until it become very sticky.

Stuff the casings, using a funnel, cake decorating syringe, or a sausage stuffer, avoid any air pockets in the sausages, if any form prick them with a sharp implement to remove the air.

Tie off the individual sausages with butchers twine to whatever size you prefer.

For cooking fresh, leave the sausages in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.

For drying, hang the sausages indoors for 24 hours to ferment, then if in the tropics, hang the sausages to dry daily in the sun, bringing in at night to avoid condensation and moisture, depending on conditions, they may take up to two weeks to dry thoroughly (till hard). If in a cooler, less humid environment, hand in a cool dry place, otherwise hang in a modified refrigerator until they are hard.

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Here are some pics from a project I have been working on. I made the lendenspeck from Len Poli's website. Its basically a pork belly wrapped around a loin. Both are cured separately and then tied and smoked.

gallery_39076_4071_15993.jpg

Here's another picture.

gallery_39076_4071_8420.jpg

The recipe says to dry cure it for 30-40 days before eating. No way! I am eating this now! (and I will say that the photo Len had on his site did not look dry cured). The flavor was great, lightly smoky with a nice hint of juniper. It curls a lot when you fry it.

Its great because Sunday morning when we had some my wife ate the loin part and I ate the rest. Kind of a Jack Spratt sorta thing (only in reverse I guess)

As I posted upthread I am also in process with some dry cured sausages that are smoked with juniper branches. I tasted one and I am think that the taste will be too strong, but I will report soon.

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