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


jmolinari
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The texture is also a little bit of a personal preference. You could slice into one and try it.

Also, in a regular fridge they'll dry out pretty quickly, as it is only about 20% humidity in there.

Do you use anything to monitor humidity, or do you just make sure it is high?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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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

Wow! That cured up really nicely, good and fatty -- looks delicious. Did you do anything special, or just follow the book's recipe? Any plans for a pastrami in the works?

When I made it corned beef, the cure didn't quite make it all the way in. In retrospect, it might be the fault of the kosher meat I used, which is probably less able to absorb the brine. Now that I have access to some better, unkosher meat, I'll give it another go if it ever stops feeling like summer.

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...  what I am guessing is pretty high humidity ...

Chris, you can find really cheap humidity meters, on eBay even. Usually with a temperature readout and max/min recording too.

Word of warning - humidity measurement (wired or wireless) remote from the display is fairly unusual (and so more expensive). Remote "outdoor" temperature with "indoor" humidity - no problem. Check descriptions very carefully! A large display makes it much easier to read if you must mount it inside a fridge or box.

This seems a bargain for a unit with remote wireless humidity measurement...

http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-TM005X-Wir...r/dp/B000EX83RU

Doesn't seem to be available in the UK... :sad:

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

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...  what I am guessing is pretty high humidity ...

Chris, you can find really cheap humidity meters, on eBay even. Usually with a temperature readout and max/min recording too.

Yeah, you are definitely right - humidity is much more important to this process than I realized. I was thinking that as long as it wasn't too low, I would be OK, but my duck breast prosciutto failed apparently due to a combination of too high humidity and lack of air circulation (at least, that is the current theory). There was green mold forming on the surface after a week and a half, and when I sliced into it the interior was still basically "raw". Looks like an equipment upgrade is in order (gosh, how I hate being forced to buy more toys...).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Well today was my first try at my bacon. The first thing I have made out of the Charcuterie book. I must say, I like it a lot. I didn't do the sweet one or the savory one. I did inbetween one. It was done with black pepper, bay leafs and amaretto. For dinner tonight we are having bacon sandwhiches. I have the bread on the last rise, made the mustard already, pickles were done 4 days ago and the mayo was done this morning. I can't wait for dinner! Can't wait for it to cool down here. We are to get into the mid 70s for the rest of the week. Sick of it. Once the room cools down a lot then I'm going to try my hand at curing. Oh last week I did the garlic sausages.....we will be eating them tomorrow.

I don't have a smoker. I was thinking about the Bradley until it can only use their pallets for the most part. Does anyone use anything else. I use would love the smoke my bacon and everything else. I'm on the look out for a pate mold also.

Thank You,

Jane

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I don't have a smoker. I was thinking about the Bradley until it can only use their pallets for the most part. Does anyone use anything else. I use would love the smoke my bacon and everything else. I'm on the look out for a pate mold also.

Well, I'm "thrifty" (that is to say, "cheap") -- I bought the electric-model Brinkman bullet-style smoker for around $80 at Home Depot, and it makes great bacon. Plus, I converted it to do cold-smoking as well, and so far, so good on that front. I thought the garlic sausage was one of the best recipes in the book, actually. I love that one!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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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

Wow! That cured up really nicely, good and fatty -- looks delicious. Did you do anything special, or just follow the book's recipe? Any plans for a pastrami in the works?

When I made it corned beef, the cure didn't quite make it all the way in. In retrospect, it might be the fault of the kosher meat I used, which is probably less able to absorb the brine. Now that I have access to some better, unkosher meat, I'll give it another go if it ever stops feeling like summer.

I just followed the recipe. I did notice a very small section, about 1/2 inch wide in the center of the thickest part to which the cure did not penetrate though. Of course Pastrami is in the plans...my wife keeps asking for it actually. I will post once I do make it.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello eGullet faithful!

I'm going to attempt some lardo asap. I am going for the brine method found in this thread

300 g salt

1 l water

2  cloves of garlic

9 g fresh rosemary

7  sage leaves

3  bay leaves (i used fresh)

7  juniper berries

1000 g hunk of backfat (as thick as you can find)

Make a brine and bring to a boil, add the herbs and let it sit as if you were making a tea (i let it sit covered until it was cool)

Put lard in a tightfitting tupperware or non reactive vessle that you don't need for 3 months :)

pour brine with all the herbs over the lard. The lard is going to want to float, so you need to so something to keep it down. I used a clean meatl chain to weigh it down, and then put a weight on top of the tupperware lid.

