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jmolinari

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

538 posts in this topic

Hi everyone.  This cookbook has fascinated me since I discovered it a few months ago, so I suppose it is only fitting that this is my first post.

We just bought half a pig, and I can't wait until we bring it home so I can start experimenting.  I know most of the recipes in the book call for shoulder.  Is there any reason not to use the other cuts, like the ham, to grind for sausage as well?  I asked them to save all the fat for me, and since it was a sow I was told it is pretty fatty and a "good sausage pig".    Thanks!

Hi Valancy-

You technically can use any cut you want provided that you still mainatin at least a 30% fat ratio in there. You can do that by adding some fat back to leaner cuts like ham. Hope this helps.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Thanks. That was what I was figuring, but I just wanted to check. I have a feeling the majority of this pig will be eaten as sausage. :biggrin:

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A cautionary tale for those making pancetta:

gallery_19804_437_346406.jpg

I had to toss about half of the two rolls that hang happily up-topic, oblivious to the mold growing in their midriffs. I couldn't quite capture the greenish tint along the outer edge of the fat on these slices, but it was clear to the eye:

gallery_19804_437_729888.jpg

Kept the stuff that wasn't green and had some distance from the mold. Given the seductive smell, it was all I could do to keep myself from washing all that crap off and saving the whole thing.

These were very thick bellies, and I'm starting to think that thinner is better for rolling tight.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hey, I know the torment of smelling great pancetta and then hitting mold halfway through it. I was wondering if you used any powdered gelatin to help bind the meat together while it was curing? Has anyone had any luck with this technique for tighter, bound rolls.

Currently I don't use powdered gelatin or anything like Activa to form a tighter roll. There have been good results with securing the belly with string with multiple ties, wrapping in cheesecloth, then using multiple ties again on the exterior.

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A cautionary tale for those making pancetta:

gallery_19804_437_346406.jpg

I had to toss about half of the two rolls that hang happily up-topic, oblivious to the mold growing in their midriffs. I couldn't quite capture the greenish tint along the outer edge of the fat on these slices, but it was clear to the eye:

gallery_19804_437_729888.jpg

Kept the stuff that wasn't green and had some distance from the mold. Given the seductive smell, it was all I could do to keep myself from washing all that crap off and saving the whole thing.

These were very thick bellies, and I'm starting to think that thinner is better for rolling tight.

I don't roll panchetta at all. There's another name for it but it works well for me.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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I bought Chartuterie about a year and a half ago solely to help make fresh sausage. I've done it a few times with some success (the breakfast sausage and chorizo are great). Last winter we even butchered a deer and made brats (which many people were suprised that they were venison), but reading this board has made pick up Chartuterie again in a different light. I'm very interested in curing meats, but am not sure where to start. Everything you have made looks good. Does anyone have any suggestions of recipes to get started with? Pancetta looks pretty popular, but I'm not sure if I have a place to hang it. I would appreciate any help someone might have!

Thanks,

Scott

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I bought Chartuterie about a year and a half ago ... 

I'm very interested in curing meats, but am not sure where to start.  ...  Does anyone have any suggestions of recipes to get started with?  ...

Scott, something that greatly impressed me was the overall 'strategic' organisation of the book.

As such, the 'fresh sausage' section is a sort of side-step before returning to the overall progression with dried sausage.

The book starts with simple salting. And Gravadlax is a great starting point. (Even if it plainly isn't meat!)

Rather than treating the book as a mere "recipe book", I'd suggest that its well worthwhile to read the book (from the start), but skipping over the recipe detail - just see what's happening. See how the technique relates and pick up *why* things are being done, then *how* to do stuff, rather than starting with the detail of exactly *what* should be done for any specific recipe.

After you've been through a chapter, you'll have a better idea as to which recipes you feel like tackling. (And which ones need even more kit or infrastructure!)

