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FoodMan

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 1)

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We're all hanging on your every sausage, Chris! The (sad) cure for drinking too much while smoking is to fire up your smoker about 9:00 a.m., but then, you didn't ask for a cure, so I'll just remind you to hold the camera really steady for those next shots.

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Elie, that looks great. Since it's a modified version of two recipes with your own input, it sounds like a great Recipe Gullet candidate -- and I can guarantee that I'll make it! Whadaya think?

As promised, here is the adapted recipe. So I expect you to be the first to make it in that nice and shiny, brand new smoker of yours :biggrin: . I am sooooo jealous....

Please let me know if anything does not make sense in the recipe and I will edit it.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Great pictures, thanks Chris! [ :cool: smoker envy]

What are you using as a stuffer? We had our first attempt at making 'entry level' sausage [pork picnic shoulder with ginger and herbs] at the weekend, and while all went well [juicy, tasty, mmm good] I can't say that i thought much of the stuffer attachment on the Kitchenaid grinder. The book warns as much, but...

We ground, then paddled, then ran the squodge through the grinder/stuffer without blades, but it was really hard to get a smooth constant feed. Since the squodge was sticky, it would form a seal around the push stick and vacuum the meat back from the casings when we withdrew the pusher to continue feeding.

Our local serious sausage supplier has a cast iron press available for about $100, and a serious crank operated unit for about $300. They've got one that's closer to $10,000 as well :biggrin:

I try to avoid the worst excesses of kitchen gadgetry, but there will be more sausages in our future if i don't have to go through the push-pull stuffing process again. What would really bite would be spending the $100 and then deciding next week that I should have ponied up for the $300 crank unit.

So what do the prolific sausage stuffers among you use?

cheers

Derek

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Derek, check out this thread:

Sausage stuffers - what to look for?, Recommendations, please

FWIW, I'm very happy with the one I purchased, although, maybe I should have gone for the 10# model over the 5# model.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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gallery_19804_437_154966.jpg

gallery_19804_437_77710.jpg

gallery_19804_437_296879.jpg

Those magnificent links, my friends, are not only the best sausages I've ever made -- they're the best I've ever eaten. He shoots, he scores!

Ok, enough with the crowing. Here's the blow-by-blow:

The entire smoking process was pretty painless, save for the puck problem discussed above. I used hickory; I wanted a strong smoke to pair with the strong spicing of the andouille. I set the Bradley at medium-high, brought it up to 180F, and it stayed between 150-180F for the duration of the smoking; whenever I checked, it was at 180, but it dropped down, of course, whenever I opened the door (to check the puck situation). The smoke generator worked great, and even though it was a bit windy, I was able to maintain a solid blanket of smoke in the "tower" (Bradley lingo).

The sausages smoked for 2 hours total. I had my new Maverick remote working swell, and that indicated a couple of plateaus, the last one around 135F, on the way to 150F. Then a quick douse in the water bath, which firmed them up really nicely and quickly. All in all, pretty straightforward for a first crack -- and compared to the rocket science of past excursions into barbecue on the Weber Kettle? A paper airplane.

One major puck-up: I didn't separate the sausages sufficiently, which meant that a couple didn't have smoke along a portion of sausage that was in contact with another. That means lighter areas, which means less smoky areas. Something to think about next time.

The Charcuterie recipe was great. I made a couple of changes, primarily increases to the level of spicing (more cayenne, Colman's mustard, allspice, thyme). I was absurdly careful about keeping everything cooold, and the finished product shows: good juice, firm texture, and a terrific, round mouthfeel.

Honestly, the more obsessive I am about temperature, the better the sausages are. Which brings me to my question: how is it that, after all that care around temperature, a two-hour room-temperature hang to develop the pellicle doesn't screw them all up? That confuses me.

One more thing: friends, that smoke and heat transform the skins into the snappy, delicious porky pastry that only natural casings provide. Make these and you'll never use collagen again.

I'm happy to say more, so ask away. Meanwhile...

Chris, paper clips are even easier!  Time to lay in a box of the big ones.

I looked first for paper clips, Susan, following your lead! Couldn't find any, though, so....

We're all hanging on your every sausage, Chris!  The (sad) cure for drinking too much while smoking is to fire up your smoker about 9:00 a.m., but then, you didn't ask for a cure, so I'll just remind you to hold the camera really steady for those next shots.

I don't understand, Abra. It seems that starting drinking at 9a would extend the drinking while smoking. But perhaps I've misunderstood something.... :wink:

What are you using as a stuffer?

The KA -- and, yes, I have this very problem myself:

t was really hard to get a smooth constant feed. Since the squodge was sticky, it would form a seal around the push stick and vacuum the meat back from the casings when we withdrew the pusher to continue feeding.

