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July 23, 2015 at 8:26 pm #2323
I am an Umai “virgin”… never tried Charcuterie, or aging meat before, though I have been making Biltong for some time now.
Just got my Umai kit with the fooodsaver and Charcuterie bags, I read a lot of stuff over the net and over the forum here that was really helping and inspiring, but I got left with a couple of questions (a lot more will come probably really soon…);
Should i cure the meat in a vacuum foodsaver bag with no air in it, or a simple plastic container? Some cures go are just powder (spices) based and some fluid, can i cure with the fluids? What is the best way to go? My logic tells me a vacuum will be better since the meat preserves better. I might be completely wrong…
The other question is about the instacare, I read about them and still didn’t figure out when to use #1 and when to use #2. They say when you dry for longer and want a pink color on your charcuterie use #1, or maybe i am mixing them up. Sorry in advance if these questions were already answered a thousand times before, I searched and didn’t find any conclusive answers…
Appreciate your help, and very excited to try my first one!
YuvalJuly 23, 2015 at 10:47 pm #9416
Welcome to the forum. We found that curing in a vacuum bag is very convenient if you are able to spread the cure evenly over the surface of the meat.
Instacure #2 is used for long drying time dry cured meats (over 2 weeks) vs cure #1 is used for cooked hams, semi-dry sausages, pastrami, etc.
I would recommend the book by Stanley Marianski the art of making fermented sausages. Though the book is about sausages it has a lot of useful information for general charcuterie. His website: http://www.meatsandsausages.com also has a lot of good info.July 24, 2015 at 11:32 am #9417
What are you going to cure and dry. I bet it’s either a Coppa , Loin or a Bresaola. I usually part seal the vacuum bag so it’s easy to massage the meat. When you vacuum the UMAi bag, do put it in some stretch netting to circumvent the bag from parting from the meat at a later date.
You’ll be surprised how good the taste is and how easy it all is.
Have you heard of “Equilibrium curing” Google it, suits the above applications rather well.
Jan.July 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm #9418
Here is a video of Capicola being cut out of a bag that is completely loose and the Capicola was perfect 42% weight loss:
July 24, 2015 at 7:12 pm #9419
Thank you for your quick replies!
Yes, indeed I was thinking of going for the Bresaola or Duck Prosciutto for the first attempt, as it looks like the easiest job of all the rest of them. I am going to follow the recipe from the UMAi videos, it looks very simple, I would add some red wine to the Bresaola cure and a few other things but I won’t do it as first try.
I heard about the Equilibrium curing here in this forum, and I read the first post google offers on the subject. This is basically what the recipes here at UMAi suggest I believe, a 3% salt amount rather then drowning the meat in salt for less time than the equilibrium cure but risking it to be too salty. I have patience 🙂 I will always use the 2.5-3% and cure it for longer.
Jan – how do you partially vacuum? I have the Foodsaver sold here with the Charcuterie starter kit that has a vac+seal action in one button so it does one and right away does the other. Maybe I can just use the seal option with no vacuum and manually chase the vacuum out with my hands. I was thinking of curing in vacuum just cause it keeps the meat fresher when there is no air, but I might be wrong, its obviously easier to massage the meat when its not as tight as a 100% vacuum.
I just saw the video of the Capicola loose bag, that was actually another issue I was thinking about, if the meat shrinks a lot, the vacuum is gone isn’t it? Is it not a problem? The bag is not in contact with the meat anymore – no need to change the bag in the middle of the drying process?
Where I live the meat cuts are totally different and have entirely different names, I hope I’ll find exactly what I need, as the meat is actually cut in a different way!
YuvalJuly 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm #9420
Yuval, it is common for the meat to shrink away from the bag and I think this is Jan’s reference to elastic netting in order to maintain contact through the entire drying process. The video I posted shows Capicola that had a bag that was completely loose at the end of drying period. In most cases the bag stays adhered during the initial surface drying period which is normally one to three weeks.
We find that with duck prosciutto, the bag does not release at all. It is perhaps a function of size of the piece (duck breast is small) and length of drying time (typically 2-3 weeks).
Larger pieces like Bresaola that dries for 6-8 weeks most likely will have some release, it is not that big of a deal in my opinion, the meat still continues to dry. Some very small areas of white mold can develop in areas of release. If you see white mold after you peel the bag, you can wipe it with some cider vinegar. If you want constant contact and are concerned with release you can tie the meat with twine on the outside like our friend Lloyd has done here (he made a deluxe version of Bresaola using a Beef tenderloin/filet): http://kosherdosher.blogspot.com/2014/02/bresaola-parte-seconda-ricetta.htmlJuly 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm #9421
Thanks for your reply Jim.
Actually in all the videos I have seen of UMAi bags none showed a release of the bag after the drying period. I will try to use twine in the outside as suggested just to be sure!July 25, 2015 at 8:01 am #9422
Yuval, my vacuum machine has a separate seal button. just work out a way to get most of the air from the bag and than seal. It’ll work fine. I now only use 2% salt for EQ curing. The salt content will rise as the meat dries out.
2% is better for your health and budget. Lots of cold beer is usually consumed with salty charcuterie.
Where do you live Yuval? I live in Australia and I can purchase double strength stretch netting. It works fantastic but is a bitch to work with. An appropriate torpedo certainly is needed or go the Lloyd way by using 1/2 a mile of butchers string. It all works fine.
Good Luck my friend, just make sure you stock up on meat again. YOU WILL RUN OUT very fast,
Jan.July 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm #9423
Hope to see your results here YuvalJuly 25, 2015 at 7:57 pm #9424
Well, I live in far away Israel… Elastic netting is very hard for me to find here as I believe it is sold to manufacturers only, I couldn’t find it here. Tomorrow I will try get duck breast (which is also not very easy to find here) and try the duck, I have butchers twine I will give it a try with the Bresaola closer to the end of the week if I find the right cut (eye of round).
I will for sure post during the process here and upload some photos, and update you all!
YuvalJuly 29, 2015 at 6:51 am #9426
Bresaola is in the fridge for curing!!
The spices had a very strong smell though I believe from the Juniper seeds, I hope I didn’t put too much. I don’t even know how they taste like but they are in EVERY Charcuterie recipe…
I was alone and my hands were pretty dirty so I couldn’t take pictures, I just took one picture of the meat in the partially vacuum bag ready to go into the fridge.
I was going to cure it for a week, but some places say 15 days. There is no chance of it getting spoiled in the fridge if its there for more than a week just in curing position?
Now the hard thing, patience…
YuvalJuly 29, 2015 at 8:24 am #9427
If you used approx. 2% Salt, you can cure safely for 15 days or longer without adverse effect at all. I forgot a Coopa once and it cured for several more weeks. Taste was very good. stop worrying so much, don’t use a lot of Juniper berries, cloves and cinnamon( they are overpowering), use the correct amount of cure #2 and you will be safe and surprised of the outcome.
Jan.July 30, 2015 at 8:42 am #9428
Haha ok Jan, thanks!
I used 3% salt, very little cinnamon, a few juniper berries (1.5g for a 1364g meat) and didn’t use cloves at all… I never tasted juniper so I have no idea how it tastes like… 3.5g of cure #2
When I finish curing (will probably leave it for about 10 days) time I will post some pictures of everything…
What I didn’t actually do is rub the meat with the salt and cure#2 first, before rubbing it with the spice mix. I sure hope most of the cure #2 will reach all the meat, and that it didn’t stay outside the meat (or on my hands lol)..
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