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jmolinari

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

538 posts in this topic

HFW's Pig-in-a-day course is now online, and excellent!

You need to pay (less if you buy the DVD) but well worth it.

http://courses.rivercottage.net/

Worth noting though that HFW is extremely heavy on the salt in his printed curing recipes.

Its as though he was salting for preserving in unrefrigerated storage.

ISTR that one of his brines actually called for more salt than water can hold in solution at 20C.

Just a warning that its something one should watch out for and cross-check.


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

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The Salt comment reminds me of a problem I have solved when making hot smoked salmon.

Most recipes call for brines of various strengths. The classic one is ,"till an egg floats".. and then brine for a specific period.The rest call for a "dry" brine (dry salt,sugar etc.), to coat the fish for a specific time. Due to thickness variances etc, these methods are less than reliable, at least for me.

I decided to change the method to the way we do bacon etc. I weighed the fish and then made a dry rub that included 2% of the weight of the fish in salt.then I added sugar equal to 45% of the salt weight. Mortar and pestled it to powder. Sprinkled the mixture over the flesh side of the fish and put it in a ziplock,refrigerated, for three days. Viola! exactly the correct salting. off to the smoker, and was finished. It allows a repeatable exact salt content.And you can adjust in small increments to your taste.

Bud

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I feel like I just finished a marathon -- 84 pages! Wow. Watching you guys learn to cure, smoke, and age is an education in itself.

So: my girlfriend got me Charcuterie as a graduation present, and I read it immediately. I'm not entirely sure how I've lived without it for so long!

I've made gravlax twice, using aquavit, dill, and white and black peppers. I overcured it the first time, when I was experimenting on a 300g tip of a side. The second time I cured about a thick, 1.2kg section of a side and it came out perfectly with about 55 hours of cure. Slicing thinly with a $10 Sabatier 8" carving knife, I suitably impressed my discerning and demanding Jewish family.

I also made a corned beef from a 2.75kg brisket, following the book's recipe strictly. I ended up curing it for 8 days rather than 5. I could have sworn the book said to cure for 7 days, and my schedule demanded that I wait an extra day to poach. It was delicious nonetheless: we had it hot on Friday night (with some potatoes in the broth, but the onions and carrots I put in got quite spicy) and cold on Saturday. The funny thing is that the center of the thickest part (~7cm) wasn't fully cured, with a centimeter or so of brown meat. Should I have injected the brine, or perhaps stabbed the meat strategically? I have pictures of this, which I can post if anyone is curious or thinks it might be something else (overcured?).

In any case, I have a few things planned for the near future. Chris's two pictures of duck ham have blown my mind, and it seems like the easiest way to introduce my rabbi grandfather to "ham". I have two ducks in the freezer, so I anticipate using two breasts for prosciutto and two for ham; the legs will all be confited, though the kosher butcher my grandmother uses can't get duck fat. Any ideas? Olive oil, schmaltz? I think it'd be a real waste to do ducks in chicken fat.

My father (who also keeps kosher -- oy!) is getting me the Northern Tool grinder and the Grizzly stuffer. Merguez, beef peperone, and some chicken sausages are definitely on the docket, but I'm at a bit of a loss in terms of fat. If pork is out, should I use suet? Lamb fat?

I've never been more excited to move, though: come September, I'll be on my own again, free to cook pork in my own kitchen. Home-made bacon, here I come.

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Michael, careful using lamb fat, that is the part of the lamb that gives it its "lamby" flavor, so using a lot of the fat you might end up with super strong lamb flavor.

I guess beef fat would be your best bet...but i'm not sure.

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The funny thing is that the center of the thickest part (~7cm) wasn't fully cured, with a centimeter or so of brown meat.  Should I have injected the brine, or perhaps stabbed the meat strategically?  I have pictures of this, which I can post if anyone is curious or thinks it might be something else (overcured?).

I've had this happen. It comes from the sodium nitrite in the pink salt not penetrating fully. Three possible solutions:

- Use a longer cure time (you did a longer cure than the recipe, but your brisket was also bigger than the recipe, so it probably needed the extra time), or

- Inject some brine at the start, or

- Just cut the thick part of the brisket in half when placing it in the brine so the cure can penetrate more easily.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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"My father (who also keeps kosher -- oy!) is getting me the Northern Tool grinder and the Grizzly stuffer. Merguez, beef peperone, and some chicken sausages are definitely on the docket, but I'm at a bit of a loss in terms of fat. If pork is out, should I use suet? Lamb fat?"

I've made a ton of chicken sausages without adding any pork fat. I just use boneless skinless thigh. One recipe for Thai chicken sausage uses coconut milk and I've used others that call for some olive oil. And some call for nothing aditional at all. When you get around to using your ducks, save the extra fat and it would add a nice flavor to chicken sausages.

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I feel like I just finished a marathon -- 84 pages!  Wow.  Watching you guys learn to cure, smoke, and age is an education in itself.

