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Charcuterie 101 - The Silence you hear is the meat deliciousifying...

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Posts

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    see317 wrote: »
    Deep Fried Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls - /ohmyyyyyyyyy

    Gaze upon my works ye hungry mortals....and drool....

    These guys are the results of many trials and a love for Costco's chicken Bakes. If you've ever had one, you know about the joyous gooey deliciousness that pervades those amazing creations, and I wanted to replicate it in a more bite sized manner.

    The result? These deep fried balls o' goodness. These things are always requested at pretty much every super bowl get-together that I'm invited to, and they will certainly impress anyone who is not bound by cholesterol restrictions. One of the awesome things about this recipe, besides the taste of the finished creation, is that the balls can be adjusted in size to suit the need. You can form smaller sized balls for appetizers or make larger ones and serve them as an entree over say a nice bed of lettuce or with a side of vegetables and rice. They're very VERY rich and will suit both setups quite nicely! So! Without further ado, lets get started!


    Recipe:

    5lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Finely Chopped
    2lbs of Bacon minced
    1 1/2 cups Ranch Dressing of your choice
    2 Cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese
    3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
    2 Tsp Finely Ground Black Pepper
    2 Tsp Dried Parsley
    (Optional) - 1/4 cup finely minced green onion
    4 cups of Panko Bread crumbs or Crushed Ruffles Potato chips or some combination of your choice.
    Oil for Frying

    Take the minced bacon and fry until crispy and crumbled. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1150.jpg
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    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1152.jpg

    Combine the Bacon and the rest of the ingredients except the Bread crumbs/Crushed potato chips in a large mixing bowl and ensure the ingredients are mixed well. Cover the bowl with saran wrap or foil and place inside your fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight so the ingredients settle.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1154.jpg
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    Remove the mixture from the fridge and prepare your crumb/chip mixture in a separate bowl/tray for dredging.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1156.jpg

    Form the mixture into balls. You can adjust the size depending on the event (smaller for appetizers or larger for an entree) generally speaking this recipe should make about 40-50 golf ball sized balls or 20-30 Tennis Ball sized balls.
    Dredge the balls into the crumb/chip mixture until fully covered. Press the mixture together to ensure proper coverage and set aside on a tray or board.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1157.jpg

    Once all the balls are formed, heat the oil in your fryer or pot to 375 degrees.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1162.jpg

    Frying these guys are a bit trickey due to the high cheese content in them. They have a tendency to stick, even to a deep fryer basket. What I found works is to take a pair of metal tongs and gently lower the balls into the oil with the basket below them rather than lowering the basket itself. This generally reduces the tendency for them to stick.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1163.jpg
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    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1165.jpg

    Fry the balls for about 4 minutes for the smaller ones and 6 minutes for the larger ones. Drain on Paper towels and serve.
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1166.jpg
    http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m115/thegreatcow/IMG_1168.jpg

    These go well with barbecue sauce and especially buffalo wing sauce like Frank's Red Hot.

    And there you have it! Just in time for the upcoming super bowl and march madness!
    Note to self:
    1: Purchase deep fryer
    2: Make chicken balls
    3: Die fat, happy and covered in chicken ball grease.

    So, TheGreatCow, any tips for completing Step 1? What should one look for in a fryer for the home? Good brands to look at? Brands to avoid? Necessary and/or helpful accessories?


    Welp you're pretty much limited to your budget, how often you fry, and what kind of countertop/stovetop you're working with, you've got quite a few options! :D I personally use a Presto DigitalPro Fry and it works pretty darn good given my limited space and how infrequently I fry. It's pretty simple to use and simply built, and while the construction quality is questionable (lots of thin aluminum panels), it's served me well now for 3 years running.

    http://www.amazon.com/Presto-05462-Digital-ProFry-Immersion-Element/dp/B000H91DF0/ref=sr_1_10?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1390286742&sr=1-10&keywords=deep+fryer

