Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Charcuterie 101 - Pudding, Salmon and Kebabs! Oh My!

ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All BaconsAzusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
edited June 28 in Help / Advice Forum
Greetings folks!

Many a month I've lurked on these boards and perused the advice and questions that have been posed and I have to say it is indeed a great place to get a different perspective on pretty much all that ails us (and all that doesn't).

Anyhow, I figured I'd give back a bit and post an advice thread for once with encouragement to contribute by all who would like to! This thread topic, which is near and dear to my heart, involves a style of cooking I've recently discovered, namely, Charcuterie!

What pray tell is Charcuterie? Charcuterie is the wonderful art of preparing, preserving, curing, or smoking meats and other various items into forms that both heighten and change their flavor but also preserve them in more flavorful ways than modern day preservation methods. A wee bit of history will help.

This art of preserving food originated mainly in the 15th century in Europe, particularly in France as a means to preserve and prepare various parts of the Pig when it was slaughtered. Since food was much harder to come by in those days and selling raw pork at the time was forbidden, utilizing as much of the hog as possible and making it last turned into a profession that came to designate a variety of Craftsmen that were responsible for the regulation and production of pork products for most of France in that time period. Or in a word, Charcutiers. Originally this craft focused exclusively on the pig and its byproducts, but over time it has encompassed a large variety of meat products that would benefit, or require preservation and alternative preparation.

So why, may you ask, in this day and age would we need to concern ourselves with this art when we have so many different ways of preserving all our foods? Well in a word, "taste". After experimenting a few times with just different types of bacon and jerky I've found that the extra effort is well worth it in terms of taste and variety. Particularly bacon, I've found I can't stand store bought stuff anymore as it just doesn't do the fresh stuff justice!


So anyhow, I'll keep this thread to the point and on topic, I'll post a few recipes first to give you an idea, plus I'll include links to various sites around the internet to pick up some supplies I've found useful. If anything I can suggest, please don't be daunted by this type of cooking! Aside from sausage preparations and a few specific recipes for dried hams, most of these recipes require little more than ingredients, some Ziploc bags and patience.

Ah yes, before we truly begin, a word on that last bit. The majority of these recipes are not "quick" or "30 Minute Meals" by any stretch of the imagination, the shortest recipe takes on average about a couple of days, with some of the more advanced recipes up to a year. With these kinds of time frames it can be kind of obvious why this craft has disappeared from the modern kitchen, but the style and the results still don't make it any less relevant!

Alrighty then! Let's begin!

This post I'm going to initially focus on the easier recipes that I've actually managed to complete and post the pics that accompany them. We'll start with the least labor intensive recipes concerning Bacon and Brining and graduate eventually to more advanced techniques that cover Jerky and Sausage making as well! All in all, the ride will be delicious!

Quick edit!

Decided I'd hotlink the instructions/recipes here to the Original Post since I see this is going to be a rather large thread as time goes on.

Bacon Intro
Adding Flavor to your Bacon
Bacon Recipes- Preparing the Bacon at Last...
Brining Part 1
Brining Part 2
Preparing Jerky - Intro and the Cure
Preparing Jerky - The Meat
Preparing Jerky - The Equipment and Drying Techniques
Preparing Jerky - Preparing it! (Finally)
Superzero115's Duck/Chicken Confit Recipe
Beyond the Basics - Combining Brining, Smoking, and Air Drying Intro
Pancetta - Intro, Prep, and Cure
Air Drying the Pancetta
Using Pancetta - Recipes, Techniques and Advice
Quick Guanciale Recipe per Reader Request
From Brine to Smoke - Intro to Pastrami and Corned Beef
Corned Beef Recipe and Techniques
Pastrami Recipe and Techniques
Pics of the Juicy Pastrami Glory!
General Lamb Cooking Advice
The Portal of Doom and Sausagery - Innuendo and Sausage Making Guide...
Better Homes and Gardens Chili Recipe
LTTP Holiday Eating Edition
Balsamic Beef Recipe
Tactical Turkey Frying
Pulled Pork
Deep Fried Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls
Smoker? I hardly Knew her!
Credits and Web-Links

Thegreatcow on
«1345678

Posts

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    BACON

    By far the easiest of the recipes to do and to learn, it also can be QUITE versatile. Bacon will absorb most any flavor you decide to work with but not so much so that the delicious meaty flavor will get overburdened (only if you let it really). To start you’ll need to create a “cure”, or a mixture of various salt and preservative agents that will form the base of what will turn raw pork belly into bacon:


    1st Note: About the measurements, be particularly careful with measuring the dry ingredients, particularly the salt. Different salts and sugars will measure differently so for all recipes I use Morton’s Kosher Salt whenever I reference any “salt” and use plain Granulated sugar and Plain Brown Sugar when I reference those two as well. When in doubt, measure salt by WEIGHT not by the measuring device.

    2nd Note: You’ll also see an ingredient frequently pop up here called “Pink Salt” (AKA Tinted Cure, DQ Curing Salt, Tinted Cure #1). Please note this is NOT pink sea salt or red seasoning salt that’s been popping up in upscale supermarkets and delis. This is a specially designed preservative agent that’s basically normal salt laced with Sodium Nitrate at 6.25% strength. The reason for being called “Pink Salt” will become obvious when you see it. It really is dyed pink for safety reasons; this stuff is quite toxic in its raw form. See the addendum at the bottom regarding this salt and Nitrate concerns.


    The Basic Dry Cure

    1 Pound/ 450 Grams Kosher Salt
    8 Ounces/225 Grams Sugar
    2 Ounces/50 Grams Pink Salt
    (10 Teaspoons) – See Addendum


    This will form the backbone of most of your dry cures, particularly for bacon. Also note, this recipe will actually cure quite a LARGE quantity of meat, only about 2 OUNCES of this cure is necessary to cure 5 POUNDS of Pork Belly so definitely the phrase “less is more” applies!

    Now, from here you’re pretty much limited to your imagination and your preferences with your bacon. The bacon cured with this cure will taste delicious on its own; it will have a delightfully intense flavor that will definitely jump out at you when you finish the curing process, which I’ll explain in just a bit.

