Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Bresaola

Lest anyone think I just pump out meat haphazardly, most of this meat is spoken for. After so many visits to both my local butcher and salumeria, I have established good relationships with both. This eye round was bestowed upon me by the proprietor of said salumeria. Always asking what I would be doing with so much meat, I explained. Having tasted some of my products, he has given me this eye round and the lonzino previously cured. Anyway, this was cured with the exact cure as the last. It was cured for 2 weeks and cased in another 90mm collagen. It will be hung to dry on Saturday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finally.......the SAUSAGE debauchery

Just realized recently that there is a sausage debauchery sans sausage. So, in honor of the upcoming holiday that is typically synonymous with grilling......we have sausage! Nothing really exciting. This sausage is 80% lean pork butt, 20% back fat. Flavored with Pecorino Romano, fresh parsley, crushed coriander seeds and black pepper, some fresh garlic, salt and white wine. My first opportunity to work with casings from Butcher/Packer. While they are expensive, you can actually feel the quality being so much better than the rubbish purchased in the grocery store. Still managed to pop a link. Fried up a small piece, great flavor. Gonna grill me up a boatload this weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bacons #2 & 3 with a pancetta

The pancetta was cured with juniper, bay, thyme, nutmeg along with salt, sugar and cure #2. Cured for a week, rolled tightly, tied even more tightly and will hang for about 4 weeks. The bacon on top was cured with molasses, real maple syrup and black pepper with salt and cure #1. Cured for a week and smoked for nearly 3 hours. The last bacon was cured with sage, ginger, garlic, pepper, cure #1, salt and sugar. This bacon was smoked just under 2 hours, due it being a whole lot thinner than the other. I took the skin off this piece as I initially planned to roll it for a pancetta, but it was a poor piece to try and roll, so, bacon it would become. I had a little easier time on the smoke this go around. I wrapped some heavily soaked hickory in aluminum foil. This really got the smoke going well and kept the temperature at bay. Nothing left to smoke in my refrigerator. Really like to smoke a speck, I do have that piece of boneless ham hanging in my chamber, any thoughts?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

4 way Bacon

Bought a smoker last week. Purchased exclusively to make bacon, a I've had several requests to make some. But, life outside my little Italian box is verrrrry frightening. I've never smoked anything before, so, I went for an economical version in the case that I just had no patience for it, or I just plain old sucked at it. Anyway, the picture is bacon #1. It is a loose interpretation of Alton Brown's hot pepper brine. I added pink salt and extra hot pepper. It brined for 4 days, instead of the recommended 3. As for the smoking.......I think I need a little more experience, unless this sub $30 smoker is just a bit hard to get down. The smoke would stop every 20-30 minutes when the wood chunks would ignite. I would douse them with water to get the smoke going again, this was the dance for over 2 hours, running out every 10 minutes, to either add more wet wood or douse with water. There has to be an easier way. So, this slab was smoked to waaaaay over 150 degrees, closer to 170. I left the smoker for 15 minutes, when I returned there was no smoke, but flames shooting out the sides. I removed it, cooled it overnight and sliced and ate some this morning. It is still delicious, so, no harm, no foul. Looks like I need more work in the smoking department, good thing I have 2 more bacon slabs to smoke(the 4th way is a pancetta). A little guidance would be appreciated.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

N'Duja fever.....................

............I got it. After all the hubbub created by 2 other bloggers(both listed here),, and, I got myself obsessed with making one. This salame is closer to my heart than others, my mother's parents were immigrants from Calabria, a small village called Santa Cristina. I spent a lot of time with them growing up and seem to remember a spicy salame being consumed on certain occasions. Is this, could this be N'Duja? I have no idea. It's very unlikely and there's no way to verify since neither are with any longer. But, it sounds much more romantic this way, so, I'll say it was. The most difficult part was trying to track down the proper ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to find a 900g can of concentrato di pepperoncino made with peppers from Calabria and Basilicata at my favorite Italian grocer/importer in Brooklyn...........SOLD. I cracked that can open today and tried a tad on my's blisteringly hot. So, with that I started looking through some recipes. I decided to roast up a couple red peppers on the grill as well. Here is what I went with:
1000G pork butt
560G pork belly
440G back fat
650G concentrato di pepperoncino
200G roasted red pepper paste
42.8G salt
7.1G cure #2
2.5G bactoferm f-lc
2.5G dextrose
The entire contents were stuffed into a 90mm collagen casing. I believe I will ferment this for a week @ about 70-75 degrees. It will hang for an indefinite amount of time, most likely 2 months.
BTW, I fried a little up to try, and it is unreal. Never tasted anything like this, very unique.

