I just finished my first batch of dry-cured sausage. It is essentially fresh ground pork, stuffed into casings with nitrate and seasonings, then left to dry. The temperature and humidity have to be just right for the sausage to dry properly. I experimented with climate-control when making pancetta this past spring. In that case the meat had already been cured in my fridge, and the drying was just to change the texture. The pancetta was also cooked before eating. This is a whole other ball game, as these sausages aren’t cured in the fridge beforehand, and aren’t cooked before eating.
Dry-curing is an interesting process. With most charcuterie preparations, there are easily-described visual indicators to guide you along. For instance, … Continue reading.
This week I made a duck liver pâté and served it with sour cherries. Both the livers and the cherries came from Greens, Eggs, and Ham.
The recipe was adapted from that for pâté grand mère in Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. Duck livers can generally stand in for chicken livers.
1: Season the pork and liver (separately), with salt, pepper, bay, and thyme. Leave the mixtures overnight in the fridge.
2: The next day, chill the meat grinder and mixer parts. Ice water is particularly effective. You can also preheat your oven to 300°F.
3: After removing the bay leaf and thyme, sear the livers quickly over high heat. This is done strictly to enhance flavour and colour. Remove the … Continue reading.
For the last few years we’ve been curing our own Easter ham with more or less an entire leg of pork.
The primal cut of pork known as the leg is separated from the loin and belly by sawing through the middle of the pelvic bone. The section of the pelvis that is left on the loin is called the pin bone. The section on the leg is the haitch bone. To remove the haitch bone you have to follow its frustrating curves with your knife until you expose the ball joint where the leg meets the pelvis. Cut through this joint.
Next the skin is removed in one large sheet.
What remains of the leg typically weighs about 15 … Continue reading.
The term “barbecue” is used pretty loosely around these parts. Most often it refers to an outdoor grill, but I have also had “barbecued” items in restaurants that haven’t been anywhere near an outdoor grill. In fact, these items, usually ribs or pulled-pork, have been braised or even stewed in an acidic solution called “barbecue sauce”.
True barbecue is meat, usually pork, that has been smoked at low temperatures for several hours. Tough cuts that stand up to lengthy cooking are the most common, especially pork shoulder and ribs, as well as beef brisket. The home of true barbecue is the American south, notably the Carolinas and Tennessee. True barbecue is unlike any other meat. It is transcendent. Complex, aromatic … Continue reading.
Slow-cooked pork that is mixed until creamy and spreadable. It is very similar to the French rillette. Rillettes are traditionally sealed in ramekins with rendered fat. This is great for potted pork, too. Especially in winter, as the fat looks like a skating rink once it sets, and because with the addition of a sprig of rosemary and some peppercorns, you can imitate holly.
- 3 lbs pork shoulder, diced to one inch pieces
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 1/2 lb smoked ham hock
- 1 pork bone
- 1 bundle thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
- 4 peppercorns, tied into a cheesecloth bundle
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn’t have whole cloves on
… Continue reading.