Invest a few (less than 20?) dollars in a small digital scale with an accuracy and sensitivity of less than 1 gramme, source some curing ("pink") salt, and off you go! (Meanwhile, you'll have cured and eaten the Gravadlax... :cool: )


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

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Am being slowly driven mad by the stuffer attachment for the Kitchenaid. Look, I know it's not ideal, but we've got a small kitchen in a small NYC apartment and just don't have room for a single-purpose stuffer. The grinding attachment works great and the stuffing function worked acceptably for a while ... but lately I just can't get the meat through the machine and into the casings without it breaking and turning into a pink emulsified-looking goo. It never breaks when I'm grinding and I always work with very cold meat and put the auger into the freezer for a bit before I start stuffing. This weekend I was making sopresatta and eventually gave up on the stuffer and stuffed the casings by hand (they were beef middles so big enough to actually get my fingers in there.) Any advice? Anyone?

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Am being slowly driven mad by the stuffer attachment for the Kitchenaid. Look, I know it's not ideal, but we've got a small kitchen in a small NYC apartment and just don't have room for a single-purpose stuffer. The grinding attachment works great and the stuffing function worked acceptably for a while ... but lately I just can't get the meat through the machine and into the casings without it breaking and turning into a pink emulsified-looking goo. ... ...

You aren't trying to stuff through a mincing plate are you?

AFAIK the KA has a special (freeflow) support for the end of the spiral - as shown in the Amazon page... http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-SSA-Sausa.../dp/B00004SGFQ/

I've got a "5lb" piston stuffer and really really really wouldn't want to revert to using a mincer/grinder plus a tube...


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

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Am being slowly driven mad by the stuffer attachment for the Kitchenaid. Look, I know it's not ideal, but we've got a small kitchen in a small NYC apartment and just don't have room for a single-purpose stuffer. The grinding attachment works great and the stuffing function worked acceptably for a while ... but lately I just can't get the meat through the machine and into the casings without it breaking and turning into a pink emulsified-looking goo. ... ...

You aren't trying to stuff through a mincing plate are you?

AFAIK the KA has a special (freeflow) support for the end of the spiral - as shown in the Amazon page... http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-SSA-Sausa.../dp/B00004SGFQ/

I've got a "5lb" piston stuffer and really really really wouldn't want to revert to using a mincer/grinder plus a tube...

No, no, wouldn't dream of grinding and stuffing at the same time, and I'm using the little support brace thing ...

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I bought Chartuterie about a year and a half ago ... 

I'm very interested in curing meats, but am not sure where to start.  ...  Does anyone have any suggestions of recipes to get started with?  ...

Scott, something that greatly impressed me was the overall 'strategic' organisation of the book.

As such, the 'fresh sausage' section is a sort of side-step before returning to the overall progression with dried sausage.

The book starts with simple salting. And Gravadlax is a great starting point. (Even if it plainly isn't meat!)

Rather than treating the book as a mere "recipe book", I'd suggest that its well worthwhile to read the book (from the start), but skipping over the recipe detail - just see what's happening. See how the technique relates and pick up *why* things are being done, then *how* to do stuff, rather than starting with the detail of exactly *what* should be done for any specific recipe.

After you've been through a chapter, you'll have a better idea as to which recipes you feel like tackling. (And which ones need even more kit or infrastructure!)

Invest a few (less than 20?) dollars in a small digital scale with an accuracy and sensitivity of less than 1 gramme, source some curing ("pink") salt, and off you go! (Meanwhile, you'll have cured and eaten the Gravadlax... :cool: )

Thanks for the advice. I already have a scale so I just need to score some curing salt.

I attached a picture of some of our chorizo. The picture doesn't do it justice as it's actually much more red. Also, nevermind the crappy beer in the picture, but we were in the north woods of Wisconsin making this sausage and bad beer is madatory. You'll also notice that we were using a dedicated grinder with a stuffing attachment. We thought this might work better at stuffing that the KA, but I can attest that it is not any better. We all vowed that we would not do this again until we have a proper piston stuffer.

gallery_59779_5949_134347.jpg

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I bought Chartuterie about a year and a half ago ... 

I'm very interested in curing meats, but am not sure where to start.  ...  Does anyone have any suggestions of recipes to get started with?  ...

Scott, something that greatly impressed me was the overall 'strategic' organisation of the book.

As such, the 'fresh sausage' section is a sort of side-step before returning to the overall progression with dried sausage.

The book starts with simple salting. And Gravadlax is a great starting point. (Even if it plainly isn't meat!)