    Mainly you want to look at fryers that have good strong elements, like at least 1500watts of power or more and the ability to hold at least 1 gallon of oil at a time. You can kind of kill two birds with one stone if you have the space and splurge for a countertop turkey fryer by Masterbuilt, but they can be pretty unwieldy if you don't have counter-top space.

    http://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-20010611-Butterball-Professional-Electric/dp/B003XJGE2I/ref=sr_1_9?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1390286742&sr=1-9&keywords=deep+fryer

    You'll want to also look for models with variable temperature controls and a good fry basket as well. Different foods will fry at different temps (vegetables lower, meats and seafood higher for example). Overall the brands that I've heard good things about include Presto, Waring and Masterbuilt. There are other heavier-duty restaurant brands available, but they are significantly more expensive, heavier, take up more space etc. If you're frying more than once or twice a month it may be worth it to splurge for a "heavy duty" model, but be prepared to deal with the hell of cleaning and servicing a larger fryer in a home kitchen.

    In addition to any fryer you purchase, to save money on oil costs, I would strongly encourage the purchase of an oil funnel/filter like this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-2-Inch-Stainless-Detachable-Strainer/dp/B00004UE6N/ref=sr_1_4?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1390287365&sr=1-4&keywords=fryer+oil+filter

    Depending on what you fry you can usually safely re-use the oil at least 2-3 times before needing to buy fresh oil and an oil filter like this will do wonders to making sure you keep the crap out of the oil when re-using it. To improve the filtration ability, you can line it with a coffee filter and that should improve the filtration ability of the funnel even more.

    Also, I'd stay away from fryers like this one with built in filter and storage tanks. While the temptation is quite nice to a have an all-in-one storage and filtration system, the seals have a tendency to leak and warp leading to a whole fryer of oil leaking all over the place and one hell of a mess to clean up.
    http://www.amazon.com/Emeril-FR702D001-1-8-Liter-Integrated-Filtration/dp/B0050Z55TQ/ref=sr_1_33?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1390287629&sr=1-33&keywords=deep+fryer

    And that should cover it! I'll try to get working on a Smoker Buying Guide up soon. :)

    bowen
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I gotta get me one of them funnels. Using the cheesecloth method doesn't really work so well once the oil starts to cool. And fuck trying to do it with hot oil.

    The other option is to just use a big pot, fill it with oil, and use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-8FB2-Deep-Basket-9-inch/dp/B00063RXPG/

    Then use something like that with your pot.

    Ladies.
    Thegreatcow
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Smoker? I hardly knew her!

    If you've read the guide, you've probably noticed that I mention making use of a smoker to do a lot of the cooking for several of my creations. Bacon, sausage and Pastrami are all dishes that either benefit or require the use of a smoker.


    So what exactly is a Smoker and How does it differ from a Grill?

    The two devices are actually very similar. The differentiation primarily has to do with the heat source and temperature range. A smoker's main source of heat typically comes from the burning of chunks or chips of wood and allowing the smoke to collect and bring the overall temperature of the cooking area to a maximum of around 250-275 degrees. Any higher than that, and that's usually where you cross in to grill territory. Grills typically derive their source of heat from the active combustion of either charcoal or gas to achieve much higher temperatures than what a smoker can typically achieve.

    The primary advantage of a smoker is the ability to slowly cook meat in such a way that the collagen and proteins in cuts of meat that are normally not be desirable are transformed into soft, meltingly tender creations that make your mouth water.

    Grilling on the other hand rapidly cooks the meat forming that wonderful "sear" that we all love and crave from a good burger or chicken breast. Grilling is typically done very quickly and at very high temperatures. The high heat breaks down the protein somewhat, and the sear traps remaining moisture inside giving us nice crispy outsides and moist tender insides (if done right). If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty of this stuff, AmazingRibs.com has quite a thorough discourse on the magic of meat science here:

    http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/meat_science.html

    Very informative, especially if you're looking to expand your knowledge of barbecue. Anyhow, that's not what this is about, we're talking smokers so lets get to it!