Guanciali pronti

Here is the finished product from the previous guanciale post. Cured for 1 week, dried in the regular refrigerator for 3 weeks on a rack. Looks perfect, smells excellent. Fried up a piece............ outstanding. In my opinion, pancetta doesn't hold a candle to this lovely beast. Going to use some this weekend in a pasta dish with rosemary and dried apricot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lonzino carousel

Took one out this morning, replaced it with another this afternoon. The finished lonzino was put in on 4/3 after an 11 day cure. I removed it at about 38% loss more than 2 weeks ago, but, it was nowhere near ready. I'm guessing this one to be 45-48% and is still just a touch soft, I'm a little baffled by this one. It was stuffed in a 90mm collagen casing, sprayed with the M-EK-4 mold culture and fermented in the usual fashion. It was cured using rosemary, bay leaves, juniper, salt, pepper, cure #2, sugar and garlic powder. It tastes very good, though not as good as the bresaola. Possibly a touch heavy on the rosemary, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Overall, another successful venture. My first lonzino had a bit of case hardening, showing my inexperience. By the look and taste of this one, it appears I am getting this whole thing dialed in. Thanks again to Jason Molinari for all the hand holding.
The cured-ready to dry lonzino is the finished product seen earlier in the ziploc, stuffed in a 90mm collagen(surprise).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Venison Salame success with one small issue

As you can see by the pictures, the venison salami were quite an extent. The texture is perfect. The taste is very good as well. Garlic, but not too much so. A backdrop of red pepper without being "hot".(A lot was used) Salt content is dead on. Even looks pretty good, too!(I have a slight bias). Anyway, as you can see by the top left picture(had to be taken on a paper towel) I had a slight issue. I'm hoping someone can chime in here. Usually when I make salame and/or salumi using collagen casing, the casing will adhere to and shrink with the particular product. With this salame, I noticed that wasn't the case. The venison salami did develop the usual mold, but didn't "shrink wrap" like it usually does. I didn't go by weight with this salame, because Len Poli's recipe had it being pulled at 25% weight loss. When I pulled one out at 25% weight loss, it was nowhere even close to ready, so, I would go by feel. Well, I pulled one out and cut into it, and this is where it gets a little confusing. It appeared wet between the casing and salame, but not water wet, grease/fat wet. It looked lubricated inside, which is why I would guess the casing didn't adhere properly. I'm puzzled because the venison was extrememly lean, I didn't cut anything off of it, no sinew, fat, nothing. It was so lean I went 30% fat, which isn't abnormal even when using a fattier cut of pork. The salami all seem to be fine, just have to wiped down with a paper towel. These salami were cased in 43mm collagen casings. Lonzino to be cut down tonight!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Che Bella Bresaola!

This was removed just this morning. It looks great, smells wonderfully and tastes pretty good, too(I just ate about 2 oz and had to put it away). I cured this with fresh sage, juniper, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dextrose and cure #2. It was cased in a 90mm collagen casing, then fermented for 48 hours @ 70 degrees. It was then placed in my drying chamber on 4/6. It was removed at about 39% weight loss. This was the first time I used fresh sage in a cure, and certainly not the last, it is really quite delicious. I'm not a real back patter, but, I'm going to go ahead and pat myself.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


This is a pork loin a tad over 3lbs. I went outside the box a little bit here. I used fresh oregano, fresh garlic, dried hot pepper powder from Calabria and lemon zest, along with salt, sugar, black pepper and cure #2. I have no explanation for my recent citrus zest fetish, just hope I haven't ruined a 3lb. lonzino. As you can see, it's thrown off quite a bit of liquid in just 12 hours. My real worry now is that liquid combined with the lemon zest making that liquid acidulated. If that's the case, I'll have 3lbs. of pork loin ceviche instead of lonzino. Keeping my fingers crossed that this cures correctly. I have another lonzino to be removed this week, stay tuned.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Second Chance Salami

Second chance for these same recipes I previously posted. I had issues with both salami, so, I figured I should tweak them each a bit. With the oregano, cardamom, lemon zest, it was the overwhelming cardamom. So, cardamom was decreased by 2/3. Sicilian wild oregano was increased from .33% to .5% and some fresh oregano was added as well. The only change made to this recipe was the welcome find of blood oranges at the supermarket, so, I used blood orange zest in lieu of lemon zest and blood orange juice in the place of the lemon juice.
With the Porcini, sage salame my problem was with it's consistency. It never hardened the way it should have. In fact, my 60mm I made was hung on 3/23 is still hanging, while the 60mm oregano salame hung the same time was removed a week ago. That being said, the taste was so terrific it had to be made again, correctly this time. Looking over my notes, I may have accidentally omitted the dextrose last time, other than that I can't see why it would never harden. Both these salami were stuffed in 70mm collagen casings, sprayed with M-EK-4 mold culture and placed in a tupperware container with the lid closed. The tupperware was placed in the oven with the light on and door ajar where they will stay for 48 hours. The temperature fluctuates between 70-75. The porcini salame is pictured on top.

As requested the following are the ratios used for the porcini salame:


porcini powder-.65%

dry sage-.45%

fresh sage-.3%

black pepper-.26%

fresh garlic-.3%


F-LC starter-.09%

1/4 cup marsala(about 2.5lbs meat)

1/4 cup distilled water in which starter was dissolved