Rather than treating the book as a mere "recipe book", I'd suggest that its well worthwhile to read the book (from the start), but skipping over the recipe detail - just see what's happening. See how the technique relates and pick up *why* things are being done, then *how* to do stuff, rather than starting with the detail of exactly *what* should be done for any specific recipe.

After you've been through a chapter, you'll have a better idea as to which recipes you feel like tackling. (And which ones need even more kit or infrastructure!)

Invest a few (less than 20?) dollars in a small digital scale with an accuracy and sensitivity of less than 1 gramme, source some curing ("pink") salt, and off you go! (Meanwhile, you'll have cured and eaten the Gravadlax... :cool: )

Thanks for the advice. I already have a scale so I just need to score some curing salt.

I attached a picture of some of our chorizo. The picture doesn't do it justice as it's actually much more red. Also, nevermind the crappy beer in the picture, but we were in the north woods of Wisconsin making this sausage and bad beer is madatory. You'll also notice that we were using a dedicated grinder with a stuffing attachment. We thought this might work better at stuffing that the KA, but I can attest that it is not any better. We all vowed that we would not do this again until we have a proper piston stuffer.

gallery_59779_5949_134347.jpg

^^^ Crappy beer??? That looks like The Champagne, to me! Where'd you get it in the old school cans?

The chorizo looks tasty, too!

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Fast -

You are correct that is the champaign! Thanks for the compliment on the chorizo too. It tasted great. As far as the old school cans...during hunting season this year in Wisconsin they came out with Blaze Orange High Life cans and only sold them in 30 packs. They also came with a coupon to Cabela's too. The champaign is better in the glass bottle, but who can resist the old school can?

Scott

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I love the Charcuterie book. I've cured Salmon a few times, made bacon, hot and sweet Italian sausages, chicken sausage, and a delicious Bratwurst that my friends went totally crazy over (easy to impress perhaps?)

It seemed to me that it was time to make the jump to a dry-cured sausage. I've become friends with the folks at my local butcher shop and they have been very helpful with some things. When I decided to dry-cure they were willing to hang the sausage for me since New York City apartments aren't cooperative when it comes to temperature and humidity. My butcher shop also cures some of their own meats so it seemed logical to leave mine there.

Saucisson Sec seemed the best place to start. I wanted to use the minimum number of ingredients so that I could taste, see, and smell anything that might have gone wrong. Well, no such luck. The sausage felt firm but had just a touch of give. When I cut it open, it was a bit loose on the inside and a much lighter color.

Case Hardening? It seems that way based on Ruhlman's troubleshooting section but of course, I'm hoping that it just needs more time. I picked it up from the butcher at the 20 day mark and also used hog casings for a smaller sausage.

Here are a few pictures:

gallery_59331_6049_9900.jpg

gallery_59331_6049_280098.jpg

gallery_59331_6049_233970.jpg

As I said, it's been 20 days. More time? Or start over?

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What was your weight loss %?

It may be case hardening, but with pork casings it shouldn't be since it's a small casing. It also looks like there are pockets of air in the sausage. That's a problem.

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My scale actually JUST died on me so I'm not certain of the % loss.

Regarding the air, I thought that I go most of it out. I also used a sterilized needle and 'massaged' them a bit to try to make sure they were packed densely. I guess i need to be more assertive about that next time around.

Side note - love your site! Is it ok if I add it to the links on my blog, goutdevie.com?

What was your weight loss %?

It may be case hardening, but with pork casings it shouldn't be since it's a small casing. It also looks like there are pockets of air in the sausage. That's a problem.


Edited by goutdelavie (log)

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It seemed to me that it was time to make the jump to a dry-cured sausage  ...

Saucisson Sec seemed the best place to start. 

I know the book advocates starting with the Saucisson Sec but it was a similar disaster for me when I tried it as my first time out with dried sausage. I've had much better luck with tuscan salami, soppresata, and pepperone using the F-RM-52 product as well as a surface application of M-EK-4 when it goes in to hang to get the nice while mould happening.

I also find they need more drying time then is generally called for in the book. I'm not happy with the texture until it gets down to 50-55% of original weight.

I wouldn't give up on your batch quite yet though. Give it another week or so and see what happens.