In any case, I have a few things planned for the near future.  Chris's two pictures of duck ham have blown my mind, and it seems like the easiest way to introduce my rabbi grandfather to "ham".  I have two ducks in the freezer, so I anticipate using two breasts for prosciutto and two for ham; the legs will all be confited, though the kosher butcher my grandmother uses can't get duck fat.  Any ideas?  Olive oil, schmaltz?  I think it'd be a real waste to do ducks in chicken fat.

My father (who also keeps kosher -- oy!) is getting me the Northern Tool grinder and the Grizzly stuffer.  Merguez, beef peperone, and some chicken sausages are definitely on the docket, but I'm at a bit of a loss in terms of fat.  If pork is out, should I use suet?  Lamb fat?

I've never been more excited to move, though: come September, I'll be on my own again, free to cook pork in my own kitchen.  Home-made bacon, here I come.

For the confit you could just render the fat from the ducks you use to make prosciutto etc.. You may have to reserve the legs in the freezer until you have accumulated enough fat though.

Beef peperone as outlined in the book does not require add'l fat and in fact calls fo the use of lean beef.

Chicken sausage has worked out well for us using (skinless) boned thighs. These seem to have plenty of fat. We've subsituted chicken for pork in many of the fresh pork sausage recipes quite sucessfully (not because we don't eat pork but rather because my parents don't).

As noted elsewhere caution is in order w/ lamb fat unless that flavor is what you are after.

I hope you continue to have fun w/ the book; I know we have so far.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Duck breasts can also be used to make a quasi-bacon.

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Does anyone happen to know what the UK equivalent of pink salt is?

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Does anyone happen to know what the UK equivalent of pink salt is?

Prague Powder #1 and #2, ask your butcher to sell you some

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Thanks! 1 and 2 are quite different to each other, aren't they?

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Does anyone happen to know what the UK equivalent of pink salt is?

Prague Powder #1 and #2, ask your butcher to sell you some

In his book Michael Ruhlman refers to 6.25% Sodium Nitr*i*te bulked out with ordinary salt (Sodium Chloride) as being "pink salt" (Page 38 1st edn). This is the standard composition of Prague Powder No 1.

The funny percentage comes from imperial measures. It was 1 oz of Nitrite made up to a pound with salt, so 1/16th (6.25%) Nitrite.

Prague Powder No 2 (or DC Curing Salt No 2 or Instacure No 2) isn't itself actually Nitr*a*te (as said at the bottom of Page 177), rather it contains some SodiumNitrate. The amount of Nitrate is 0.64oz per lb of No2 (and that is in addition to the same amount of Nitrite as in No 1).

NitrAte (as found in No 2) is 'needed' for things to be eaten raw, but is disapproved in the USA for bacon on grounds of nitrosamine formation. Also, NitrAte requires bacterial action to cure - leading to a reputation for "unreliability" and inconsistency.

Its also worth remarking that these powders should be produced such that all the crystals of the different components are the same size - so that the mix doesn't "segregate" giving different compositions at the top and bottom of the container...

At sausagemaking.org Franco does sell No 1 and No 2 -- BUT (strangely IMHO) you'll find them both tucked away under "Curing Products/Cures for Salami" http://www.sausagemaking.org/acatalog/Cures.html He also sells Potassium Nitrate (as "Saltpetre") - but for domestic quantities unless you have scales accurate to a small fraction of a gramme, go with the ready mixed, part diluted with salt, cures - as used in the book. For one reason, you don't need the extreme weighing accuracy.


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

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Does anyone happen to know what the UK equivalent of pink salt is?

Prague Powder #1 and #2, ask your butcher to sell you some

I use a product named Pokelsalz which is a ready mixed cure, for dry curing or to make up a brine.

It is sold by a UK firm named Dalziel and they have depots all over the UK.

Here is there web address:

Dalziel

Norman

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I have been making sausages for many years. This book has led me to try some solid meats -- starting with bacon.

Question -- What seems to work as a bacon slicer?

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I have been making sausages for many years. This book has led me to try some solid meats -- starting with bacon.

Question -- What seems to work as a bacon slicer?

I have an electric slicer, but I usually use a serrated knife to slice a few slices off for a meal..That way the chunk stays whole and I think it stays fresh longer.

Bud

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Thanks Dougal for the very comprehensive reply, and to Norman.

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The confit issue ended up being moot -- I hot-smoked the legs and served them with a (vaguely) Thai-ish dipping sauce. Now I've got a cup or two of duck fat for next time.

The stuffer and grinder came last weekend, but I had to wait until this weekend to use them. Today we made boerewors (strange that this traditional South African sausage hasn't been mentioned here yet: 4lb beef, 1lb beef fat, 40g salt, 40g ground toasted coriander seed, 15g black pepper) and mergeuz out of the book (subbing in plain-old sweet paprika, crappy pre-minced garlic, and kosher wine that smells like it was made from Manischewitz; I also left out the water by accident). We stuffed the whole lot in kosher collagen casings ($1 a foot -- outrageous!).

