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

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It looks like Amazon is again shipping this book within 24 hours, so I'm about to order it and join the ranks in this thread.

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I've been making some sausages from Charcuterie over in the sausage cook-off, and they've been turning out great. Going to be starting some curing soon.  What brands and on-line suppliers of saltpetre do people recommend?

I ordered both the #1 and #2 cures from the sausage maker in Buffalo NY. They shipped quickly, had reasonable prices, and everything showed up in one piece.

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I've been making some sausages from Charcuterie over in the sausage cook-off, and they've been turning out great. Going to be starting some curing soon.  What brands and on-line suppliers of saltpetre do people recommend?

butcher-packer.com has the best price, $1.50 per pound (vs $8.99 per pound at sausage maker).

please remember that you are using sodium nitrite (#1) and for dry-cured sausage sodium nitrate (#2). always follow instructions and warnings with this stuff. salt peter (potassium nitrate) has not been used for a long time in this country.

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the dogs had a texture I wasn't fond of.  In a bun they are fine but on their own they are too soft. I suspect the 5 minute paddling time incorporated too much air into the forcemeat - next time I think we'll stop after 2 minutes.

I know what you mean about the texture. It doesn't sound like a broken forcemeat. with home equipment, it's hard to get that really tight almost rubbery feel you get from vienna hot dogs. they use high powered choppers. Next time you do an emulsified, try reducing the water and the fat a little. Sorry about the pastrami--that sounds strange because i haven't had a problem with the sweetness. I have on occasion with big muscles that the cure hasn't penetrated to the center, even though it's been the same size of others that cured perfectly. Part of why Brian likes to say "practicing" charcuterie.

please take note of the pepper-coriander crust--it's an extraordinary combo seasoning that goes well on many things. You can do turkey galantine and coat it with this mixture. You could can make duck pastrami, or a cured salmon using this seasoning (david burke is the first guy i heard of selling salmon pastrami).

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The sweetness in the pastrami isn't by any means offensive, its just sweeter than you'd get at Katz's - reducing or removing the white sugar will certainly take care of it. You think the texture problem with the hot dogs is from using too much fat not too much air? The forcemeat almost doubled in volume after 5 minutes of paddling. The pepper coriander crust is indeed an excellent rub - for pastrami I use some brown and yellow mustard seed in there also.

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I've been making some sausages from Charcuterie over in the sausage cook-off, and they've been turning out great. Going to be starting some curing soon.  What brands and on-line suppliers of saltpetre do people recommend?

butcher-packer.com has the best price, $1.50 per pound (vs $8.99 per pound at sausage maker).

please remember that you are using sodium nitrite (#1) and for dry-cured sausage sodium nitrate (#2). always follow instructions and warnings with this stuff. salt peter (potassium nitrate) has not been used for a long time in this country.

Thanks, Michael -- and my duh. I knew this, but my fingers did not; they wanted to type the Britishism "-petre" I think. :blink:

Here's a live link to the Butcher and Packer website, where a pound each of DC #1 and #2 costs $10, including shipping (and on which you can also pick up a copy of Charcuterie for $25).

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My neighbor gave me 4 ducks he'd hunted a couple days ago. He doesn't hang them, so they tend to be tough. I figured sausage was the way to go, but I just got a beautiful terrine I was dying to try out. So while I didn't follow an exact recipe from the book, I used the techinques and went from there. I have cherries I put up in Maker's Mark in June and used them as part of the internal garnish, along with pistachios, herbs and seared duck breast. Gave part of it to my hunter neighbor to encourage more of his gifts. Turned out very nice.

As soon as my stuff comes from Butcher and Packer, I'm making the pepperone. I happen to have a wine cellar with the perfect temp and humidity this time of year. Can't wait!

So far I've given 2 friends their own copy. There should be some sort of "Buy 3 get one free" offer!

