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


FoodMan
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Abra, I've ordered a whole skin on belly (apparently my local butcher shop normally carries them but is out right now) and they also carry all sorts of the curing agents as well as casings.

I've been plowing through my copy, and my first projects, I think will be bacon and that chicken/tomato/basil sausage. I don't have a meat grinder or stuffer (yet), but think I'll try and borrow one to tide me over until I get to the cabin and retrieve the one that's up there.

I'm going to hold off on the air cured stuff until I can figure out a place in which to do it.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I got a pork belly from a pig that was raised on goat's milk whey and hazelnuts. It's curing right now and will soon be smoked. Looking forward to it.

I made tasso last week in time for Mardi Gras Jambalaya. Yum!

Also a chicken, blue cheese, celery and hot pepper sausage....not from the book, but once you get started you can't stop!

My peperone is all done and almost all gone. Guess I need to start a new batch soon.

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Abra, I've ordered a whole skin on belly (apparently my local butcher shop normally carries them but is out right now) and they also carry all sorts of the curing agents as well as casings.

I've been plowing through my copy, and my first projects, I think will be bacon and that chicken/tomato/basil sausage.  I don't have a meat grinder or stuffer (yet), but think I'll try and borrow one to tide me over until I get to the cabin and retrieve the one that's up there.

I'm going to hold off on the air cured stuff until I can figure out a place in which to do it.

Susan, I made the chicken/tomato/basil sausage but I too lack the stuffer and just made patties - they were really good. I froze some and served them a week or so ago with pasta instead of meatballs - very yummy. You will still need the grinder though!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Elie, that pancetta looks great.

And that lop yuk looks beyond delicious!  Chris, did you ever re-do the recipe to include a brining step?  I'm off to the market to talk with my butcher about pork bellies.  I know to ask for skin on, and I thought I saw "ribs on" too in the book, but I don't see them in anyone's photos.  Is that a problem?

For my second batch (upstairs as I type) I stuck to the basic recipe, upping the sugar a tad but otherwise keeping all the ratios the same. I didn't brine because, well, when I went back to the shop the week after I delivered my lop yuk, I got praised to the skies. :blush: Turns out the brining wasn't necessary after all! I didn't want to screw around with salinity too much, particularly with a brine solution.

As for "ribs on," the pork bellies I've been getting have been boned.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've been thinking bacon, too.  But last night I made a fabulous Carbonara with some Armandino Batali-cured guanciale, so that's on my mind too.  And that lop yuk looks beyond delicious!  Chris, did you ever re-do the recipe to include a brining step?  I'm off to the market to talk with my butcher about pork bellies.  I know to ask for skin on, and I thought I saw "ribs on" too in the book, but I don't see them in anyone's photos.  Is that a problem?

When I asked my butcher for pork bellies, he asked me if I want the ribs on. I've never taken the bellies that way because I'm not sure they'd be easy to cure in a 2-gallon ziploc baggie (while still attached to the belly). As far as I can foresee, that would be the only problem as it pertains to the method laid out in the book.

Elie, that pancetta looks great. Did you follow the recipe in the book exactly?

=R=

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

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I consider it a lucky day when i get a belly with the ribs attached. Braise or slow roast separately. no wonder spare ribs are so good, nestled as they are against the belly that is so good. also, the diaphragm will be attached to these ribs, the striated skirt steak, sooo good, rib meat without the bone.

also, someone mentioned guanciale uptherad. niman often has hog jowl. the pancetta cure works great with this and because it's so thin, it dries very quickly and keeps forever.

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Has anyone made corned beef?

My husband & I would like to make our own corned beef for St. Patrick's Day, but we are unsure as to how much pink salt to use. I'm ordering Prague Powder, and the seller says that 1 oz. of prague powder will cure 25 lbs of meat. However, the Charcuterie book says to use 1 oz of pink salt for every 5 lbs. of beef brisket. (We have an 8 lb brisket.) Do you think 1.5 oz would be an OK amount to put into the brining solution? Perhaps 1.75 oz?

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I've had much more trouble getting the brine to penetrate thicker sections of brisket than I've had with the brine being too weak. I made a double-strength brine and had the same results as single-strength. As long as you've got the meat completely submerged in the brine it should be fine. The cure seems to take 7-14 days rather than the 3 the book suggests and I'd suggest leaving out the white sugar and cutting back on the brown sugar & honey.

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Quick question for you sausage makers:

I'm doing the basic garlic sausage but I don't plan to stuff it into casings. I'd like to use it loose. If I'm not stuffing, do I still do the "primary bind" paddle mixing step?

By the way, the basic garlic sausage has mutated into Chad's X-Treme Garlic Pepper Sausage. It was a mistake, but a darn tasty one. I'll fill you in shortly.

In the meantime, mix or no mix?

Thanks!

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I've been thinking bacon, too.  But last night I made a fabulous Carbonara with some Armandino Batali-cured guanciale, so that's on my mind too.  And that lop yuk looks beyond delicious!  Chris, did you ever re-do the recipe to include a brining step?  I'm off to the market to talk with my butcher about pork bellies.  I know to ask for skin on, and I thought I saw "ribs on" too in the book, but I don't see them in anyone's photos.  Is that a problem?