I also think that I really have to be careful to soak the casings well, bc they need to be good and slippery for the tube. Mine were sticking to the horn and tearing at one point :blink:.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Oh, and Elie:

As promised, here is the adapted recipe. So I expect you to be the first to make it in that nice and shiny, brand new smoker of yours  :biggrin: .

The recipe looks great, Elie. I think I'm going to start with the (non-smoked) pastrami salmon, though -- that's what I wanted the recipe for, man!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Our local serious sausage supplier has a cast iron press available for about $100, and a serious crank operated unit for about $300.  They've got one that's closer to $10,000 as well :biggrin:

I bought one of those curved cast-iron things from one of the Amazon affiliates. It works OK, but the sausage "stuff" tends to squeeze out around the plunger, and it seems impossible to get the last bit of stuff out of the press and into the casings. I wind up having to wash a significant amount of stuffing out of the press when I'm done. (It's wedged way down inside the press and is really hard to get out of there).

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Oh so appetizing and delicious-looking! I can't wait to follow suit. I need to figure out how to hang stuff in the CharGriller, and then I need to get the KA grinder, and then...take the consensus advice on stuffers.

By then you'll be so far ahead I'll never catch up, but I'll be drooling over your pictures.

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Abra, i'm sure your pancetta will be delicious. it's sometimes cured with skin and then removed; we added the "skin removed" at the last minute. so you did nothing wrong other than not read the recipe (sure sign of a cook). add the skin to stocks or bean dishes for incredible body--it's loaded with collagen. or braise it then chill it then fry it.

the bacony flavor your husband is missing may be from not enough nitrite. you can add a little more but not much.

i'm not a big fan of the maple syrup cure (brian uses maple sugar). the seasoning there also might be a reason for lacking the distinctive flavor your husband wants. try adding plenty of freshly cracked pepper next time or use the pancetta cure.

It's my understanding that in america, bacon is by definition smoked, typically hot-smoked. it is cold smoked only so that it can be heavily smoked before it's cooked. i don't like ten hours of smoke, so hot smoking is fine, or cold smoking and then gently roasting results in the same bacon. bacon should be fully cooked, then chilled then recooked. but it can be grilled fresh as well and then braised. and it can be confited of course. we could have a pork belly festival.

chris, thanks for the awesome and tantalizing pix. and thanks for underscoring the importance of keeping things cold. I don't know exactly why two hours at room temp doesn't hurt the emulsion, but my sense and experience is that, like a mayonnaise, once the emulsion is achieved, it's pretty stable at room temperature.

all of you guys are inspiring!

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Chris, those sausages look awesome!

In response to your question upthread about what cheeses take well to smoke, Jarlsberg is one of my personal favourites, though I can't seem to track it down around here. I guess that's just one more good reason to buy myself a smoker - as if everyone's beautiful pics and descriptions in this thread weren't reason enough! :wub:


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Chris, that is some amazing work! Thanks for sharing your experience (all the steps) with us. I think I'm going to go ahead and order a Bradley unit for myself. I've been on the fence for sometime but your images have pushed me completely over to the other side. Just beautiful . . . :smile:

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Chris, that is some amazing work!  Thanks for sharing your experience (all the steps) with us.  I think I'm going to go ahead and order a Bradley unit for myself.  I've been on the fence for sometime but your images have pushed me completely over to the other side.  Just beautiful . . . :smile:

=R=

Thanks, Ron, and everyone else. As for getting the Bradley, as long as this puck feeder problem works out, I'm considering it money very well spent indeed. If you do order one, check out Yard and Pool's eBay store: I got mine for $310 with free FedEx shipping, even with $50 of pucks added to the order. Great comms, too.

I'm going to take a crack at the turkey breast now, which has been drying in the fridge after 2 days in the cure. I'm leaving the skin on, right?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm going to take a crack at the turkey breast now, which has been drying in the fridge after 2 days in the cure. I'm leaving the skin on, right?

Yes, skin on, unless you want an exceptionally dry turkey breast!

And, keep us updated on the Bradley and how you like it going forward.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Chris, beautiful work on the andouille. It must taste as good as it looks, and I'm sure you're justifiably proud. I'd be interested in knowing the approximate percentages you changed the spices, and also what size pork(?) casings you used. The only two sources of "real" andouille I've ordered from in LA (Jacobs and Poche's) use beef middle casings, but the last time I ordered casings from the Sausage Maker, it looked to me like they've changed some definitions because they had beef rounds that were smaller than the beef middles, and I *think* it used to be stated that beef middles were the smallest beef casing available. Or maybe my memory is even worse than I think it is :wacko:. Thanks again for the careful blow by blow. Very helpful to those of us who follow.