Put in the fridge

Flip ever 30 days

Leave minimum 3 months. Take it out, rinse and dry very well.

My question is: minimum 3 months? Is longer better or is there a sweet spot where it is the right taste and texture? How can you tell?

Thankyou!

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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...

This batch of bacon was a qualified success. The flavour of the Calvados definitely came through, although it imparted a bit more sweetness than I would have liked (my girlfriend absolutely adores it, though). Next time I may cut down on the sugar in the cure by a little bit.

Any thoughts on adding fruit to a cure (e.g: diced Granny Smitth apples to a bacon cure)?

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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bacon-hb.jpg

I'm so excited to finally be joining in on this thread! I smoked up my first batch of bacon yesterday.

My butcher wouldn't sell me less than 10 lbs, ribs included, so when we got the meat I trimmed off the ribs and some of the belly for dinner that night, and cut the rest into 3 slabs of approximately 2.5 lbs each.

I did one slab with the maple cure, one slab with the Sichuan cure (Sichuan peppercorns and lapsang souchang tea) that was posted waaaay back in this thread, and the last slab with an experimental sage and mustard cure.

Because of the size of my grill (one of those cylindrical Weber-ish ones with space for charcoal and wood in the bottom, a bowl of water/ice above it, and a round grill above that), I had to smoke the bacon in two batches.

For the first batch, I used apple wood, and smoked the entire maple bacon and half of each of the others.

For the second batch, I used hickory, and smoked the remaining halves of the Sichan and sage mustard bacons.

The maple is amazing - the best for eating on its own, and probably the best bacon I've ever had.

With the sage mustard batch, the sage flavor really came through. The Sichuan bacon was probably the least flavorful of the three. Both the Sichuan and sage mustard were better smoked over hickory than over apple - great over apple, but really extraordinary over hickory.

I think that I prefer sweeter bacon for eating plain, and I expect the more savory batches to really shine best when used in chowders and such.

So, coming up this week: chowder night, and bringing some of each bacon back to the butcher who sold us the belly. Our butcher shop is right around the corner from our apartment, and they are always wonderful and kind and excited, so we figure they'll enjoy getting a taste of what we've created from their meats.

Next, I really want to make a Hungarian spiced bacon, and give that Calvados bacon Mallet just mentioned a try!

Not to mention, I am quite possibly even more excited about the possibilities for using these gorgeous bacon skins than I am about the bacon itself.

Edited by Habeas Brulee (log)
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I've been staying out of this thread since while I'm in France I don't really have a way to make charcuterie, not to mention the coals to Newcastle element. But I know you guys, of all eGers, will appreciate seeing this ham.

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Wow. New studies show nitrates and nitrites are actually GOOD for you being cardioprotective, and have no studies showing links with cancer.

therefore... EAT MORE CURED MEATS! or leafy vegetables

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/...71112172140.htm

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I have a question about meat grinders. I know they've been discussed here before, but now that you all have so much more experience with them, I'd like to see how your feelings on them have developed.

I'm about to order my first meat grinder and sausage stuffer. For the stuffer, I think I'm going for the Grizzly 5 lb hand-cranked piston model. For the grinder, I know I don't quite want to splurge on an expensive electric one right now, so...

I'm not sure whether I should get the KitchenAid attachment or a hand-cranked model (such as this one).

Which would you recommend, and why?

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I have a question about meat grinders. I know they've been discussed here before, but now that you all have so much more experience with them, I'd like to see how your feelings on them have developed.

I'm about to order my first meat grinder and sausage stuffer. For the stuffer, I think I'm going for the Grizzly 5 lb hand-cranked piston model. For the grinder, I know I don't quite want to splurge on an expensive electric one right now, so...

I have the Grizzly stuffer. It is great!

I'm not sure whether I should get the KitchenAid attachment or a hand-cranked model (such as this one).

Assuming you already own a KA, the grinder attachemnt is a good choice. It is fine for small batches, fice pounds or less. If you shoot and process a couple of deer every year, you may want to upgrade.

Which would you recommend, and why?

