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FoodMan

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

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In the "Smoked Andouille" (again, 156-7), I definitely felt that the mace, cloves, and allspice added a spicy, round dimension that was appealing. Honestly, I don't know that the Colman's mustard added too much. Next time I probably will bump up the pepper by adding some black and white and lose the mustard.

Hmmm...I'm still pondering (always dangerous). If I were to try this recipe today, I'd probably bump up the cayenne, add either pepper or red pepper flakes (or both?), but I would have kept the mustard. Sorry to hear it doesn't add much, but I guess I'll skip that. I love a small bit of allspice, so that is a definite keeper for me, even though from what I can tell by reading the ingredients lists, it probably isn't "authentic". I think it's time for a little pseudo scientific experimentation :wacko:. I'll report back after I get things going in the la-BOR-a-tory :raz:.

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Hot-smoked two slabs of bacon today. Yesterday, I put the two cured bellies into the fridge to develop their pellicle (pellicles?):

gallery_19804_437_37580.jpg

This morning, I loaded up the Bradley with apple pucks and the two bellies:

gallery_19804_437_202578.jpg

A couple of comments about this set-up. I thought that the thicker belly would be warmer toward the top of the Bradley -- heat rises, that sort of thing. It's the one with the probe in it. However, I should have put both bellies in the top two slots of the Bradley, with the thicker one closer to the bottom. I didn't think it through, but the reasons are now obvious: it was windy today, so the heating element had to work hard to stay at 200F and was likely on continuously -- and that means that the lower belly got blasted. I didn't notice this until I pulled them out, sadly. Here's the one on top, which came out right at 150F:

gallery_19804_437_160324.jpg

And here's the one on the bottom:

gallery_19804_437_151675.jpg

Obviously, it curled bc it was so hot. It reached (gulp) 170F. You can see on the right that the belly actually cooked dark on the corner; what you can't see is that the fat in spots actually had started to liquefy. :blink:

I'm not really sure what this is going to do to the bacon, but it didn't seem to ruin it exactly. Maybe it will be a bit dry? I dunno -- what do you think?

I'm not going to cry about it, though:

gallery_19804_437_186365.jpg

I'm thinkin' that there may not be such a thing as bad homemade bacon....

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Beautiful bellies, Chris. I have a strong feeling the curled one will still taste totally delicious. There's so much fat in a belly, they're very hard to dry out. It'll surely work well in a bunch of applications and probably even terrific straight, too.

Sometimes, when I'm smoking 2 (anythings) at a time, I'll make a point of switching their positions during the smoke so that they get near-equal time on each rack. I find this essential with ribs but also useful with bellies and briskets.

Please let us know how the more done belly tastes.

=R=

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Thanks, Ron. Frankly, both taste fantastic; I nibbled while I was cutting stuff up to seal and freeze. And your idea about switching them is smart. Works for cake pans....

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Thanks, Ron. Frankly, both taste fantastic; I nibbled while I was cutting stuff up to seal and freeze. And your idea about switching them is smart. Works for cake pans....

Beautiful job, Chris, and I'm glad they both taste great. I agree that there may not be such a thing as bad homemade bacon :raz:. Did you use the recipe on pp. 83-4? That recipe has drawn rave reviews from friends (who might be trying to be polite) and family (who don't give a damn about polite :raz:), so I think it's a winner for sure. I added 1 Tbsp black pepper, but other than that I don't want to fool with success.

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Chris, you can put some of that lovely more-done bacon in this fabulous dish. Actually, anyone in the pork biz ought to try this one, and if you have some Rancho Gordo beans to go in it, you're golden.

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So I finally have 3 pork bellies and want to do three different bacons: the basic, the one with maple syrup and the savory bacon. Here's my question: I have read and re-read the instructions and am still somewhat puzzled. On page 42 the variations are given but I can't figure out if the variation amounts are based on the basic cure amount (from page 39) or on the 1/4 cups amounts given on page 42! 1/2 cup of maple syrup added to 1/4 cup of cure seems a bit excessive to me. Am I being unbelievably obtuse? Please help.

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Anna, I added only 1/4 cup of dark maple syrup to the cure, and thought that was just right.

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Anna, I added only 1/4 cup of dark maple syrup to the cure, and thought that was just right.

Thanks! But did you add that to the 1/4 cup of cure needed for 1 pork belly or to the 3 1/2 cups given in the basic recipe? That's my puzzlement!