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited June 28
    Adding Flavor to your Bacon

    At this point, if you don't want to go with plain bacon, this is the step where you get to add your aromatics, flavorings, and seasonings to your bacon. The key thing to remember here is once again "less is more". These flavors are going to be in contact with the bacon for about 7 days, which means they will get quite mashed in to the flavor of the bacon. If you're looking for sweeter bacon try adding/mixing in any or combine some of the following:

    ½ Cup/125 Milliliters Maple Syrup
    ½ Cup/125 Grams Brown Sugar
    (Opt) 1 Chopped Granny Smith Apple

    If you're looking for a more "Savory" cure try the following:

    3-5 Cloves Crushed Garlic
    2-3 Bay leaves crushed
    1/8th Cup Crushed whole Peppercorns

    These are only just starting ideas so go hog wild with them! :smiley:


    3 Different ways of Baconing!


    I've included here a pictorial description of how I created three different bacons this 4th of July Weekend.


    First I started out with several Dry Ingredients to make my base cure, look further up the post to see the exact measurements I used:


    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040070.jpg
    Here's My Kosher Salt

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040069.jpg
    Some Sugar as well, plain old Granulated works fine, but dextrose sugar will work well in a pinch.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040062.jpg
    Aaaand the pink salt! As I mentioned before, it's called pink salt, because well...it really is pink! Mainly so you don't accidentally use it! Take care when handling this stuff, make sure to not let it get into your eyes, nose or mouth as it is technically fairly toxic in its raw form like this! D: Since the resultant mixture is enough for large amounts of meat, I end up storing a pre-mixed portion in a large Zip-Loc Freezer bag, you'll want to have several of these handy when you do this as they will be crucial for both storing various dry ingredients and for the curing process itself!
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040068.jpg

    Thegreatcow on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited June 28
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040072.jpg

    Next up we have the pork bellies! The pork belly is a cut of meat with an upper layer of pig skin that is usually viciously scrubbed of bristles and dirt (though some stubble will remain, no worries, once cooked it falls off anyway) that covers a well marbled layer of fat and meat. Look for bellies that have an equal distribution of fat and meat, though I tend to prefer a slighter leaner belly as it cures more easily and is slightly less fattening when cooked. :smiley:

    Sadly Pork Bellies I’ve found as of late are a bit of a bother to get a hold of. Most supermarkets still don’t stock them, (at least in my area anyway :x) so more often than not you’ll have to trudge to an Asian market or specialty butcher shop to get a hold of them. Thankfully this is often well worth the trip as you can often find quite a cool variety of new foods and beverages that you won’t find in your normal corner store.

    So as you see here I’ve got three pork bellies of various sizes and thicknesses. This is mostly unavoidable if you don’t have a specialty butcher shop nearby or a butcher that you’re on good terms with, (well worth the effort in my opinion!) you’ll often end up with slabs of pork belly that don’t follow any uniform thickness or shape. I’m fairly lucky in this case as I’ve got 2 out of my 3 bellies here that are just the right thickness and shape so I don’t have to do anything with them.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040074.jpg

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040076.jpg

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040073.jpg
    The third one unfortunately is a bit thinner and flappier than the other two, so I’ll have to take a bit of extra care with this one.


    What this will mean given the much thinner thickness of the belly is that this one will cure much faster than the other two so I’ll have to keep a much closer eye on it for sure! But I’ll get to that later….


    For ease of use, you’ll want to work with 3-5lb pork bellies, as the following measurements will assume you’re using bellies of that size and weight. Having a kitchen scale is handy for this endeavor. :D

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040079.jpg

    Next, just as a precaution before you start mixing cures and whatnot, you’ll want to measure the size of your bellies so that they’ll fit into their container they’ll be curing in. I prefer to use Ziploc bags as they provide a more suitable container and are less obtuse when storing them in the fridge, so you’ll want to get a hold of one…

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040077.jpg

    …and measure out the belly so you can ensure it will fit properly inside the bag….

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040078.jpg

    If the belly appears to be bigger than the bag, just use a sharp carving knife and trim off the excess so it will fit well inside the Ziploc.

    Thegreatcow on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Ok then! Now we have 3 perfectly appointed bellies, time to get started prepping them for curing! I have here a simple workstation that you'll need to do work. It essentially consists of a non-reactive metal pan I'm going to use to "dredge" the belly in the cure and a cutting board to hold the bag and the meat once I stuff the belly inside. Trust me on using a cutting board. Trying to stuff a salt covered wet belly with curing ingredients WILL get messy and having a cutting board to work on avoids a lot of cleaning up afterwards

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040071.jpg

    Alrighty then, next we'll measure the cure! For a 3-5lb pork belly, about ¼ cup of cure is sufficient to do the job.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040080.jpg


    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040081.jpg

    It comes out to roughly 3 heaping tablespoons, but I prefer to measure it out anyway :) .

    Next, take your metal dredging pan and pour about half the cure into the bottom...

    Throw the belly on top...

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040082.jpg

    ...and throw the rest of the cure on top of the belly.

    Rub the cure all over the belly, taking care to make sure the sides get a good rubbing as well. By the time you're done, (should only take a few seconds) the belly should look something like this as the salt has already started to parch the liquid from the meat...

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040083.jpg

    Taking care to keep as much of the cure on as possible, gently lay the belly into the Ziploc bag and use a paper towel to mop up any salt flecks that might have gotten in-between the Ziploc parts.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040084.jpg

    This first belly is the lower quality, thinner, flappier one that I mentioned earlier. Since I don't think this particular belly is going to come out all that well, I'm going to experiment with this belly a tad and see what happens! :mrgreen:

    I'm going to try for a "Teriyaki Bacon" here, so I'll start with some sweet teriyaki sauce or 'Yoshida Sauc' as I often end up using:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040085.jpg

    Next, I'm going to dash in some Tonkatsu sauce (a very vinegary piquant teriyakish sauce that's often used with Panko-fried foods in Japanese Cuisine) and some Worchestshire sauce as well...

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040087.jpg

    All in all, about ¼ cup of mixture that I'll pour into the bag along with the cured belly...