    Smoker Types

    Smokers are typically available in Wood Fired, Charcoal (dedicated smoker barrel units or converted from Weber Charcoal Grills), Propane, Electric, and fairly new to the scene, Pellet.

    We'll go down the list one by one and list the pros and cons and some examples of available models.

    Some of the unifying features to look for across smokers is the ability to refuel the smokebox without opening the smoking chamber itself, (This leads to large drops in temperature and burns more fuel leading to extended cooking times.) some kind of temperature probe built into the smoke chamber (especially important for charcoal/wood/pellet smokers as you want to make sure your temps are where they should be), and easily removable parts and components so they can be cleaned and serviced effectively.

    Thegreatcow on
    ceresbowen
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Wood Fired

    WoodFiredSmoker-oven.jpg

    pitsmoker.jpg

    Wood fired setups are about as simple as they can get. Most are re-purposed kettles or drums hollowed and welded out to allow a base of burning wood/logs to form embers to generate the heat and smoke necessary for proper smoking. Unfortunately the simplicity aspect more or less ends there. Wood fired smokers are by far the most attention/resource/activity intensive method to smoke meat. You will find yourself constantly checking the flames and the wood supply and will often have to remove or add wood to your fire pit in order to properly control your temperature levels. The use of temperature probes is strongly recommended, especially if you're just starting out with this method.

    A lot of wood smoking success will have to come as a result of trial and error and experience. Most of the time you won't see anyone but experienced pitmasters using simple wood firing setups, simply because of the amount of materials involved and the very real difficulty of managing proper temperature ranges. The end result is delicious however, usually imparting a very strong woodsy smoked smell and taste that benefits large fatty cuts like brisket, pork butt and sausages.

    Pros:

    +Relatively easy equipment-wise to setup and supply. You essentially need some kind of firebox and cooking box setup to properly channel the smoke and the fire.
    +Supplies are also relatively simple as well. You basically need wood and starter material. Temperature probes would be recommended as well.
    +By far some of the strongest smoke flavor you'll get by smoking.

    Cons:

    -By far the most difficult method to accurately control temperature and smoke levels. You'll be finding yourself checking flame and smoke levels almost every 15 minutes or so until you get really good at setting up and maintaining fire levels .
    -Very dependent on wood availability and quality to control temperature
    -Very difficult to ensure you don't end up with food covered in ash, unless you have a properly built smoke box.


    Charcoal

    Moving on from wood, Charcoal overs a much more controllable method of smoking meat with a relatively simple setup. Charcoal grills like the ubiquitous Weber kettle grill can quickly be re-configured to become a smoker setup with relatively little cost.
    Like wood however, you are still at the mercy of temperature fluctuation and maintenance. While not as fiddly as wood, charcoal still requires a very watchful eye unless you start splurging for professional charcoal smoker/grill setups that have more insulation and proper air management vents. And even then, it's definitely not "set and forget" like gas or electric, you will have to be mindful of your charge. As far as flavor, many purists will say that only wood or charcoal produce the true "smoke" flavor barbecue is famous for and for the most part I agree. However, being a busy individual with not enough hours in the day, I also recognize that i simply don't have the time or energy to work with a charcoal smoker given my time and space limitations.

    As I mentioned earlier, finding dedicated charcoal setups are actually quite easy. You can go with the classic weber kettle grill and convert it to a smoker.

    41MXBH52FVL.jpg

    Or you can purchase a dedicated charcoal smoker/grill, most of them look like they've been hollowed out of 55 gallon drums. These work pretty well as well, and with the separate smoke box that they have it makes controlling the temperature a lot more manageable than a weber grill conversion.

    0009914301566_500X500.jpg

    If you REALLY have the dosh to spend you can invest in one of these awesome charcoal convection grill/smoker setups.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055XSP54/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2P0BM1EGNZKL0&coliid=I2VY39BTO0RTVM

    I can personally attest that this setup produces stellar results. The setup allows for very fine control of the temperature and smoke levels resulting in the ability to convert the device from a smoker, to an oven or a grill with little setup. Yes it's redonkulously expensive, but I have to admit I would have never dared try to charcoal smoke a turkey before trying it on my friend's Broil-King setup. It's...pretty darn awesome.