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Here's my question:  I have read and re-read the instructions and am still somewhat puzzled.  On page 42 the variations are given but I can't figure out if the variation amounts are based on the basic cure amount (from page 39) or on the 1/4 cups amounts given on page 42!  1/2 cup of maple syrup added to 1/4 cup of cure seems a bit excessive to me.  Am I being unbelievably obtuse?  Please help.

Anna, I think if you want to use the maple syrup variation of the recipe on p. 42, you need to add 1/2 cup of syrup to the 1/4 cup of cure. There is another sweet variation (which I've made twice now) on pp. 83-4, and it uses 1/4 cup syrup and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I can't speak to whether the recipe on p. 42 works well or not, but the one on p. 84 works like a charm (I added 1 Tbsp black pepper), so maybe for your "sweet" version you might want to consider using the recipe on p. 84 and avoid any ambiguity. Hope this helps.

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Here's my question:  I have read and re-read the instructions and am still somewhat puzzled.  On page 42 the variations are given but I can't figure out if the variation amounts are based on the basic cure amount (from page 39) or on the 1/4 cups amounts given on page 42!  1/2 cup of maple syrup added to 1/4 cup of cure seems a bit excessive to me.  Am I being unbelievably obtuse?  Please help.

Anna, I think if you want to use the maple syrup variation of the recipe on p. 42, you need to add 1/2 cup of syrup to the 1/4 cup of cure. There is another sweet variation (which I've made twice now) on pp. 83-4, and it uses 1/4 cup syrup and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I can't speak to whether the recipe on p. 42 works well or not, but the one on p. 84 works like a charm (I added 1 Tbsp black pepper), so maybe for your "sweet" version you might want to consider using the recipe on p. 84 and avoid any ambiguity. Hope this helps.

Thank you. Thank you. I think I was just being dense this morning. I first want to try the one on p 42 but following Abra'a advice, I will add only 1/4 cup of maple syrup to 1/4 cup of cure (rather than the 1/2 cup in the recipe). Then, I will certainly look at the recipe on pages 83-84 as I now have a good source of pork bellies!

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FWIW, I was pondering the Andouille recipes and questions thereon that we were discussing upthread, and it dawned on me that there is another recipe here that I'd seen earlier. Chef Folse is about as expert on Cajun and Creole as one can get, and I've cobbled together a slight variant on his recipe that I think I'll try shortly for my first attempt at homemade Andouille.

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FWIW, I was pondering the Andouille recipes and questions thereon that we were discussing upthread, and it dawned on me that there is another recipe here that I'd seen earlier.  Chef Folse is about as expert on Cajun and Creole as one can get, and I've cobbled together a slight variant on his recipe that I think I'll try shortly for my first attempt at homemade Andouille.

Thanks, h (is it ok to call you h? :wink:). That recipe lines up much better with my expectations for andouille. I have another butt on hand and will probably give it a shot later in the week.

=R=

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Thanks, h (is it ok to call you h? :wink:).  That recipe lines up much better with my expectations for andouille.  I have another butt on hand and will probably give it a shot later in the week.

=R=

h is just fine with me Ron :wink:. I'll be very interested to hear how yours comes out, since you're also familiar with the LA product. I'm not going to get around to it until next week because I'm finishing up bacon for a weekend trip down to our daughter's house and am under strict orders to bring bacon when we come :biggrin:, but I'm going to try essentially Folse's recipe too, with the peppers jacked up a bit and a little shot of allspice added. I can hardly wait, because as much as I love Jacob's and Poche's, by the time I get them to Virginia, they certainly aren't cheap :wacko:.

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So I finally have 3 pork bellies and want to do three different bacons:  the basic, the one with maple syrup and the savory bacon.  Here's my question:  I have read and re-read the instructions and am still somewhat puzzled.  On page 42 the variations are given but I can't figure out if the variation amounts are based on the basic cure amount (from page 39) or on the 1/4 cups amounts given on page 42!  1/2 cup of maple syrup added to 1/4 cup of cure seems a bit excessive to me.  Am I being unbelievably obtuse?  Please help.

anna,

are you doing one with no seasoning, only the basic dry cure? it will still be unsmoked bacon (i don't think you're smoking), but it will be very plain. best suited for soups and stews. If I had three pork bellies and wanted to do three cures, I'd do an asian one, recipe somewhere up thread--soy, maybe some ginger garlic scallion...