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040088.jpg

    I try not to exceed more than ¼ cup of extra curing ingredients in general as they're going to be sitting there with the curing salt for nearly a week depending on thickness so as I mentioned earlier "a little goes a long way". Now, try to press out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it. Shift the liquid around so it evenly coats the belly and set it aside. There we go! One down two to go!

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040089.jpg

    The subsequent ones were easier as I now had everything out and ready to go. Once again, we get a fresh belly and proceed to place it in the dredging pan and coat it evenly with a ¼ cup of the Basic Cure, and place it neatly inside another Ziploc:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040090.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040091.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040092.jpg


    This time I'm going to shoot for smokier, more savory bacon. Thankfully the place where I get most of my curing ingredients caries a lot of pre-mixed herb and spice blends so erring on the side of lazy, I decided to make good use of a Cajun spice blend that makes good use of sugar and paprika here, 3 heaping tablespoons should do the trick!:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040066.jpg

    However as I said before, you really are limited to your imagination when it comes to herb and spice blends, and most any store bought ones will do just fine!

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040070.jpg

    However, a word of caution on any pre-mixed spice blends, take care to use spice blends that are only spices, or specifically say "NO SALT" or "NO SALT ADDED" as the Basic Cure will already suffice for the salt and adding more will over-cure the bacon and you'll have to blanch it before you can actually eat it (which is a pain in the rear let me tell you!)

    Still, while the pre-mix is great, Ij'm going to go a step further and a teaspoon or two each of Minced Garlic:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040061.jpg

    ...some minced onion:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040065.jpg

    and just a pinch, (and I do mean PINCH!) of chili flakes for a bit of bite.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040096.jpg

    Get them all together in a bowl:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040094.jpg
    ...and mix well:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040095.jpg

    Should come out to about a ¼ cup of dry mixture as well.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040097.jpg

    Now you'll really see how things can get messy, add the dry rub evenly to both sides of the belly in the bag and make sure to rub it evenly:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040100.jpg

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040099.jpg
    Messy!

    And that's belly # 2 down!

    Finally, for the 3rd belly, I'm going to go for a more sweet bacon. This variety suits more of a breakfast environment where it can be paired with waffles and maple syrup. Yum!

    Same as before, basic cure, rub all over, shove in a bag...wow if this wasn't a cooking thread that would sound horribly inappropriate out of this thread...ah well...

    Now that I have the bacon in the bag, I'm going to add ¼ cup of Brown Sugar:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040101.jpg

    ...and about 4 tablespoons of Honey, any variety is fine:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040102.jpg

    Once again, evenly distribute the mixture on both sides of the belly:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040103.jpg

    ...and there we have it!


    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P7040104.jpg
    3 Bellys ready rock! Or cure rather...

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Anyhow, now comes the actual curing part. With the three bellies safely sealed in their Ziploc bags, take them inside the refrigerator and place them flat down somewhere safely in the fridge that will guard against leaks (putting all of them in a plastic shopping bag is also a good idea in case of a freak leak).


    Preparing the Bacon at Last


    On average, a pork belly will have to cure for about 7 days to fully finish curing. However this can vary as I mentioned before depending on the cure type and also the thickness of the belly itself. Every day you’ll want to check the belly and flip them over (“overhauling” as it’s also known, yes it really is called that). A fully cured belly will be fairly firm (like a well done steak) and give a good amount of resistance when pressed with a finger. Once they’ve reached their cured state, you now have several options.

    #1 You can technically cook and serve the bacon as it is, that is to say, as soon as it finishes curing. It will be at its freshest now and will have a very delicate pork flavor, commingled with the cure ingredients. Remove the pig skin first, and simply fry or bake strips of the belly and you’re good to go! However, leaving the belly this way will also cause the belly to go bad the fastest so I generally don’t recommend it.

    #2 If you have a smoker, this is the preferable method to prepare the bacon. Simply prep your smoker however you set it up and set it for “hot” smoking or smoking at it’s highest setting, which is usually in the neighborhood of 180-200 degrees F. You’ll want to smoke the bellies for approximately 2-4 hours depending on how moist you want your bacon. Generally 2-3 hours is fine, but if you want your bacon to last longer after cooking, smoking it longer will result in more intense smoky flavor. Make sure the internal temperature of the belly reaches at least 160 degrees, which will designate that it has been properly cooked.

    Please note as Superzero115 has pointed out:

    Just a slight addition to the wonderful OP.

    Before you begin to smoke your bacon, you want to rinse the cure off from the belly and allow it to sit for 2-4 hours before you smoke. Resting the meat will allow a pelicle to form which is what the smoke flavor will adhere to. The pelicle is a tacky substance that will rise from the belly, mostly it is the natural sugars being forced from the meat.

    Traditionally you would just set the meat on the counter, but flies and bugs would attract; especially with the sweeter varieties. Today, its easiest to place it on a baking tray, uncovered, and let sit under the fan in the refrigerator. The fan will blow most of the moisture away and leave a better product


    #3 This method also works well if you don’t have a smoker. Simply set your oven to 200 degrees and bake the belly on a tray for about 2-3 hours until the belly reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees just like the smoking method. While this doesn’t impart the smoky flavor that the smoker does, it still does the job. :)

    Also follow Superzero115's advice here as well, make sure to rinse the cured belly of all the detritus and pat it dry and to let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before popping it in the oven.

    Here are some examples of finished bellies from previous attempts just to get an idea of what they should look like.

    This is an example of Oven Cooked bacon:
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P1010086.jpg

    And here I have my attempts at smoked bacon:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P5030024.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P5030023.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P5030022.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P3150153.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/How%20to%20Make%20Bacon/P3150152.jpg


    Once the bacon has reached the proper internal temperature, you’ll want to quickly remove it from the heat and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly so you can handle it. Moving as carefully as you can, you’ll want to start peeling off the pig skin from the top of the belly. It should come off quite easily as long as the belly is still warm, but you can help it along with a thin paring knife. Once the skin is off the bacon is ready! You can slice it super thin and serve it now, or, as I prefer, I usually do a quick fry in the pan afterward to get the usual crisp strip setup that works so well for breakfast and sandwiches.