When I asked my butcher for pork bellies, he asked me if I want the ribs on. I've never taken the bellies that way because I'm not sure they'd be easy to cure in a 2-gallon ziploc baggie (while still attached to the belly). As far as I can foresee, that would be the only problem as it pertains to the method laid out in the book.

Elie, that pancetta looks great. Did you follow the recipe in the book exactly?

=R=

Yeap, I followed the recipe exactly and am very happy with the result. I did find it tricky to remove the skin though. Currently I am awaiting my butcher to give me a call to come pick up some fresh prok bellies, planning to make more pancetta and a good batch of smoked bacon.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Many thanks, Melkor!  I may post pictures of our progress & results later on. :)

Great, I'd love to see the pics! I've got a bunch of brisket curing in the fridge - some of it will end up as corned beef, the rest as pastrami. If you've got a smoker and don't need all 7 pounds of corned beef, you might try smoking part of the cured brisket to make pastrami.

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Great, I'd love to see the pics!  I've got a bunch of brisket curing in the fridge - some of it will end up as corned beef, the rest as pastrami.  If you've got a smoker and don't need all 7 pounds of corned beef, you might try smoking part of the cured brisket to make pastrami.

Do you use the same spices (pickling & all) in the brined corned beef as you do in the pastrami? I guess I knew they were both brisket, but thought they were spiced differently.

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Great, I'd love to see the pics!  I've got a bunch of brisket curing in the fridge - some of it will end up as corned beef, the rest as pastrami.  If you've got a smoker and don't need all 7 pounds of corned beef, you might try smoking part of the cured brisket to make pastrami.

Do you use the same spices (pickling & all) in the brined corned beef as you do in the pastrami? I guess I knew they were both brisket, but thought they were spiced differently.

There's not a lot of difference in the spice, the biggest difference comes from the fact that pastrami is smoked and corned beef isn't.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I've made the duck prosciutto from Charcuterie and it has turned out

very well. The only thing different I did was instead of white pepper

I used black pepper on one breast and hot smoked Spanish paprika

on the second. Very pleased with the results.

I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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I've had much more trouble getting the brine to penetrate thicker sections of brisket than I've had with the brine being too weak.  I made a double-strength brine and had the same results as single-strength.  As long as you've got the meat completely submerged in the brine it should be fine. The cure seems to take 7-14 days rather than the 3 the book suggests and I'd suggest leaving out the white sugar and cutting back on the brown sugar & honey.

As I noted above, I made the corned beef following the recipe exactly and I thought it came out wonderfully. I don't have the book with me, but I believe it calls for a five day cure, not three, and my brisket didn't need any more time. I also wouldn't change the amount of sugar, but that's just personal taste.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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The book calls for 5 days for corned beef and 3 for pastrami, it also uses 1/2 cup of white sugar in the corned beef compared to a cup of white sugar, half a cup of brown sugar, and a quarter cup of honey for the pastrami. Which recipe did you follow?

I've got no explanation for why the book uses a longer cure for the corned beef. I've been working with 20lb whole briskets and scaling the brine and adjusting the curing time accordingly.

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Just made some Maple cured smoked bacon.

I started with a pork belly.

bacon1.jpg

This was then cryovaced for two weeks with a mixture of salt, brown sugar, maple syrup and sodium nitrite.

bacon2.jpg

After being cured, the belly looks like this.

The meat has a more translucent look from the cure and has taken on more colour from the addition of nitrites.

bacon3.jpg

The belly was then placed in the smoke oven at 30 degrees centigrade for four hours. This is to dry out the meat a little to allow the smoke to adhere to the meat by forming what is known as a pellicle. If the meat is too wet, the smoke will not attach itself to the meat.

bacon5.jpg

After this, the belly was smoked with redgum sawdust at 85 degrees centigrade until the internal temperature of the belly reached 68 degrees centigrade. When it came out, it looked spectacular as can be seen in the two pictures below.

bacon6.jpg

bacon7.jpg

After placing the belly in a cooler for 24 hours and the bacon reaching an internal temperature of less than 4 degrees centigrade, it was ready to slice and eat.

bacon8.jpg

Conclusions

This bacon was very easy to make and similar results could be achieved merely with the use of an oven rather than a dedicated smoke oven.

The recipe called for approximately 15g/kg salt. By Australian standards this is very lightly salted for a bacon. The results confirmed this with nearly everyone who tried it saying it was not salty enough except for one person who was known for not liking things with any salt added. Next time I make it, I will add closer to 22g/kg salt to the cure. Some people also said it was a little sweet although not overpowering. This was acceptable given that it was a sweet maple cured bacon.

Edited by Doc-G (log)
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The book calls for 5 days for corned beef and 3 for pastrami, it also uses 1/2 cup of white sugar in the corned beef compared to a cup of white sugar, half a cup of brown sugar, and a quarter cup of honey for the pastrami.  Which recipe did you follow?

I made corned beef. I thought you were replying to a question about corned beef, not pastrami. That explains why you mentioned more sugar than I remembered putting in. I thought the amount in the corned beef recipe was good. It does sound like there's a lot in the pastrami.

I agree with you: I can't see why a brisket would need a longer cure for corned beef than pastrami. Maybe Michael can tell us.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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