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So I finally have 3 pork bellies and want to do three different bacons:  the basic, the one with maple syrup and the savory bacon.  Here's my question:  I have read and re-read the instructions and am still somewhat puzzled.  On page 42 the variations are given but I can't figure out if the variation amounts are based on the basic cure amount (from page 39) or on the 1/4 cups amounts given on page 42!  1/2 cup of maple syrup added to 1/4 cup of cure seems a bit excessive to me.  Am I being unbelievably obtuse?  Please help.

anna,

are you doing one with no seasoning, only the basic dry cure? it will still be unsmoked bacon (i don't think you're smoking), but it will be very plain. best suited for soups and stews. If I had three pork bellies and wanted to do three cures, I'd do an asian one, recipe somewhere up thread--soy, maybe some ginger garlic scallion...

Michael, I did the basic cure and we loved it - maybe we are fans of simple! So, I repeated that one, did the maple syrup one and the savory one. They are all resting comfortably in the 'fridge. I am toying with the idea of smoking this time - it will not be according to Hoyle but I have smoked on my BBQ before using indirect heat and setting the wood chips off to the far side over a burner. I also have a stove-top smoker and am thinking of that too. I am a little shy of that one as I totally ruined a pork tenderloin by oversmoking it! But it's fun to play and knowing that I can now find pork bellies easily, I am inclined to see what miracles or messes I can produce. I do thank you for your continued interest in this thread - it makes it so interesting to have your input.

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Michael....I do thank you for your continued interest in this thread - it makes it so interesting to have your input.

I would like to second that motion. Michael, your comments are invaluable, and we really appreciate your participation and continued input. We're all learning here, which is what eG is all about, and you are miles ahead of any of the rest of us on these topics, so please continue to comment and contribute. I think I speak for the other participants that we're all grateful for your book and your help.

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Me three, Michael. It's like having Paula Wolfert active in the threads about her books - it gives us such a richer experience of the book and its intentions. Oh, and be sure to try some of your pork products in that recipe of Paula's that I linked to above. It's a "made in porky paradise" little miracle.

And sorry, Anna, I posted and then went away for the day. Yes, it was 1/4 cup/1/4 cup so you ended up exactly as I did. That's the version that my husband thinks isn't "bacony" enough, so I'm going to try one of the other cures next time to see if I can make him happier.

I'm really happy that you guys are hashing out the andouille ahead of me. As soon as my grinder and stuffer arrive - oops, better order casings! - I'll be looking for your best recipe recommendations.

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Thank you, Jason for the non-painted coat hanger tip . . . you can kind of see them in the pic below. A great idea.

gallery_3085_2744_186849.jpg

My andouille have been smoking over cherry wood (ran out of hickory :shock:) for about 2 hours. I've had to change the ice out a couple of times but I've managed to keep the chamber below 100 degrees F for the entire time. I just have a few chunks of wood smoldering in the box and all 3 dampers on the smoker are almost completely closed. Since the recipe calls for 2-4 hours of smoking, I'll just let the wood burn out (should take another hour or so) and then hang the sausages in my basement until Thursday.

Really, in spite of the style differences we discussed upthread, this stuff looks and smells delicious. I can't wait to try it out. And even if it doesn't taste like andouille to me, it'll still be about 5 pounds of delicious home-made, home-smoked sausage. Not exactly a sad outcome. :wink:

=R=

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

ok i've got a question: how much smoke billows out of the thing as you use it?

you probably couldn't tell from when you were down here, but i live in a tiny rowhouse with a tiny deck for a backyard, in a crowded city. if it contains the smoke pretty well, there could be one in my future, but if it's pouring out smoke all day it's not going to work...

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Really, in spite of the style differences we discussed upthread, this stuff looks and smells delicious.  I can't wait to try it out.  And even if it doesn't taste like andouille to me, it'll still be about 5 pounds of delicious home-made, home-smoked sausage.  Not exactly a sad outcome. :wink:

Looks great Ron. What kind of smoker is that? I don't think I'd have a prayer of holding mine below 100 degrees, so cold smoked probably isn't a player in this house unless I do some very serious jury rigging.

I'm very anxious to hear what you think of the flavor, be it Andouille-like or not. Having a nice supply of smoked sausage is a burden we all should have to bear :raz:.

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You all impress me, enormously.

For the record, Amazon.com has responded to requests to correct errors. MR & BP are now called the authors of the cookbook under discussion.

Me, I would have put a period after Polcyn and omitted Keller's name unless I felt online sales would be boosted by writing: "With foreword by Thomas Keller".

 

[Moderator note: This topic continues here, Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 2)]


Edited by Mjx Note added. (log)

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