    And that’s pretty much it for bacon! Hope your bacons come out well as mine did! :D

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited June 28
    BRINING


    My next topic will focus on the deceptively simple technique of Brining. In short, Brining refers to submerging something in heavily salted water. This is an important distinction from marinating as marinades will usually consist of a much greater variety of ingredients and much less salt and water. Brining actually works much more powerfully and effectively than a marinade so some care must be taken to ensure that one does not over-brine something as it is very easy to do so and can ruin your food quite quickly.

    With that in mind, we’ll move quickly to the basics. Pretty much every brine starts with just some salt and water. However after reading up a bit on brines and experimenting a bit, I’ve found that adding some sugar to the brine actually works out better in the end. Namely, the sugar provides a good counterpoint to the salt and keeps the absorption of the salts into the meat in check to a degree. Plus the sugar in the liquid forms a wonderful crispy glaze on the meat when it is cooked or grilled, always a plus in my book. :smiley:

    Here is a basic brine recipe that will work for pretty much any type of meat or fish. Like bacon, this can be referred to as your “base” and you can add herbs and whatnot to suit your tastes. :P

    THE BASIC BRINE

    1 Gallon/4 Liters Water
    1 cup/225 grams Kosher Salt
    ½ cup/125 grams Sugar

    Combine all of the ingredients into a pot and bring to a simmer ensuring that all of the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and chill until brine reaches at least room temperature. (Note: You can add any extra flavorings at any time they will eventually steep into the brine like tea. See below for some seasoning ideas)

    As it says, this will make 1 gallon of brine.

    Now while this may seem like a lot of brine, it actually can be used for almost any size amount of meat, though if you’re only brining one or two chops or drumsticks it can be halved so you don’t waste so much in ingredients. Larger portions of meat, like whole hams or turkeys might require more brine, but it heavily depends on the container they’re being brined in and also the size of the cut of meat itself.

    Equipment-wise, you actually don’t need much to brine your things; all you’ll really need is the following:

    -a large enough container to hold whatever you’re brining and the brine itself.
    -a spot in your refrigerator large enough to hold your container.

    And that’s pretty much it!

    Once you’ve prepared the base brine, you actually now have the opportunity to add in various ingredients to suit your tastes. Your imagination is once again your limit; just follow the same ideas for bacon:

    -avoid extra salt if you can
    -try to add flavors you know will work with the meat you’re brining
    -less is more

    Thegreatcow on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Here are some general guidelines for what you can add to the base brine:


    GENERAL ADDITIONS

    Aromatic Vegetables (Carrots/Onions/Green Onions/Celery all roughly chopped)
    Ginger
    Garlic
    Whole or Cracked Pepper
    Any mix of dried or fresh herbs like Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil

    PORK SEASONINGS (Note that if you are brining pork you’ll also need to add 1 ½ ounces of Pink Salt for each gallon of brine)

    Any of the above, including
    Sage
    Garlic
    Juniper Berries
    Bay Leaves
    Coriander seeds
    Brown Sugar
    Molasses

    POULTRY
    Any of the above including
    Tarragon
    ½ a lemon per gallon of brine

    FISH
    Any of the above, depending on the fish
    Dill
    Lemon

    Once again, these are simply general guidelines, if there is an herb you’ve used before that worked for you, chances are it will work with the brine and the meat you used before. You can add the additions either during the simmer phase or after when the brine is cooling.


    BRINING TIMES

    This is sort of a “moving” target in a sense. The length of time something needs to brine mainly depends on several factors:

    -how long the meat remains in the brine
    -how salty the brine is
    -the overall size of the meat you're brining


    When deciding how long to brine something, always err on the side of shorter brine times rather than longer. Too little seasoning can always be corrected later during the cooking phase, while over-brined items typically require re-brining in fresh unsalted water for several hours to re-balance the salt ratio in the meat or throwing the meat away and starting over.

    Here is a general guideline with regards to various cuts of meat and their respective brine times. Once again, this is assuming using the aforementioned basic brine:

    Boneless Chicken Breasts/Legs avg weight 8 oz per piece – 2 hours
    Pork Chops 1 ½ Inches – 2 Hours
    2 lb Whole Chicken – 4 to 6 Hours
    3-4lb Whole Chicken – 8 to 12 Hours
    Boneless Turkey Breast 4 Inches thick – 12 to 18 Hours
    4 lb Pork Loin – 12 Hours
    10-15lb Turkey – 24 Hours
    15+ lb Turkey – 24 to 36 Hours
    Fish – 1 Hour for Thin Fillets, 6-8 Hours for thicker “Steak”-like cuts like Salmon and Swordfish



    BRINING PROCEDURE

    Now that we have all that out of the way, here’s how you prepare something for brining. For my example, I’m going to use boneless chicken thighs as they’re easy to prepare and only require two hours of overall brining time.

    After preparing my basic brine just as above, I decided to take it a step further. I added a variety of herbs, paprika, rosemary, parsley, orange juice, Worchester sauce, some honey and molasses, about a whole chunk of ginger and 1 whole kiwi. The kiwi is something I discovered recently that is like the ultimate in meat tenderizing. Seriously this thing is so powerful; one teaspoon of minced kiwifruit will tenderize about 5lbs of meat.

    Mixing all the ingredients together, I ensured that the brine was properly chilled.

    Next, I added the boneless chicken pieces straight to the brine. It looks something like this.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Brining/P7050105.jpg

    All Brining MUST be done in the refrigerator. Even though the high salt content will inhibit the formation of bacteria, it is not the same as bacon curing and is not safe in any circumstance to let raw meat sit outside in the brine, particularly if you’re Brining something bigger like a turkey or a whole pork loin roast that will require a day or more of Brining.

    RESTING


    After the brining is complete, you may be tempted to immediately throw it on the grill or in the oven, but try to remember to NOT do this if you can. When meat is directly removed from the brine, it hasn’t had a chance to properly re-distribute the salt through the meat, it’s actually concentrated near the topmost layer of the skin of the meat, which will certainly screw with the flavor of the meat when you try to cook it and eat it.

    Thusly, we need to add an extra step before we can proceed. You’ll need to let the meat “rest” before you actually cook it. I have a set up here for the chicken after it sat in the fridge for about 3 hours.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Brining/P7050107.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Brining/P7050106.jpg

    Now I’m removing the pieces of meat on this drying rack here, I’ve loaded up the rack and left it uncovered so the brine can properly dry on the meat.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Brining/P7050108.jpg

    When letting the meat dry, you’ll also want to let the meat in the fridge as well, so make sure you can find a spot to let the tray sit flat inside the fridge.