    Charcoal Summary

    Pros:

    +Like wood, setup and supplies are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most big box and hardware stores.
    +Very strong smoke flavor, like wood, probably the strongest imparter of smoke flavor on to your food.
    +Largest variety of available equipment and setups, very easy to get into and find a style of smoker that will fit your budget.

    Cons:

    -Also like wood, very difficult to control temperature levels unless you're very on top of things.
    -Although supplies are cheap, you will need to keep a good supply of charcoal and wood chips on hand if you're doing any large scale smoking.
    -Grills with easier temperature controls can be quite expensive to obtain.

    ceresbowen
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Propane

    81EjtBBBqtL_SL1500_.jpg

    Moving on from Charcoal grills, the next step up are Propane Smokers. These guys' main source of heat comes from a propane burner mounted below a plate of woodchips. Propane smokers offer a greater degree of flexibility and control with temperature ranges than charcoal or wood. Most propane smokers typically come with a gas control gauge and a temperature gauge built into the box. This allows for a nice ability to adjust the temperature to very low for long slow smoking or very high for the larger fattier cuts and sausages. Propane still requires a fair bit of monitoring however. Propane burning, being what it is naturally will have some fluctuations depending on the ambient temperature, wind and how loaded the smoker is. A separate temperature probe for the smoker is strongly recommended to make sure you're not varying too much in temperature.

    The major advantage of propane is the ability to reach the higher end of the smoking temperature spectrum (or depending on the model, the ability to become a barbecue/grill if wanted). Higher temperature smoking is desirable when you're dealing either with a loaded-to-the-brim smokebox or large fatty cuts of meat or sausage that directly benefit from higher temp smoking. The flip side of this is that lower end models may not have the ability to adjust temperature all that well and can only work at set temp levels that typically run on the higher side. Still, propane tanks are usually easily purchasable and have the added benefit of usually being able to swap out the tank with your propane grill if you have/need one. This adds a nice layer of versatility to your cooking arsenal.

    Propane Summary:

    Pros:

    +Uses propane which is fairly cheap and plentiful.
    +Very good top end temperature performance, great for fatty cuts of meat like Bacon and Pork Butt
    +Fairly easy to control. Most setups will come with some kind of temperature dial and gas flow meter to help regulate temperatures.

    Cons:

    -You're at the mercy of propane suppliers. If you run out of propane midway through a smoke, most of the propane smoker setups don't allow you to substitute wood or charcoal as an emergency backup in the same device.
    -Cheaper models tend to have less accuracy and reliability with maintaining temperature when burning the propane, leading to improperly cooked food.
    -Propane prices, while generally cheap can fluctuate wildly depending on the season and where you're located.


    Electric

    ElectricSmoker.jpg

    Next up we have electric smokers. If you're getting into smoking for the first time and just simply don't want to deal with a lot of the vagaries of temperature control, or you don't have the ability to burn charcoal/wood at your place then electrics are a great choice. Pretty much the majority of them have variable temperature controls that allow for very precise setting of temperatures and built in thermometers to measure the internal temperature of the smoker case. Of all the smoker types listed here, electric by far is the easiest to control. Electrics work by heating a large resistance element (just like you see on an electric stove but bigger) and and having it next to a pan or box of wood chips and a tray of water/liquid to create the moisture.

    There really isn't much more to em! They are the quintessential "set and forget". They do have their downsides however. As far as reliability is concerned, I have noticed many more complaints about reliability with electrics then other smokers. The heating elements have a tendency to fail and the box mounted temperature indicators also have a tendency to wear out, necessitating a backup temp probe for the smoker box. Some will also say that the smoke flavor electrics produce is not the same quality as charcoal or wood and to some extent that's true. However for the majority of folks who will be consuming your creations, I doubt they'll be able to tell the difference. Also be careful for particularly cheap electric smokers. Very often these smokers will have one heat setting (and usually the high level 180-220+ degree area) which will make smoking more delicate items not possible. Still they are usable, I used a single setting brinkman for a long time to smoke everything from Bacon to Salmon and rainbow trout with pretty darn good success.