Re sausage stuffers, I had many problems with my KA stuffer also, and finally decided to spring for one of these from the Sausage Maker. I've only used it a couple of times so far, but it is a dream to use compared to the others I've tried. And I took Ron's advice and soaked the casings for two days. It does make a world of difference compared to only soaking them an hour or two.


"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I'm going to take a crack at the turkey breast now, which has been drying in the fridge after 2 days in the cure. I'm leaving the skin on, right?

Right...I leave it on and then defend my right to eat it with deadly force.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Puck feeder update. I just talked again to Katie at Bradley (800.665.4188) and reported that my timer is still screwed up. She's sending out an entirely new smoke box and has told me I can keep the one I have for parts! As you can see, my experiences with Bradley customer service run counter to the claim I've read around here and elsewhere that it leaves something to be desired.

Chris, beautiful work on the andouille.  It must taste as good as it looks, and I'm sure you're justifiably proud.  I'd be interested in knowing the approximate percentages you changed the spices, and also what size pork(?) casings you used. 

Thanks on the props. I'm not sure, actually, about the source for the hog casings. They are standard sausage casingsthat from Whole Foods for pretty cheap. I'll ask and report back.

And thanks, Susan, for confirming my suspicion about the skin!

edited to add: Oh, and I changed the spices I listed above (more cayenne, Colman's mustard, allspice, thyme) by about 25%


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Re sausage stuffers, I had many problems with my KA stuffer also, and finally decided to spring for one of these from the Sausage Maker.  I've only used it a couple of times so far, but it is a dream to use compared to the others I've tried.  And I took Ron's advice and soaked the casings for two days.  It does make a world of difference compared to only soaking them an hour or two.

I just took a charcuterie class and am looking forward to making my first sausage. The Sausage Maker stuffer is the one we used in class and it was awesome. Since I already have the KA stuffer, I'm going to try that for a while. If I find that I'm really getting into the process, I'll make the investment in the other one.

Lauren


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Hwilson, beef rounds are always smaller than beef middles. Rounds are about 40-45mm and curl up like a horseshoe when you stuff them, middles are straighter and about 60mm.

jason

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I'll repost my recommendation here for a stuffer. Don't bother with the plunge cast iron ones, they suck, meat paste squishes around the plunger and there is lots of leftover. If you're going to make sausage somewhat regularly, get a crank one.

Northern tool has a crank stuffer for about $80, whcih is identical pretty much to the Sausage maker's for $300. I have the NT one, i love it.

jason

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Thanks for all the information on stuffers, folks. My local supplier has just taken delivery of a "budget priced" vertical crank unit, and I'm going to go out and take a look. If there's a Chinese factory turning them out then I guess what I'm being offered is probably the same unit as NT carry.

And I'm definitely not coming home with one of those iron shoes :smile:

Good luck with the KA, Lauren :biggrin:

cheers

Derek

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I've mostly solved the problem with my plunger stuffer by stuffing some waxed paper between the meat and the plunger in such a way that the paper creates a tighter seal between the plunger and the tube (if that makes sense). Now it works quite well, especially for a 5lbs stuffer that was less than $30 delivered.

Eric

Our local serious sausage supplier has a cast iron press available for about $100, and a serious crank operated unit for about $300.  They've got one that's closer to $10,000 as well :biggrin:

I bought one of those curved cast-iron things from one of the Amazon affiliates. It works OK, but the sausage "stuff" tends to squeeze out around the plunger, and it seems impossible to get the last bit of stuff out of the press and into the casings. I wind up having to wash a significant amount of stuffing out of the press when I'm done. (It's wedged way down inside the press and is really hard to get out of there).

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I just made 5 # of Thai chicken sausage (not from the book) and stuffed it using casings I've had soaking in the fridge for over 2 weeks. No problems at all and they slipped on the horn really easily. I'm wondering how long you can keep them soaking........has anyone had any problems with casings that have soaked longer?

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gallery_19804_437_296879.jpg

Man, that looks freaking awsome! Absolute perfection....my next sausage project :smile: .

Looking forward to seeing your Pastrami Gravlax.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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gallery_19804_437_45200.jpg

gallery_19804_437_166718.jpg

That's about five pounds of turkey breast smoked with alder. It took about 4 1/2-5 hours at 200F to reach 160F, but I wouldn't treat that as a very useful number, since it was very windy today and I had to shut everything down for 30 min while I got my daughter at school. I haven't tried the meat yet because I wanted it to rest a while... and, well, because as soon as I finished these photos I ate about three-quarters of the skin in a rather sick frenzy. Man oh man....

Tomorrow's an off-day for smoking (lousy weather and personal commitments), but I'll have two pork bellies in the fridge waiting for some serious pellicle development. Sunday will be full of smoke, with the bacon smoking in applewood and, if I'm sufficiently with-it, chorizo.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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