    As for how long it should dry, that’s up to you, for smaller cuts of meat like chicken breasts and pork chops, the same amount of time you used for Brining can be used for resting, but letting it sit overnight is ok too. In general the bigger the piece is, the longer it will take to rest, but overall it should not take more than a day for even the largest turkey to fully rest and re-distribute the salt throughout the meat.

    After that, you’re ready to cook! Toss it on the grill or oven and cook as normal. Simply follow the standard cooking times for whatever you’re cooking. You’ll notice now that when the meat cooks it will have a wonderful crispy glazed exterior while the interior will be exceptionally moist and flavorful, moreso then if you just used a basic rub or marinade. If you feel like it you can still brush some barbecue or mopping sauce if you’re doing chops or chicken, but it’s ultimately up to you, most of the time, the meat should cook just fine without any special additions.

    Thegreatcow on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    CREDITS AND LINKS

    I'd definitely like to thank my friend Michael C. who first got me hooked on the idea of making my own bacon and started me onto this type of cooking, but a great deal of the credit for these recipes and techniques comes from the the great chaps who wrote this book:

    Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. I got pretty much all you saw here from this book. Seriously, if you want to read more about this subject, this is the bible, hands down, and it’s a value at 24$. It's available pretty much everywhere cookbooks are sold.

    Alton Brown and "Good Eats" - Ah yes, leave it to Alton Brown to totally re-think the way you think about food. I got some fantastic ideas from this chap, particularly with roasts and Bacon. He is a god, love him, learn from him and absorb his wisdom.
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/good-eats/index.html

    Butcher & Packer Supply Company http://www.butcher-packer.com/ - These folks are fantastic for supplies like Pink Salt and the herb mixes I mentioned earlier. They also sell dried herbs in bulk, such as minced dried garlic and onion which I use almost on a daily basis. If you’re even slightly serious about making your own cured meats, you’ll definitely want to pay this place a visit! You can also purchase the Charcuterie book here as well.
    http://www.butcher-packer.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=667

    Amazon.com - A great source of competitively priced kitchen equipment, I usually head here if there is a particular tool I haven't snagged yet but want to shop around for. Good reviews as well. http://amazon.com


    A NOTE ON PINK SALT AND NITRATES

    As I mentioned earlier, there has been some concern regarding nitrates found in various preserved foods and the potential dangers they present. While I admit that using Pink Salt may not be the most healthy method of ensuring proper preservation of these meats I find it makes quite a big
    difference in the overall quality and appearance of the meats that I use.

    More importantly, if you wish to do any kind of air drying or smoking, you MUST use pink salt or some kind of preservative agent as their main purpose is to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria, more specifically Botulism which thrives in temperatures up to 200 degrees, which is the temperatures that many meats are hot smoked at.

    Also while concerns about nitrates in some cases are valid, the actual amount of nitrates that end up getting into the foods are quite tiny by comparison. Still, if you have concerns or have been advised to avoid nitrates in food in any shape or form, I advise that you consult your health professional before you decide to try these recipes.


    Thank you all once again for looking through this guide and I hope to keep it updated in the future! I’ll be hopping in the thread from time to time to keep it up to date with new stuff.

  • tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    That is quite the OP.

  • DockenDocken Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    BACON FOR THE BACON GOD!

    camo_sig2.png
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2009
    Wow.

    Does jerking fall under your area of expertise? I want someone to teach me how to jerk beef in Scotland with no fancy technology.

  • Sunday_AssassinSunday_Assassin Registered User
    edited July 2009
    tl;dr


    nah, this is actually pretty cool.

  • AridholAridhol Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Holy crap.

    Should I ever need to make my own bacon I know where to go.
    Thanks Thegreatcow.

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Wow.

    Does jerking fall under your area of expertise? I want someone to teach me how to jerk beef in Scotland with no fancy technology.

    Yes jerking, or making Jerky does fall under this purview, I shall have a couple of recipes posted very shortly. :D

    Glad you like the guide!

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    This is the best thread on the internet.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited July 2009
    :^:

    Awesome.

    Signature not found.
  • Lia ParkerLia Parker __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2009
  • ButtcleftButtcleft Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Wow.

    Does jerking fall under your area of expertise? I want someone to teach me how to jerk beef in Scotland with no fancy technology.

    You can make jerky with a few cellulose furnace filters and a box fan.

    Alton Brown is your god for shit like this. :D
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/beef-jerky-recipe/index.html

    that's it, I'm shutting this entire forum down, everyone thank buttcleft
  • starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I was going to post some recipes from my Garde Manger days, but they all make comically large amounts of food and I don't feel like mathing it up to reduce portions. So I will just say this: If you have never brined food, you're not living life correctly. If you are up to the challenge you could even make yuor own corned beef or pastrami. mmm.

    camo_sig2.png
  • Superzero115Superzero115 Registered User
    edited July 2009

    #2 If you have a smoker, this is the preferable method to prepare the bacon. Simply prep your smoker however you set it up and set it for “hot” smoking or smoking at it’s highest setting, which is usually in the neighborhood of 180-200 degrees F. You’ll want to smoke the bellies for approximately 2-4 hours depending on how moist you want your bacon. Generally 2-3 hours is fine, but if you want your bacon to last longer after cooking, smoking it longer will result in more intense smoky flavor. Make sure the internal temperature of the belly reaches at least 160 degrees, which will designate that it has been properly cooked.

    Just a slight addition to the wonderful OP.

    Before you begin to smoke your bacon, you want to rinse the cure off from the belly and allow it to sit for 2-4 hours before you smoke. Resting the meat will allow a pelicle to form which is what the smoke flavor will adhere to. The pelicle is a tacky substance that will rise from the belly, mostly it is the natural sugars being forced from the meat.

    Traditionally you would just set the meat on the counter, but flies and bugs would attract; especially with the sweeter varieties. Today, its easiest to place it on a baking tray, uncovered, and let sit under the fan in the refrigerator. The fan will blow most of the mositure away and leave a better product

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Buttcleft wrote: »
    Wow.

