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jmolinari

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

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Nice one Dougal. Looks like it would be worth a try...

PS Everytime I look on here it's only you, me and Jason signed in on the forum. Has everyone else been charcuteried out?   :smile:

I am here,,,

Just looked at the drying box in the basement, and it is 64.4ºF, after a few months of close to 70...Time for the things I have been thinking of for the last few months...Onward!!!!

Bud

I'm here too and definitely chugging along. I made a pate about 3 weeks ago that turned out very well. I'm about to start my "sausage season" as conditions in my basement are just about perfect right now.

=R=

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I'm here too. Now that the cooler weather is here, my thoughts are turning back to charcuting. I've got guanciale in the skinny little wine cooler in the basement drying away. Holds a perfect 55 degrees. Only another 3 weeks to go.

I'll pick up another belly while I'm up north here, added to a couple I've got in the freezer there will be more bacon in a few weeks and perhaps pancetta when my 'drying chamber' is free.

I had an article published in July in the Medical Post about "Makin' Bacon" in which I talked about my first experience with bacon and about how wonderful I find the Charcuterie book.

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You got a free link to your bacon article?

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You got a free link to your bacon article?

Took a bit of doing but here is a link to my article.

I had to register!! I'm waiting for my password to be sent before I can read it.

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You got a free link to your bacon article?

Took a bit of doing but here is a link to my article.

I had to register!! I'm waiting for my password to be sent before I can read it.

I could attach it as a PDF file but I'm not sure how that is done.

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Thank you for the information on the Bradley Smoker. I had a feeling. Now I must decide, I always like things that do several things. But then again what everyone is saying that is really it. Hum.

Well I think I have found a local source for pork belly, fat back and so on. I'm picking up my order on Saturday!

I have read Charcuterie, Cooking By Hand and Complete Sausage book. I have on order Professional Charcuterie. Thinking about Beyond Nose to Tail any one have? Also Garde Manger: The art and craft of the cold kitchen.

I go to CuredMeats.blogspot.com quite often it's a good one. I show my husband that I'm really not nuts!

The hygro-thermometer is reading 70 degrees with 65% humidity. I figure in another month I will be able to start curing the meat! It's been 90 and hotter here. Yes, even now. So by November we will be cold....at least we better be! I'm looking forward to trying my hand at Charcuterie. First on the list will be bacon.

Jane

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Jane, i have nose to tail which is Fergus Henderson's 1st book, and i like it, although i have yet to cook a single thing out of it!

Glad you like my blog. I should have an update to the farmer/commercial taste off in the next few days.

You'll also have to rememebr that as winter comes along, air tends to get dryer as well, so you might have to have some sort of humidification device.

jason

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Hi everyone, I've perused all 87 pages of the topic, and this is my first post here. I've been using the bacon and corned beef recipes here at the restaurant I work at, and have upped the quality of our product to the nth degree. I just put a few bellies in the pancetta cure today as well. Thanks, Charcuterie!

So, this has gotten my imagination running, and I have a few ideas and questions I want to post, but I'll just start with the one that has me really curious...Cognac Bacon.

I'm wondering if during the cure I can throw a cup or so of brandy in the Ziploc with the belly to impart more flavor, but I'm wondering if this will either dilute the brine, or if the alcohol will have any strange effects on the process. The idea hit me when I was looking at the pork confit recipe (which I will probably try next week!) which calls for white wine to be added to cover the belly pieces, and I thought, why not some other liquor?

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks again for the tons of info and beautiful products! tim

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madtowner, I've added hooch to cures in a few recipes, including this recipe for lop yuk, discussed at length here. As far as I can tell, it acts as a flavoring agent in the same way other elements do. There may be some chemistry I'm missing, but I think you should forge ahead and see what happens.

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So, this has gotten my imagination running, and I have a few ideas and questions I want to post, but I'll just start with the one that has me really curious...Cognac Bacon.

I'm wondering if during the cure I can throw a cup or so of brandy in the Ziploc with the belly to impart more flavor, but I'm wondering if this will either dilute the brine, or if the alcohol will have any strange effects on the process.  The idea hit me when I was looking at the pork confit recipe (which I will probably try next week!) which calls for white wine to be added to cover the belly pieces, and I thought, why not some other liquor?

Any thoughts on this?

I'm not sure how it will affect the brine, but I feel like the salt box method is pretty foolproof. You might just have to cure a little longer. Do tell how it goes!

I had a similar idea: instead of cognac, why not calvados? I just put a batch of pancetta and bacon in to cure, but maybe I'll try it out on the next bacon.

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Been making lots of repeat stuff here too. Over the past few weeks I made about 20lbs bacon and 5 lbs pancetta (don't like to run out :smile:). I also had a friend join me for a sausage making day. We pooled resources and made about 35 lbs of sausage in three varieties

Italian flavored with rosemary (good variation on fennel)

Chipotle Mole

Marjoram Kielbasa

Since I've posted about these before I figured no pics or explanation needed.