    The major thing to note about using electrics is that they typically pull A LOT of amps. Take note of the breaker where you'll be plugging your smoker into and note what it's rated for. I mentioned earlier in the thread how my masterbuilt electric smoker can pull as much as 8 amps which is pretty darn high for a single device. They typically also come with very short cords which may necessitate an extension cord to plug in. Make absolutely sure your cord can handle the load, I went to home depot and got a 12 gauge extension cord specifically for the purpose of plugging in my smoker after I fried my old orange cord from a couple of uses.


    Electric Summary:


    Pros:

    + Extremely easy to set up and use. Most have digital temperature controls which allow setting for temperatures across a wide range for various foods.
    +No supplies beyond wood chips and a good electrical outlet needed.
    +Fairly large market of electrics available meaning you can find one at a price point that suits your needs.

    Cons:

    - Very large energy draw. You'll need to make sure you have both the plug, breaker and extension cord (if necessary) to properly set up your smoker. You will still have to smoke outside and getting a cord out to your patio might be difficult.
    - Generally produces the "lowest" quality smoke according to barbecue aficionados. I personally haven't been able to tell a major difference beyond the deeper smoke notes that charcoal or wood fired smokers give, but that's up to personal taste and preference.
    - General poor reliability compared to propane or charcoal. The electric elements and temperature probes on various models are usually not very good to handle the rigors of regular smoking. You'll often see folks talk in reviews on electric smokers that they had to deal with burnt out elements or incorrect temperature controls. Most issues were resolved in subsequent models, but pay close attention to reviews to see which models have a higher occurrence of failure than others.

    ceresbowen
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Finally we have:

    Pellet Smokers!

    TraegerPelletSmoker.jpg

    Fairly new to the scene, Pellet Smokers/Grills attempt to bridge the gap between Wood Fired and electrics and create a sort of "hybrid" system that tries to provide the benefits of wood smoking with the convenience and control of electrics. Pellet smokers, as their name implies, rely on compressed wood pellets as their fuel. The grills are electrically powered and typically make use of an externally mounted Feeder/Smokebox that automatically feeds and burns the pellets and then force inducts the smoke into the grilling/smoking chamber.

    The major benefits are a strong wood-quality smoke with some very surprisingly good temperature control. I've seen folks get close to cold smoking temperatures with some modifications to these grills or even dialing them all the way up to grilling temperatures if you so choose. You can even simulate wood fired pizza cooking in these devices as well. The versatility of these guys is definitely nothing to sniff at.

    Given their relative new explosion on the scene, long term reliability isn't fully set in stone. For the most part I've heard good things about the Traeger brand and even saw several of their "roadshows" at my local Costco. The major downsides to pellet grills will be their cost and supplies. Most of these pellet grills start around 3-400 dollars and go up from there. They also exclusively rely on specialized cooking pellets in order to cook. Like propane, you run out of fuel (pellets in this case) you ain't cooking. Thankfully the burn rate is pretty decent from what I've read up on. Expect 20 hours of smoke time and 10 hours of high temp grill time per bag of pellets (Smoking is about 1lb/hr and Grilling is about 2lbs/hr). Thing is though, from what limited experience I've seen, very few places stock the pellets regularly outside of specialized barbecue stores so you may be forced to order pellets online if you don't have a store nearby that has em in stock. Though honestly, if you buy one of these, chances are the store will stock the pellets as well.


    Pellet Smoker Summary

    Pros:

    +Very wide range of performance capability. Able to handle numerous temperature ranges and foods, much like electrics.
    +Very good quality smoke flavor, closely mimics the authentic wood-fired smokiness you would get from a wood fired setup.
    +Extremely easy operation. Pretty much you're plugging it in, pouring in the pellets and letting it run.