    Does jerking fall under your area of expertise? I want someone to teach me how to jerk beef in Scotland with no fancy technology.

    You can make jerky with a few cellulose furnace filters and a box fan.

    Alton Brown is your god for shit like this. :D
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/beef-jerky-recipe/index.html


    Ahh I was wondering where that episode was! Fantastic Find!

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009

    #2 If you have a smoker, this is the preferable method to prepare the bacon. Simply prep your smoker however you set it up and set it for “hot” smoking or smoking at it’s highest setting, which is usually in the neighborhood of 180-200 degrees F. You’ll want to smoke the bellies for approximately 2-4 hours depending on how moist you want your bacon. Generally 2-3 hours is fine, but if you want your bacon to last longer after cooking, smoking it longer will result in more intense smoky flavor. Make sure the internal temperature of the belly reaches at least 160 degrees, which will designate that it has been properly cooked.

    Just a slight addition to the wonderful OP.

    Before you begin to smoke your bacon, you want to rinse the cure off from the belly and allow it to sit for 2-4 hours before you smoke. Resting the meat will allow a pelicle to form which is what the smoke flavor will adhere to. The pelicle is a tacky substance that will rise from the belly, mostly it is the natural sugars being forced from the meat.

    Traditionally you would just set the meat on the counter, but flies and bugs would attract; especially with the sweeter varieties. Today, its easiest to place it on a baking tray, uncovered, and let sit under the fan in the refrigerator. The fan will blow most of the mositure away and leave a better product


    Ahh thank you very much for reminding me about this! I completely forgot that last step! :mrgreen:

    Appended to the original op!

  • Superzero115Superzero115 Registered User
    edited July 2009
    If you wouldn't mind I'll go find my Duck Confit recipe and post that tonight. Though recently I've just subsituted chicken for the duck, it turns out great.

    Won't have all the fancy pictures, but it'll get the point across!

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    If you wouldn't mind I'll go find my Duck Confit recipe and post that tonight. Though recently I've just subsituted chicken for the duck, it turns out great.

    Won't have all the fancy pictures, but it'll get the point across!

    Sounds great! Can't wait to see it!

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    YOU’RE A JERK! NO, I’M ACTUALLY A CAREFULLY SEASONED AIR-DRIED HUNK OF MEAT…

    Continuing the fun, now we’re going to be tackling the topic of “Jerking” meat, that is, making Jerky.

    Making Jerky, or just the general method of salting and air drying meat has been around as long as civilization has decided that meat was yummy but needed it to last longer. It’s been around in one form or another with varying recipes and procedures for creating the final product. Since covering all types could literally fill several hundred pages, I’m going to distill it down to a general idea.

    Jerky making basically involves taking meat that has very little fat (this is important as I’ll explain later) and exposing it to salt or other preservative agents and then drying it either by air or slow smoking. This process removes a significant portion of water from the meat which thereby inhibits the formation of bacteria and allows meat to remain edible and safe for much longer than if it were kept raw or cooked even.

    Once again, using the elements of Charcuterie I’ve outlined above, you too can make your own Jerky AND have it come out tasting better than anything you’ll find in some gas station convenience store! Onwards then! <3


    PREPARING JERKY – THE CURE

    Once again, as with all preservation methods, Jerky making starts with a base cure. However unlike Bacon and Brining techniques, this base cure is really only necessary if you don’t have anything else around the house. Surprisingly, pretty much almost ANY marinade will do the job for Jerky as you’re going to be using rather tough cuts of meat and then wringing all the moisture out of them as if they were a Chamois (though not literally mind you, god that would be messy! :shock:)

    However for the sake of completeness, here is a base dry cure I got from the Charcuterie book:

    ¾ ounce/20 grams Kosher Salt (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
    1 ¾ teaspoons/5 grams garlic powder
    1 ¾ teaspoons/5 grams onion powder
    ¼ cup/60 grams finally chopped chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce

    (NOTE: This recipe will cure 2 ¼ lbs of meat)

    This will work fantastically for pretty much anything and it comes out with a nice salty, slightly sweet/spicy aftertaste.

    As for me, I discovered a neat trick that works wonders as well given how pedestrian its origins may be. But oftentimes, the simplest solution is often the best!

    I use...*drumroll*….Lawry’s 30 minute Marinades….
    http://www.lawrys.com/Product-Landing/Marinades.aspx

    Yup! I’m serious. 2 standard size bottles of them is enough to marinate and cure 4 lbs of meat! I’m particularly fond of the Teriyaki, Mesquite, and Louisiana Hot varieties (although this is probably more to the fact that my store only carried those types at the time I was prepping the jerky)

    I do however add a few extra steps and add about 2 tablespoons of Pink Salt as an added protective measure to ensure that the Jerky lasts longer and also it seems to enhance the overall taste of the jerky as well.

    I also tend to add extra garlic and onion to my jerky followed by a large helping of minced ginger, but I leave that up to you depending on what your tastes demand. :) See below for the full instruction set as I did it…

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    PREPARING JERKY - THE MEAT

    Selecting meat for Jerky actually does require a bit of care, not any cut will do. When shopping for meat that you want to "jerk" as it were, you actually want to approach it in the opposite way you would normally be purchasing beef for a fine dinner. Namely, you'll want to look for the toughest, leanest cuts possible. The reason for this is that the higher the fat content in your cut of meat, the faster it will spoil. Drying and curing unfortunately does not completely rid the meat of bacteria and having any fat left in the meat will only give it ammunition to spread and fester. While the fattier cuts of meat will result in a more tender piece of jerky, they will also null the whole point of Jerky in the first place, that is to preserve meat and make it last longer.

    So in short, you'll want to seek out the following cuts or varieties of meat:

    -Top Round: This cut I find works the best, it's very lean and more often than not you'll usually find it pre-sliced in supermarkets as it's a very popular stir fry and sandwich meat.

    -Eye of round - Leaner than Top Round and a bit pricier, this is often sold as a large hunk of meat in a roast size, you-ll probably have to slice the meat yourself or ask the butcher to slice it for you. This variety incidentally if you're into that sort of thing, makes good "nugget" style jerky as it is significantly tougher when dried. To make nugget style, simply cut the meat into thick 1/4" patties and when dried, simply dice them into appropriate sized nuggets.