The only new thing I made recently was corned beef. Boy is this stuff awsome!! We ate it for a week in sandwiches, plain and for brunch in Corned beef Hash with eggs and potatoes. Seriously good and easy.

gallery_5404_2234_244183.jpg

gallery_5404_2234_122211.jpg

gallery_5404_2234_334499.jpg

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You all are my heroes: everything in here looks amazing. I picked up Charcuterie about a year ago and have been working my way through it: it is my goal to try every recipe in the book (well, maybe excepting the foie gras sasuage... I'm not sure I could do that to a beautiful piece of foie!). I'm currently trying a dry-cure for the first time and wondered how sensitive it is to temperature variation. I am keeping it in a cooler with an ice pack that I replace every day, so the temp swings around quite a bit: it is always between 50 and 60 degrees, but I wonder if the constant temperature cycling will adversly affect the final product (duck prosciutto). Anyone have any idea?

For anyone with a cured meat fetish, I've got some photo albums of my previous attempts (good and bad...) here.

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You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

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You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

Great, thanks. I consider the duck prosciutto to be a "proof-of-concept" for the cooler/ice-pack system, to see if the approach is reasonable. My conclusion is that for longer-term cures it is not, at least for me, due to the daily maintenance required. My memory is not that good :hmmm: . Though maybe after a month it just becomes part of the daily routine...

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Hrm, yeah...i think i would go crazy if i had to remember to do something every single day.

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You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

Jason, Just out of curiousity I was looking around for the "proper" dry cure temp, and Len Poli said 55 to 65. wonder what your thoughts are on that? My curing cabinet is at about 61.5º and should be 60 in another few days, and then off to the grinder...I have not dry cured cured ground stuff above 60 but have done pancetta and guancialle at 65.

Bud

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You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

I've had the duck breasts curing for about a week, and they still seem quite soft - I thought after a week they would be at least mostly firm. Maybe it is because of their size? Or am I doing something wrong?

Pre-cure:

gallery_56799_5289_307745.jpg

Post cure, ready for the cooler:

gallery_56799_5289_21921.jpg

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Chris, if you do try that box, remember there is no humidity control, and it is also quite small i think, but it might be worth it for small batches. Also, the time it takes the meat to dry will be very dependent on your humidity levels, temperatures, fat content of meat, air circulation, and thickness. So, it can vary a lot.

QRN: From my reading, learning and talking to people 60 seems to me to be the upper limit. I'm thinking 65 is definitely too high, but Len Poli knows his stuff, so i may be in the wrong here. I cure all my stuff at about 54-57, but that's just me.


Edited by jmolinari (log)

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Hi everyone, I've perused all 87 pages of the topic, and this is my first post here.  I've been using the bacon and corned beef recipes here at the restaurant I work at, and have upped the quality of our product to the nth degree.  I just put a few bellies in the pancetta cure today as well.  Thanks, Charcuterie!

So, this has gotten my imagination running, and I have a few ideas and questions I want to post, but I'll just start with the one that has me really curious...Cognac Bacon.

I'm wondering if during the cure I can throw a cup or so of brandy in the Ziploc with the belly to impart more flavor, but I'm wondering if this will either dilute the brine, or if the alcohol will have any strange effects on the process.  The idea hit me when I was looking at the pork confit recipe (which I will probably try next week!) which calls for white wine to be added to cover the belly pieces, and I thought, why not some other liquor?

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks again for the tons of info and beautiful products!  tim

So I rinsed, dried and smoked the brandy cured bacon, and aside from a boozy aroma, the flavor didn't really come through as strong as I had hoped. In fact, I would gander that unless you knew it was there, you would either not notice it or consider the flavor a bit "off".

So, at this point I'm considering simmering a bottle of brandy to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavors and use that in the cure.

Upon further consideration, I have also thought about using the wood from a bourbon barrel to smoke the bacon. I have a brewer friend that can get me a Jim Beam barrel for cheap (he assures me...), however, this presents several other issues. THe wood is oak, from what I understand, this would be too strong a flavor to use for smoke. However, perhaps I could shave off the quarter inch or so of wood that actually soaks up some of the booze and use that to augment another wood for smoking.

or...I could baste the bacon with brandy as it is smoking.

hmmm...thoughts? Tim

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or...I could baste the bacon with brandy as it is smoking.

hmmm...thoughts?  Tim

Or, you could put a lawn chair next to your smoker and "baste" yourself with the brandy while the bacon smokes :smile: . Maybe it's the brandy I have on hand right now, but I would think that minus the alcohol, the brandy flavor would come across as a smoky, "brown-suggary"-type flavor, which would seem to be redundant in a slab of bacon.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

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Furthering these experiments, I have a batch of maple-syrup bacon curing right now with about 1/4 cup Calvados added. I'll let you know the results...

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Chris, if you do try that box, remember there is no humidity control, and it is also quite small i think, but it might be worth it for small batches. Also, the time it takes the meat to dry will be very dependent on your humidity levels, temperatures, fat content of meat, air circulation, and thickness. So, it can vary a lot.

Well, I ordered the box, so we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I have these two duck breasts aging for prosciutto: they've been going for 11 days between 50-60 degrees F and what I am guessing is pretty high humidity (small container of water in the bottom of the cooler). They still feel soft to me, but I don't really know what the target texture is. Any suggestions or advice? I moved them to the refrigerator this morning, since there is no TCM or anything involved and got nervous about the amount of time it was taking.

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