Edit: I used 1/4 lamb fat and 3/4 beef fat in the merguez -- it's a nice mix, and I think balances the lamb flavor pretty nicely. I love lamb, though, so that could go either way.

Sadly, there are no pictures of the process.

I see three problems with the process. First, I didn't account for the cashering (salting and draining) of the beef and lamb, so everything came out a little bit oversalted. It's not too bad, but it's definitely on the salty side. (Leaving the water out of the mergeuz definitely didn't help.) Second, I wasn't particularly rigorous when cutting out the sinew and connective tissue from the beef (we used "cholent meat", I have no idea what cut, maybe shin), so there are (sparse) bits of gristle in the boerewors. I also ground it on the medium die, so maybe the smaller die would have helped. The other problem was linking. Bits of meat get squeezed into the parts I twist. When I cut off a link to test it (purely scientific, no personal investment or anything), the twist didn't "set" and the sausage cooked with loose ends. I've seen kosher sausage do this before, so it may be a collagen thing. Anyone else have any experience with collagen casings, or general linking tips?

All in all, it was a great experience. My father tried sausage for the first time and, surprise surprise, he likes it. (Well, at least the first time he'll admit. He may have been harboring an illicit longing for sausage ever since he started keeping kosher.) Kashrut has me at the end of my rope: twenty days and counting until I can start making bacon!


Edited by michael_g (log)

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I have been making sausages for many years. This book has led me to try some solid meats -- starting with bacon.

Question -- What seems to work as a bacon slicer?

I use a butcher knife (12") partially because I like my bacon thick. However, I am thinking of an electric knife because when you slice 12 pieces it can be tiring and slippery. I am also thinking about getting a Hobart slicer, but that is a pipe dream!


etherdog

Bloomington, IN US

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michael_g : linking collagen casings wont work. They won't stay twisted on their own like natural casings. You'll have to tie each link with a string or a hog ring clip.

jason

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michael_g :  linking collagen casings wont work. They won't stay twisted on their own like natural casings. You'll have to tie each link with a string or a hog ring clip.

Ah...that explains why it didn't work! I'm glad to hear it's them and not me. I'd never heard of a hog ring clip before. Frankly, I'm surprised they're not called "sausage staplers".

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michael_g :  linking collagen casings wont work. They won't stay twisted on their own like natural casings. You'll have to tie each link with a string or a hog ring clip.

Ah...that explains why it didn't work! I'm glad to hear it's them and not me. I'd never heard of a hog ring clip before. Frankly, I'm surprised they're not called "sausage staplers".

Yeap. I don't use collagen casings anymore after trying the real stuff. I had the same problem with linking them and mentioend it here too. You probably have to go back to the early pages of this thread to see that...maybe pages 2-5 or so...

EDIT: Actually it's all the way in page one. click Here.


Edited by FoodMan (log)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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The other problem was linking.  Bits of meat get squeezed into the parts I twist.  When I cut off a link to test it (purely scientific, no personal investment or anything), the twist didn't "set" and the sausage cooked with loose ends.  I've seen kosher sausage do this before, so it may be a collagen thing.  Anyone else have any experience with collagen casings, or general linking tips?

I have given up on collagen on anything smaller than summer sausage. Even hog rings get pushed off the end. Natural sheep casings are the way to go. I liked the texture obtained with the large die. This is the main reason that I bought the Northern Tool grinder instead of replacing my broken KA grinder attachment.

Paul

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I use a butcher knife (12") partially because I like my bacon thick. However, I am thinking of an electric knife because when you slice 12 pieces it can be tiring and slippery. I am also thinking about getting a Hobart slicer, but that is a pipe dream!

Thanks for the replies -- I think I will try bribing my butcher with a small (as small as possible) sample in exchange for use of his slicer.

Paul

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I have given up on collagen on anything smaller than summer sausage. Even hog rings get pushed off the end. Natural sheep casings are the way to go. I liked the texture obtained with the large die. This is the main reason that I bought the Northern Tool grinder instead of replacing my broken KA grinder attachment.

Kosher sheep casings would be great, but we couldn't find anyone supplying them around us (Essex and Bergen Counties, NJ). I'll be stuffing in hog casings once I move to Philly, but for now we've got another 12 feet to go through. Such a tough life, right?

I didn't notice a difference in definition between the lamb (small die) and the beef (medium die). From the outside you can see that there are bigger chunks of fat within the sausage, but they seemed similar once cooked. I wasn't checking, though. In any case, I'm making some merguez tomorrow night, so I'll cook up one of the boerewors alongside it to compare.

I haven't tried using the KA, but isn't the Northern Tool grinder great? We went through all of the diced meat in two minutes!

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