    -Flank Steak/Flap meat - A tough stringy cut of meat, use this only if the other two aren't available at all. While the end result is pretty good, I find the final product using this cut of beef too stringy for my taste and it does have a higher fat content so it will spoil quicker than the other two.

    -London Broil - (Actually a different cut of the Top Round) If you can actually get this meat properly cut and trimmed it works out well too, though be forewarned, most broils are usually sold with a big hunk of fat marbled along it so I don't recommend this cut if you can avoid it. Just make sure to trim all fat if possible and avoid the marbled roasts if you can help it.

    After selecting your cut of meat, either slice it yourself or ask to have it sliced by your butcher to thickness between 1/8" to ¼" inches. This is the optimum thickness to absorb the cure and also dry efficiently. Any thicker and you'll end up with dried beefsteak "cakes" that will be tough as nails and will probably require chopping them down to nuggets to make them more palatable, though that does have its own appeal I suppose... They'll also require an eternity to dry which is another reason to slice them as thin as possible.

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    PREPARING THE JERKY - EQUIPMENT

    Making Jerky does require a bit more effort in the equipment department as if you want it to come out somewhat resembling the nice thin strips of beef we're all so used to seeing, it may be worth it to make an investment in some specialized drying equipment, nevertheless, you can still make do without it as we'll discuss here. :)

    Method #1: Food Dehydrator

    My preferred method above all others is using a Food Dehydrator, after trying out the other methods listed here, nothing else comes close to the results I get with it. The particular model I use is a Nesco Foods FD-61 500 Watt model.
    http://www.nesco.com/category_449f7f01f1ea/product_99de22215c0f/session_398c97595dc4/

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050110.jpg

    It's stupidly simple to use and you can expand it with more trays if you need. They make other models as well, basically making more powerful and larger variants other then the one I listed here. Not to deviate too much from the parent subject but in general if you're in the market for a food dehydrator, shoot for at least 500 watts. The more wattage, the faster your items will dry and the better the unit will perform once you start adding extra trays. Higher end models can have as many as 30(!) trays as part of a single unit so if you're hankering for some hard core dried fruit and meat production, investing in one of the higher end units may be worth your while.

    Now if you're strapped for cash or of the "Kitbashing" inclined, Buttcleft has superb option courtesy of the good old Alton Brown!:
    Buttcleft wrote: »
    Wow.

    Does jerking fall under your area of expertise? I want someone to teach me how to jerk beef in Scotland with no fancy technology.

    You can make jerky with a few cellulose furnace filters and a box fan.

    Alton Brown is your god for shit like this. :D
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/beef-jerky-recipe/index.html

    All in all I heartily recommend using a food dehydrator method if you can swing it!


    Method #2 - Oven Drying

    This option will most likely be the one you fall back upon if you don't have access to a food dehydrator. Using an oven to dry foods does work in a pinch, but it's significantly slower and less efficient than using a dehydrator and infinitely more finicky as well. This has mainly to do with the lack of circulating air in the oven chamber so care must be taken when using this method otherwise you'll end up with partially dried, partially cooked hunks of beef. I tend to avoid oven drying whenever possible, but this mainly has to do with my lack of patience and the age and general disrepair of my kitchen equipment.

    Some general tips:

    -Use a wire rack or tray if possible, you need to have as much exposure to air as possible to ensure even drying
    -Before deciding to use your oven, check to see what the lowest temperature setting the oven can do

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050116.jpg
    A quick look at my oven temp dial...


    Unfortunately, using an oven is right out for me as the lowest it will go is only about 140 degrees which is too high for an environment without any air circulation. You want to shoot for 90 degrees if you're using an oven environment. Higher than that and the Jerky will end up cooking before its dried leaving you with salty leathery skirt steaks instead of jerky.

    -Frequently check on the progress of the Jerky, it's very easy to over dry and overcook items in an oven so extra care must be taken to ensure a good finished product.
    -Have patience. On average for about 2 ¼ lbs of meat you're going to need to run your oven for about 16-20 hours before the meat fully dries(!)

    Method #3 - Smoking

    Unfortunately, this method while potentially being able to produce a wonderful smoked dried treat, has resulted in more destroyed pieces of meat than I care to admit. More a fault of my part and my equipment, smoking your jerky can lead to fantastic results but only if you operate under a ridiculously slim margin of parameters. Basically, like oven drying, using a Smoker requires you to adjust the temperature so it DOES NOT EXCEED 90-100 degrees F. If you let temperature get higher you'll once again end up with leathery cooked skirt steaks that taste revolting and will certainly lead to no short amount of frustration believe me. Even the folks who wrote Charcuterie admit that they only can recommend one smoker that's actually capable of "Cold" smoking or smoking at temperatures of 90-120 degrees. Unfortunately, said smoker is also pretty damn expensive as well. :(

    http://www.bradleysmoker.com/bradley-original-smoker.asp

    So, in short, unless you're using a sophisticated smoker that can operate at those temps reliably or are detail oriented to the point that you can manually adjust the temperature in an electric or charcoal smoker, avoid this prep method if you can. As far as estimated cooking times if you do decide to go with this method, it's really hard to say. Officially jerky at this temperature should dry in about 6-12 hours but I've never really found out to be quite honest. Most of the time I got 2 hours in and found my meat completely destroyed by the over-hot temps inside the smoker. Ah well, I guess I'll figure it out someday.

    Now I suppose I should finally get around to preparing some Jerky eh? Onwards!!!

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited June 28
    PREPARING THE JERKY – PREPARING…THE..UHM…JERKY?

    Hokay then, once you’ve decided your equipment and setting you’ll need to set about actually doing the deed as it were! Once again, I’ll show some pics with explanations on how I did my Jerky making:


    First prepare a large sauce pot that will hold your meat and marinade.

    Next, prepare a 2nd sauce pot for the purpose of mixing your marinade before adding it to the meat. Nothing is more frustrating when you find you’ve already added the meat to the marinade only to find out you forgot to add some spice or seasoning, ‘tis a pain I dare say….