    Cons:

    -Very expensive initial setup. Most Pellet grills will start at at least 300 dollars.
    -Somewhat pricey pellets needed as the sole fuel source. Finding them in stock at various stores might be tricky, and the grill can't work any other way without them.
    -Still electrically powered and still does pull a fair amount of amps. Make sure you have a good electrical outlet outside that can handle it.


    And that about covers it. I've had lots of personal experience with charcoal and electric smokers so if you have any specific operating questions on those I can readily answer them. :)

    ceresbowenXaquin
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I love you.

    Ladies.
    ThegreatcowAiouaEvigilant
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    could you use fatback or streak o' lean to make pancetta?

    I can't find anywhere close to me that sells pork belly (including the four butchers nearby)

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    could you use fatback or streak o' lean to make pancetta?

    I can't find anywhere close to me that sells pork belly (including the four butchers nearby)

    Absolutely sir! Though of the two I would lean more towards streak then regular fatback due to the higher meat content. The less actual fat involved when air drying the less opportunity for bad bacteria to form. Find the leanest cut of streak you can find and go with it. It should be very similar. :)

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    thanks!

    love these guides by the way =)

    ThegreatcowErin The Red
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    thanks!

    love these guides by the way =)

    Thank ya kindly sir, I do appreciate the support, I enjoy making them! I'm probably going to try coming up with a guide on making your own drybox for long term drying (summer sausage, prosciutto) and see what can be kitbashed together without spending thousands of dollars for a professional drybox.

    Xaquinbowen
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    ok, one more question!

    I have no place that can stably hold prolonged temperatures of 50-60 degrees.

    My attic regularly fluctuates between freezing and 70 for some reason (in the 100s during the summer)

    could something like a wine cooler be used?

    http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Chef-MCWC6B-6-Bottle-Cooler/dp/B0077JLHKO/ref=sr_1_7?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1394655224&sr=1-7

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    ok, one more question!

    I have no place that can stably hold prolonged temperatures of 50-60 degrees.

    My attic regularly fluctuates between freezing and 70 for some reason (in the 100s during the summer)

    could something like a wine cooler be used?

    http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Chef-MCWC6B-6-Bottle-Cooler/dp/B0077JLHKO/ref=sr_1_7?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1394655224&sr=1-7

    I believe so, but you might have an issue with airflow there. You might have to leave it slightly cracked open or leave the drain plug open and say covered with a cheesecloth. The bigger issue would be bacteria. You'd have to ruthlessly sanitize the whole cooler with a bleach solution to make sure no residual bacteria gets on the meat. Give me a moment to get home later today, I believe a friend of mine sent me a Pancetta recipe he jiggered to work inside a running fridge which is a heck of a lot safer to use than a regular cooler.

    Xaquin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Awesome sir!

    edit: that's not a cooler, it's like a wine thing that you plug in to keep wine at 55 degrees.

    edit:

    here is another one similar

    http://annapolis.craigslist.org/app/4366685751.html

    Xaquin on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Ahhh ok, I see what you mean. Yeah that could definitely work, but the same rules will still apply, you'll want to make sure the inside is thoroughly sanitized before using anything inside of it. I don't know how well it would keep humidity though, a lot of minifridges and fridges in general run really dry.

    In any case, here is the recipe as promised thanks to one of my Best Friends Michael C. :


    Fridge Cured Pancetta!