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QUOTE(melkor @ Dec 28 2005, 05:01 PM)

the dogs had a texture I wasn't fond of.  In a bun they are fine but on their own they are too soft. I suspect the 5 minute paddling time incorporated too much air into the forcemeat - next time I think we'll stop after 2 minutes.

*

QUOTE(Michael Ruhlman @ Jan 3 2006, 06:28 AM)

I know what you mean about the texture. It doesn't sound like a broken forcemeat. with home equipment, it's hard to get that really tight almost rubbery feel you get from vienna hot dogs. they use high powered choppers. Next time you do an emulsified, try reducing the water and the fat a little.

*

I'm not sure if this has been said previously and I've only just ordered Michaels book over the net so I'm not sure on what the recipe says but another way of getting a texture more similar to the emulsion sausages is to put the meat through the mincer 3 or 4 times, maybe up to 5 times. I know this is time consuming but that is what some butchers here in Australia do to avoid spending significant amounts of money on bowl cutters. You will not get a perfect emulsion but it will be significantly better than one grind and a mix. The other thing is to keep the mix very cold.

If I haven't repeated something someone has already said, I hope this is of help!

Cheers,

Doc-G


Edited by Doc-G (log)

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Once again, my appologies for not getting the pictures...but I just pulled the herb brined turkey breast from the Bradley Smoker today....Wow...I never, ever, would have believed that turkey could taste like this. What a wonderful treat!

I was hooked just reading the book, but now I'm REALLY hooked.

This is great fun!

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Here's hoping someone can help me. I have Charcuterie (what a marvellous book!) and fresh pork belly is on sale this week so I thought I would try my hand at some bacon. However, the only thing I could source locally that approaches "pink salt" is a package of READYCURE. The ingredients are: Salt, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Bicarbonate.

The instructions on the package (which must be refrigerated??) are as follows:

For pumping, use 12Kg TO 100 litres of water or 12lbs to 10 galls water. Pump 15-20%. For cover pickle, use 4Kg to 100 litres of water plus 6Kg of salt or 4lbs to 10 gallons of water plus 6 lbs salt. For dry cure, use 2lbs to 100 lbs of meat or 2Kg to 100 Kg meat.

Anyone know if I can follow the instructions in Charcuterie and treat this as pink salt?

Would I need to adjust the proportions in the book?

Why does it have to be refrigerated? How long is it good for if refrigerated?

Many thanks.

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hi anna,

i don't know what readycure is, why there is bicarb in it or why it should be refrigerated. is it pink? does it say the percentage of nitrite in it? if it's 6.25%, then you can use as is. if it doesn't you probably can anyway--the ratios you give make it sound weaker than sodium nitrite here. or you can omit it altogether, you will still have tasty cured belly, though i'd go with a more savory pancetta style cure. in the future get pink salt for a buck fifty from butcher-packer.com.

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hi anna,

i don't know what readycure is, why there is bicarb in it or why it should be refrigerated.  is it pink? does it say the percentage of nitrite in it?  if it's 6.25%, then you can use as is.  if it doesn't you probably can anyway--the ratios you give make it sound weaker than sodium nitrite here. or you can omit it altogether, you will still have tasty cured belly, though i'd go with a more savory pancetta style cure.  in the future get pink salt for a buck fifty from butcher-packer.com.

Thank you Michael. It does not say the percentage of nitrite - I have given everything I can find on the package regarding ingredients, etc. No, it is not pink. I now realize that the package itself says nothing about refrigeration - that is on the price sticker from the supermarket.

Purchasing on-line from the USA is often much more difficult than it should be!

This "salt" was on display next to the sausage casings, pork butt, etc. in a display to promote sausage making. I will omit it this time until I can find out more info and have another look at the pancetta-style cure. Your response is very greatly appreciated and I LOVE the book!