    Using two bottles of Lawry’s 30 Minute Marinades (Mesquite and Teriyaki for reference, they go well together for some reason) I poured those into the 2ND sauce pan.

    Next, I added a generous pinch of minced Garlic and Onion along with a heaping tablespoon of Minced Ginger.

    Finally I added 1 ½ Tablespoons of Pink Salt for extra preservative power. (Note this is optional, but I do think it creates a much more intense flavored jerky when all is said and done, YMMV)

    Mix all of the ingredients together and ensure that they are evenly mixed.

    Prepare your meat.

    I cobbled together about 4lbs of Top Round meat sliced 1/8 of an inch thin. I chopped them into 2-4” long pieces similar to what you see in Jerky Displays and bagged Jerky containers in retail stores. I tossed them all into my large pot.

    Add the marinade. You’ll have to get messy here I’m afraid. Using both hands, massage the marinade throughout the meat so that it evenly distributes throughout the strips of beef.

    Once it is well mixed place it inside the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 24 hours.

    Once a day has passed, remove the meat from the fridge, it should look something like this:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050111.jpg

    Again, you’re going to get messy, here I’m using a food dehydrator so I have it standing next to the pot.

    Using your hands carefully lay the strips of beef on the drying trays evenly spaced throughout each tray. Take care to ensure that the pieces of beef aren’t overlapping each other; this will increase drying time considerably.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050113.jpg
    Don’t mind the grimy looking interior, this was taken just as I had finished a previous batch of jerky, so it does look a bit grody.

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050114.jpg
    Here you can see the beef strips evenly distributed through the tray.

    Same rule applies if you’re using an oven; make sure to spread out your strips evenly on the drying rack so they don’t overlap.

    Once all are laid out, simply seal the dehydrator and let it do its job. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for how long it will take (it varies depending on how powerful the Dehydrator is).

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050115.jpg

    Finished Jerky should be almost completely dry, and very dark, almost brittle. Here is an example of a batch I finished this morning:

    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/Jerky/P7050112.jpg

    You’ll notice some glistening spots on the jerky and the towels. This part is indeed important. When the Jerky is finished you’ll undoubtedly come across a some pooled bits of fat that form when the beef dries out and squeezes the water out of itself. When removing the jerky from the oven or the dehydrator, quickly transfer it to several wrapped paper towels, just as if you were draining Bacon, and drain them for a few minutes. This is an important thing to do because it siphons off those grease pools which will cause the jerky to spoil if they’re left on top of the jerky strips when you store them.

    Finished jerky will keep for about 3-4 weeks outside, several months in the fridge or freezer.

    ENJOY! :smiley:

    Thegreatcow on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Love the guides, but I have a question - kosher salt for bacon curing? What is kosher salt anyway? Is this an essential part of curing pig meat or just an optional point for those who like to selectively use kosher products?

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • TrinisTrinis Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Hmm. No, it being kosher salt has nothing to do with staying kosher for any reason. We're talking about bacon here, right? Pig and kosher eating do not mix, ever.

    Kosher salt is a generally a larger grained salt. Think margarita salt.

    As for this massive amount of great info, thanks a lot thegreatcow. We just brined our first thing a couple weeks ago, a 15 pound turkey, and it turned out great. Looking forward to brining more in the future, and I would love to try making my own pastrami.

  • TinuzTinuz Registered User
    edited July 2009
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Love the guides, but I have a question - kosher salt for bacon curing? What is kosher salt anyway? Is this an essential part of curing pig meat or just an optional point for those who like to selectively use kosher products?

    Mostly, Kosher salt is just sea salt, i.e. no Iodine. Also, the structure of the salt is much more open. Why use this in curing....well, I don't know, never cured a thing in my life

    Quelreth wrote:
    .....when you made it sound like turning on a blacklight in your room would be like setting off a flashbang.
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited June 28
    Tinuz wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Love the guides, but I have a question - kosher salt for bacon curing? What is kosher salt anyway? Is this an essential part of curing pig meat or just an optional point for those who like to selectively use kosher products?

    Mostly, Kosher salt is just sea salt, i.e. no Iodine. Also, the structure of the salt is much more open. Why use this in curing....well, I don't know, never cured a thing in my life

    Aye as others have said, Kosher salt is a larger grain non-iodized salt that provides a much more intense...I guess "salt" flavor with foods. Generally it operates more efficiently when used in a seasoning or curing role, nothing to do with being Kosher per se hehe :smile:

    Thegreatcow on
  • TinuzTinuz Registered User
    edited July 2009
    I just did a little bit of reading...Kosher salt has a more open structure and thus extracts the moisture from meat better. It gets its name because it is used in extracting blood from meat, making it Kosher.

    Quelreth wrote:
    .....when you made it sound like turning on a blacklight in your room would be like setting off a flashbang.
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I had actually wondered about this prior to this thread, thanks for the update

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • BeastehBeasteh THAT WOULD NOT KILL DRACULARegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
  • PasserbyePasserbye The Woman Who Is Not Short at The Moonlite All-Nite Diner; a glass box full of bad food and good people.Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Got any tips on beef salami, or beef preservation in general?

    Also, the brining info is useful, especially for the chicken. Thanks. :)

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Azusa Ca - The Quarry Armpit of AmericaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Passerbye wrote: »
    Got any tips on beef salami, or beef preservation in general?

    Also, the brining info is useful, especially for the chicken. Thanks. :)

    Not a problem! Glad to be of service!

    As for the Beef preservation and Salami methods, Salami unfortunately is a BEAR of a recipe to make properly. I will however still provide the recipe and technique, though I do wish to post the recipes for Pastrami and Corned beef first.

    Salami and any other dried beef/pork sausage in general is a laborious multi-step process that does require a fair amount of prep work and time, but I'll ensure I get a recipe posted up here post haste!

  • PasserbyePasserbye The Woman Who Is Not Short at The Moonlite All-Nite Diner; a glass box full of bad food and good people.Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Huzzah. I don't mind waiting. Looking forward to the Pastrami recipe too, since the hubby loves it. :)

  • Sir Red of the MantiSir Red of the Manti Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    This needs to be pinned somewhere.

«1345678
Sign In or Register to comment.