    Ingredients:

    dry cure:

    1/4 cup diamond crystal kosher salt
    3T coarsly ground pepper
    2T packed dark brown sugar
    2 T minced fresh rosemary
    2 T juniper berries, cracked
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    4 bay leaves, crumbled
    1 T red pepper flakes
    1 T minced fresh tyme
    1 t pink salt
    1 t ground nutmeg

    pork belly:

    1 ~5 lb pork belly, skin removed, trimmed to uniform thickness and shape
    1/4c dry red wine
    2 T coarsly ground pepper



    1. combine all ingredients from the dry cure in a small bowl

    2. Rub all sidess and edges of the belly with dry-cure mixture.Place belly in a 13 by 9 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with wine, being careful not to wash away cure. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until belly feels firm yet pliable ~7-10 days, flipping every other day

    3. Thoroughly rinse belly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to cutting board meaty side up with long side facing you. Springly meaty side with pepper, then roll into tight cylinder and tie very tightly at 1/2 inch intervals with kitchen twine.

    4. Place pancetta on wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until very firm but not hard, ~2-3 weeks. Once dried it can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 2 months.

    Xaquinkuhlmeye
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    yesssss

    I also found a place that sells pork belly.

    I never considered calling them because they've never sold ANYTHING else I was looking for.

    they're about a 2 minute drive from my house.

    killing myself softly with pancetta ....

    edit: my fridge has a drawer specifically for meat .... I assume that's where this should go?

    Xaquin on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    yesssss

    I also found a place that sells pork belly.

    I never considered calling them because they've never sold ANYTHING else I was looking for.

    they're about a 2 minute drive from my house.

    killing myself softly with pancetta ....

    edit: my fridge has a drawer specifically for meat .... I assume that's where this should go?

    You can if you want to for the initial cure, for the air drying phase I'd recommend putting it somewhere in the fridge where it will have some decent airflow. I personally always used the top shelf of the fridge because it always had the most space, but as long as you have some air circulating around it, it should dry pretty decently. I think the cold cuts drawer might interfere with that.

    Xaquin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    alright sir, I got my Juniper Berries. Everything else will be purchased tomorrow and I'll get this thing in gear!

    edit:

    wow, who would have thought that Butchers string would be the impediment.

    Walmart - no
    target - no
    safeway - no
    food lion - no
    butcher 1 - no
    butcher 2 - no
    butcher 3 - no

    to be fair, one butcher offered to give me some, but I felt guilty about asking for more so I said don't worry about it.

    Xaquin on
  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    Amazon sells butcher's twine, but I know that doesn't really help you make it right now. I would also try calling a craft store and seeing if they have any.

    steam_sig.png
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Giant - no
    other Safeway - no

    Ordering it from amazon as I have 10 days

    Also ended up buying a 5 lb streak o lean since the place that said they carried hog belly only carried 14lb frozen ones

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    Not sure where you're at in the country, but all of the Whole Foods near me (there's four or five within ~20 minutes) have pork belly for sale.

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    Xaquin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    can't stop this train!

    IMG_1347_zps8dbe000a.jpg?t=1395276561

    Thegreatcowbowen
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Lookin good sir! Love that crust!

    Xaquin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    oh crap, I forgot the wine!

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    ok, tomorrow is day 10 and I'm slightly concerned about the meat.

    One side seems to be the right texture and firmness, while the other side seems more squishy.

    Also, it doesn't smell that wonderful. Admittedly, I'm going to be rinsing it off and letting it air dry, but still.



    as an aside, I was in my local good butchers and noticed they were selling salted streak-o-lean in beautiful single pound slabs pre-cut to a uniform rectangle and thickness.

    could they be used?

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Squishy and smelly would indicate some sort of rot I would think.

    Ladies.
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Hrm yeah that sounds like the streak didn't get fully cured there. It should be hardening and darkening uniformly around the outer side of the meat. It's possible there may be too much moisture inside your fridge and it's interfering with the drying process, which is odd because usually fridges run pretty dry.

    bowen
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    If you can post a pic of the streak I can take a look at it, sort of guestimate where it's at.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    will do tonight!

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Hrm yeah that sounds like the streak didn't get fully cured there. It should be hardening and darkening uniformly around the outer side of the meat. It's possible there may be too much moisture inside your fridge and it's interfering with the drying process, which is odd because usually fridges run pretty dry.

    I had a shitty fridge with a shitty seal that ran too cold. It would definitely condense water towards the rear of the fridge.