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Made the Chicken Sausage with Basil and Tomatoes. These are quite incredible. I have no sausage stuffer and am not at all sure that I can handle those casings :hmmm: so I made patties. These were incredibly easy to make. I must have learned a lot from this book because my last attempt at sausage was a disaster! Thanks Michael and Brian.

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that's my favorite sausage in the book, a delicious creation from brian. i'm especially glad to hear you didn't feel that you had to use casings. they're awesome in casings, cooked gently over hot coals, but this sausage would be great with pasta as well with diced tomato and more fresh basil.

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I had a 4 duck weekend. Fter reading the book I went to my poulterer at eastern market. Cut off the breasts and froze them. Cured and confited the legs using a modified version of the one in the book. Made a liver spread, cured and confited the giblets and made them into a stew using a recipe I found in nose to tail eating. Oh and duck bones make a stock you won't believe.

Thanks for writing the book

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I just got my own copy of Charcuterie and I'm totally pumped to get started with it. My first projects are likely to be bacon or pancetta, corned beef, and duck prosciutto-- then I hope to move into sausage. I've already had the pleasure of confiting my own duck and pork and making gravlax, but otherwise I'm a total newbie.

The book is a pleasure to read. I can't think of another cookbook that presents a cooking art with such romantic flair. When you open Charcuterie, you really get swept up into the historical significance of the methods described, and feel a connection to people who lived not so long ago, but who seem another species entirely from the supermarket shoppers of today. Congrats to the authors. Beautiful work.

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I just got my own copy of Charcuterie and I'm totally pumped to get started with it.  My first projects are likely to be bacon or pancetta, corned beef, and duck prosciutto-- then I hope to move into sausage.  I've already had the pleasure of confiting my own duck and pork and making gravlax, but otherwise I'm a total newbie.

The book is a pleasure to read.  I can't think of another cookbook that presents a cooking art with such romantic flair.  When you open Charcuterie, you really get swept up into the historical significance of the methods described, and feel a connection to people who lived not so long ago, but who seem another species entirely from the supermarket shoppers of today.  Congrats to the authors.  Beautiful work.

Yes! The introductory portions of the book are a real pep-talk, so to speak.

I just ordered 2 pork bellies from my butcher and plan to start up with some bacon and some pancetta this weekend. I also found the grinder attachment for my Kitchen-Aid -- still in virgin condition in its unopened box. I knew that someday I'd be happy I picked it up for half price at that Chef's Catalog warehouse sale. That day is now rapidly approaching. :smile:

=R=

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While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?

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I just ordered my pink salt, so I guess I'll have to temper my enthusiasm for a few days.

I also went ahead and ordered this meat grinder. Seems like a bargain at $1390.00. I figure it's big enough to double as an activity table for my kids.

Just kidding.

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While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?

It depends. Naturally raised pork will have a better meat to fat ratio, taste better, and be better for you. Factory raised pork, though, will still taste fine.

If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

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However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order.

If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

You said it, man. I didn't.

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However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order.

If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

You said it, man. I didn't.

My butcher asked me if I wanted them with the ribs still on. He's a good person! :smile:

=R=

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There are cuts my butcher won't get because he has to order 30 at a time.

While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?

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We made another batch of merguez yesterday, this time using lamb fat in place of rendered beef fat (which was in place of the pork fat in the recipe). The lamb fat was cut into 1/4 cubes and partially frozen before grinding with the fine blade, the end result was far better than the previous attempt. In place of the water the recipe calls for we used more wine. This batch came out quite well.

The duck sacussion sec from mid-december is at the proper weight, but it still feels quite moist so it'll continue to hang for another week or two.

More brisket is curing for pastrami in the fridge at the moment, this time without the white sugar - though the brown sugar and honey are still in there. After 4 days last time the meat still had a small uncured section in the center - this time I'll give it 5 or 6 days in the cure.

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Over here I posed a general query about the DeLonghi meat grinder attachment, but have seen no responses. Anybody on this thread have an opinion about it?

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