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Hi,

This thread is pure gold!

I'm doing my first bresaola. It's been marinating for a while now. I have two places in mind to hang it. One is in my living room, in a big cardboard box. It's winter time in Australia, so it's not so warm. Then other option is my friend's basement where he uses as his wine cellar. But I'm worried it might be too humid.

Which do you think is a better choice?

Thanks

E

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It seemed to me that it was time to make the jump to a dry-cured sausage  ...

Saucisson Sec seemed the best place to start. 

I know the book advocates starting with the Saucisson Sec but it was a similar disaster for me when I tried it as my first time out with dried sausage. I've had much better luck with tuscan salami, soppresata, and pepperone using the F-RM-52 product as well as a surface application of M-EK-4 when it goes in to hang to get the nice while mould happening.

I also find they need more drying time then is generally called for in the book. I'm not happy with the texture until it gets down to 50-55% of original weight.

I wouldn't give up on your batch quite yet though. Give it another week or so and see what happens.

Our Saucisson Sec came out splendidly. Beginners luck no doubt. Must make more since we just ate the last of that batch; lasted close to a year nice white mold and tasty.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Hi,

This thread is pure gold!

I'm doing my first bresaola. It's been marinating for a while now. I have two places in mind to hang it. One is in my living room, in a big cardboard box. It's winter time in Australia, so it's not so warm. Then other option is my friend's basement where he uses as his wine cellar. But I'm worried it might be too humid.

Which do you think is a better choice?

Thanks

E

That depends on the humidity/temperature of each location.

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Hey everyone-

Just got Charcuterie, and I've got some duck prosciutto hanging right now, as well as some bacon curing in the fridge. I have a few questions:

1) I've got a rather small piece of belly for the bacon, and I'm wondering exactly how firm is firm when it comes to bacon being done curing? It has quite clearly firmed up significantly, and I don't think it's going to take the prescribed 7 days. Any reference points on this?

2) Does anyone have a good source for apple wood (or other fruit woods)? I can't find it at any Lowe's/ Home Depot, and I'm at a bit of a loss for where to go from there.

Thanks! I'll make sure to update with how everything turns out...

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1) I've got a rather small piece of belly for the bacon, and I'm wondering exactly how firm is firm when it comes to bacon being done curing?  It has quite clearly firmed up significantly, and I don't think it's going to take the prescribed 7 days.  Any reference points on this?

2) Does anyone have a good source for apple wood (or other fruit woods)?  I can't find it at any Lowe's/ Home Depot, and I'm at a bit of a loss for where to go from there.

Welcome to curing! Bacon and Duck Prosciutto are excellent places to start. As for the firmness of bacon, I think it is difficult to describe, especially since I don't know how large your piece of belly is. I find that it still feels basically like raw meat, so it doesn't get firm like a dry-cured sausage (or your prosciutto) will. A half belly will bend some when held by one end, but it's not floppy. I actually usually cure a little longer than seven days, with no ill effects. Frankly, your bacon will taste pretty good even if you don't hit that "sweet spot" so I'd be inclined to go 5-6 days, then try it out. If it's not done enough for your liking, next time give it a little longer. Can you tell us how large the piece is that you are trying do cure?

As for wood, I am usually able to buy it in the grilling section of my grocery store: have you looked near the charcoal to see if yours carries it? Otherwise, I'm sure there are a number of online sources (I'd be willing to bet you can get it through Amazon...).


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I want to say my belly piece is about 2-2.5 lbs. I'll have to check when I get home and see how "floppy" it is.

Thanks, Chris.

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Has anyone compared bacon made with the Charcuterie method and bacon made without Instacure (nitrates/nitrites)? Thoughts?

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Has anyone compared bacon made with the Charcuterie method and bacon made without Instacure (nitrates/nitrites)? Thoughts?

I personally haven't. But Alton Brown actually had an episode on that. It involved brining the bacon as well as smoking. The smoking actually acts as a preservative as well - giving the meat a longer shelf-life. I'm not sure how it would go otherwise. If you just salt it I'm sure you'll get some great cured belly for use as lardons. It will also be FANTASTIC if you confit it.


Edited by goutdelavie (log)

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