    Ladies.
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    ok, tomorrow is day 10 and I'm slightly concerned about the meat.

    One side seems to be the right texture and firmness, while the other side seems more squishy.

    Also, it doesn't smell that wonderful. Admittedly, I'm going to be rinsing it off and letting it air dry, but still.



    as an aside, I was in my local good butchers and noticed they were selling salted streak-o-lean in beautiful single pound slabs pre-cut to a uniform rectangle and thickness.

    could they be used?

    Oh and regarding those salted streak o' leans, at that point they're already cured so in theory you could but I'm not sure how they'd turn out. It'd all depend on their curing method and that's too big of a jump foodsafe wise to gamble on that. Now if say you had a smoker and wanted to smoke them to make a sort of smoked salted streak o' lean, that could be done most handily, it's similar to how I make emergency pastrami. I take one of those pre-cured Corned Beef from say Smart and Final or the supermarket, re-crust it with fresh aromatics, and pop it into the smoker for 3-4 hours to get that delicious smokey crust, and then braise it for another 4 in the oven at 220 or so. Et voila! Pastrami.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    mine is at 36 or 37 constantly

    no clue about water, but it was dry when I cleaned it!

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Hrm that's looking ok honestly, it might be chalked up to variations in the airflow within your fridge. Just to confirm, while it was curing in the first phase, was the dish covered? Usually when I cure my bacon, I make use of a 2-Gallon ziploc bag since it forms a tight seal and ensures the cure is in contact with the meat (and the resultant brine) at all times.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    I put two layers of saran wrap on it so I could turn it easier!

    edit:

    I'm probably just being paranoid

    leave it in for 2 more days maybe?

    Xaquin on
  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Huh odd, well I figure let it dry and see what happens. If the smell of the streak starts to get really bad then it's possible that the salt section of the cure didn't properly absorb itself into the meat, or it's possible you may have just gotten a bad batch of meat, it's happened to me when I've tried to make summer sausage(dried sausage). Sometimes just the ambient bacteria in the air or on the meat itself can ruin your day, and short of bleaching the entire interior of your fridge there's not much you can do. Though if this doesn't pan out I'd try this next time, try using the ziploc bag method and see how that works for you. I've found I get much better results with that then trying to use a sealed tray.

    Xaquin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Huh odd, well I figure let it dry and see what happens. If the smell of the streak starts to get really bad then it's possible that the salt section of the cure didn't properly absorb itself into the meat, or it's possible you may have just gotten a bad batch of meat, it's happened to me when I've tried to make summer sausage(dried sausage). Sometimes just the ambient bacteria in the air or on the meat itself can ruin your day, and short of bleaching the entire interior of your fridge there's not much you can do. Though if this doesn't pan out I'd try this next time, try using the ziploc bag method and see how that works for you. I've found I get much better results with that then trying to use a sealed tray.

    I used white vinegar =)

    what about the salted streak I mentioned earlier?

    might that work some way?

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    It should! You could theoretically skip the salt portion of the cure and simply add the aromatics and see what happens. I'm honestly not sure how that would pan out given that i'm not sure how much salt they've already used but I'd imagine it's a fair amount given that it has to have a shelf life. It actually might be worth trying out. Maybe try half the curing time with just the non-salt aromatics and then drying it out for the same time. I'd honestly be curious to see how that works out.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    It should! You could theoretically skip the salt portion of the cure and simply add the aromatics and see what happens. I'm honestly not sure how that would pan out given that i'm not sure how much salt they've already used but I'd imagine it's a fair amount given that it has to have a shelf life. It actually might be worth trying out. Maybe try half the curing time with just the non-salt aromatics and then drying it out for the same time. I'd honestly be curious to see how that works out.

    well at $4 to try, I will let you know in a week!

  • ThegreatcowThegreatcow Lord of All Bacons Washington State - It's Wet up here innit? Registered User regular
    Sounds good! Hope it turns out well!

    Xaquin
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