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I have a question about meat grinders. Which would you recommend, and why?

I used a KA for several years. It was OK for pork -- not very good for anything with much silverskin such as venison. The knife blade does not cut well. About a year ago, I bought a Northern Tool grinder ($89 on sale) and I wornder why I waited so long to upgrade. Larger die for coarser grind and more powerful motor. It is a very good unit.

Paul

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I made the boudin noir last week -- it was delicious and extremely rich. Next time I'd definitely follow the recipe on jmolinari's website and throw in tenderloin or something else meaty -- the texture is a little bit too soft for my taste, I think.

Unfortunately, I ran out of casings midway through, so now I have about half of the forcemeat sitting in my freezer. Is this safe to use? The blood came from a Vietnamese grocer, and was (I believe) previously frozen. If it is safe, does anyone have any ideas for alternative uses of the forcemeat, e.g., mix with hunks of bread and bake in a bain marie?

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I have made my bacon a few times now and have enjoyed it a lot. I now have a cheap smoker from Lowes.

One question I made the pork-garlic sausage from the book. I must say, I don't like them. I think it could be the raw garlic? Or it could be the salt? Did anyone else cut down on the salt? I'm going to do this with my next batch of sausages, just to see. I'm not sure why I don't care for them. They have what I like, pork and garlic. I think some of it could be the casings I got them local and they were BIG ones.

Next will be the turkey and cherry sausages. I can't wait for my casing to arrive.

Jane

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One question I made the pork-garlic sausage from the book. I must say, I don't like them. I think it could be the raw garlic?

Interesting. I made the pate de campagne from the book and had the same experience - the taste of the raw garlic was simply overwhelming, presumably because the target internal temperature of the pate wasn't high enough to kill that "raw garlic" flavour. If I were to make this pate again, I'd definitely saute the garlic first.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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My first pancetta is curing in my fridge now. I've been stressing over where to hang it, since I don't have any sort of curing box or place to put one, and while Michael Ruhlman may hang his near his stove, I think I keep my kitchen way too warm for that.

However, I just discovered that the vestibule of my garden apartment is hovering around 55 F and 65% humidity.

From now on, people will just have to duck the meats when entering my apartment!

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i'd go kitchenaid. It is inexpensive, and works quite well, as long as the meat is fairly sinew free and very cold. It does suck htat the KA doesn't have any alternate plate sizes

That's just me though. I never liked my small hand crank one.

My 2 cents. I have both a KA and a hand crank. The KA is fine for most things. I agree with what has been said about blades and suitabilty for meats with lots of silverskin. Upthread a ways we were talking about trying to get plates with larger dies for the KA (ultimately the reason I bought a hand crank). If you really get serious you can upgrade. The hand cranks have larger dies but are more work. My advise would be to start with the KA. If you outgrow it you will always have it for smaller jobs. I don't buy ground beef anymore. The KA is great for grinding beef when the wife and I want a couple of burgers, the hand crank would be overkill for that.

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

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Phenomenal thread!

I started making cured meats back in 1983 and spent countless hours scouring tidbits of wisdom from popular literature, the food science literature, the CFRs, and correspondence with a couple of charcutiers who learned the craft from their ancestors. It was slow going and it took 10 years before I had the confidence and equipment to attempt air dried hams.

Michael and Brian's book pretty well captures the essential elements of the craft and makes it totally accessible. I can't help but to be envious of those who have this treasure trove of knowledge at their fingertips to help them get started.

Its exciting to see the renaissance of this remarkable craft. This book has been a marvelous catalyst, as this thread bears witness to.

I look forward to many more astonishing accounts from the many talented individuals who have made this thread so great, and of those yet to come.

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This past weekend I made the boudin blanc and the hot-smoked andouille. I am still not sure what to make of the blanc -- it is totally unlike the sausage I am used to eating. I think using hog casings was a mistake - the filling is so soft that I end up just cutting it out of the casing to eat. Maybe sheep casing would be better. The hot-smoked andouille is fantastic - my new favorite recipe in the book. They also look great - I love the mahogany color you get from hot-smoking.

I also made the smoked salmon, since it was cool here on Monday (smoker temp hovered at about 50 degrees the whole time). I used wild-caught salmon (wow, pricey!) and it turned out beautifully.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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