September 20, 2015 at 9:25 pm #2350JoelMember
Wanted to say hello. Complete newby here, at least to dry cured meats. I have been smoking and BBQ-ing for several years, though. We raise our own heritage breed pigs as well as lambs/sheep, dairy goats, chickens and turkeys, and I am lucky enough to have a stretch of woods on our place that is covered with oak and persimmon trees, so the freezer gets filled with venison fairly easily every year.
We have been wanting to do this for a long time, but didn’t want to make the investment in building or buying drying chambers with humidity monitors, etc. We have made tons of jerky and summer sausage as well as several varieties of fresh linked sausage, but have been putting off doing the dried sausage because of the expense…and the fear of botulism :). After doing a lot of web surfing type research, we made the plunge and bought several different sizes of the UMAi bags…seems like this system is going to be perfect for us.
We currently have 2 pigs being processed (didn’t have time to do it ourselves this year) and they will be put in the freezer in a couple of days. After we give a half hog to the church pantry for Sunday after service meals, we will have around 200 lbs of pork…gotta do something with it! :).
We plan on making capicola, pancetta, a salami, chorizo, different types of the thinner sausages, pepperoni, possibly a prosciutto if it is possible to do with a center cut ham roast…and maybe some middle eastern style dried lamb sausages from this website: http://lpoli.50webs.com/index.htm
I have searched through the forums quite a bit here as a lurker for the past couple of weeks, and ran across a couple of questions that were talked about by several posters, but not really explained, at least in the posts I saw. Sort of like everyone posting knew what everyone else was talking about, so no-one had to explain the basic concepts.
The first is EQ curing…I believe this is curing with half the cure for half the cure time, then adding the second half of the cure for the second half of cure time…is this correct? What cuts/projects would this be used for and why?
The second question is about cold smoking…what is the forum consensus on cold smoking the meats and sausage mixtures…before or after curing…it will be a 2 hour cold smoke… after a couple hours I personally have found that there isn’t any need to smoke a meat further (if you aren’t trying for bark ).
The last question is about storing the finished product…how would they need to be stored, and how long can they be stored? We usually do all our sausage making for the year over a single weekend, and would like to continue this if it isn’t going to be a problem…
Thanks to anyone who replies!September 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm #9519
I’ll start things off and answer what I can answer to the best of my abilities. I am not that far ahead of you at about 9 months of consistent use of the umai products.
So, equilibrium curing can be done the way that you describe but that does not define the concept of equilibrium curing. Basically, there are two ways of curing (please correct me people if I am getting this wrong!), salt box and equilibrium. Salt box has the meat basically packed in a very large quantity of salt. The meat cures in this salt for some amount of time, then removed for drying. I guess the risk to this is knowing how much salt actually got absorbed into the meat. Given the amount of salt, leaving the meat in too long can create an over-salted product. In equilibrium curing, the meat is cured in a calculated amount of salt based on the weight of the meat. I often see the number 3%, I have been using 2.5%. There is no risk to the meat becoming over salting by remaining in the cure too long because there is a calculated amount of salt. In both cases, not leaving the meat to cure long enough can produce an under salted meat. As for the half and half that you mentioned, that is a variation on the equilibrium cure. The meat can be cured with the whole mix from the start, or you can use half the cure on day 1 and the other half added halfway through the curing time. I am currently using the 1/2 and 1/2 method you asked about.
Cold smoking. I know basically nothing about it, but would love to read what other’s bring to the topic. I only know that you cannot smoke the meats while in the Umai product unlike natural casing. Apparently, Australia offers a different but similar product that does allow the smoke through the membrane. But that is not an option in the states.
So final storage, here again I am anxious for the input you receive. Personally, we vacuum seal the finished salami and meat to stop the drying. I have some that are about 5 months old now but I have no idea how long I should expect them to last.
Processing everything in one day. That sounds like a great plan, with a couple of exceptions in my mind. For salami, they stay exposed to the air at a controlled temp for about 3 days. We hand ours except for the pressed salami. Then they go into the refrigerator and there should be air circulation around the individual pieces so they can dry properly. Can you handle the large volume and provide the air circulation? Are you planning to do the whole muscle meats that day as well. If so, that will all add some space considerations for you.
Hope what I said is accurate and, if not, hopefully someone more experienced will correct.September 22, 2015 at 3:17 am #9520JoelMember
Thanks for the information on the EQ curing, I really appreciate it! Is there a specific reason you are using the half and half method?
You bring up some good points. Perhaps I should have said a long weekend instead of a day when getting everything done. We are used to making fresh sausages or smoked sausages, and can typically get it all done in one LONG day for the year…at most two days. I realize that it would be at the earliest three days until we got everything done due to the initial hanging time.
We do have plenty of space for curing the meats. We have two modern refrigerators in our milking room that we typically use for aging cheeses and storing milk for use in cheese, soap and kefir. Right now they are empty as we aren’t currently milking, and won’t be for the next few months (spring of next year). Typically they stay pretty packed. I have found that using a small computer cooling fan in the refrigerators is great for keeping a very small but important amount of air movement going while aging cheeses. We typically use that along with a small bowl of salted water for humidity to try and keep ideal conditions for aging cheese…I figured to use the same setup for aging the whole muscles as well as the sausages…any thoughts?
We have typically just followed manufacturers directions for use of salt in our sausages, or else just followed the recipes they suggest when adding salt…we just fiddle with the spices to make our own preferred taste profiles. It’s going to be interesting to be able to salt the meat based on weight rather than just blindly following a recipe…which, I hope, also means that we can store the meats ( we also plan to vacuum pack as you do) without fear of them becoming too salty.
I appreciate the help and the response! Hopefully someone will address the other things as well so we both can benefit…
By the way, I am also interested in adding cheeses and mushrooms and other ingredients to our dry sausages, as we do that a lot with our fresh sausages…have you made any recipes that you find were really successful?
I am also wondering about making a dried lamb merguez…the fresh is our favorite lamb sausage, and the favorite of a lot of our friends who happen to drop by when we get ready to sample our creations for the year…the southern India style we make with fenugreek leaves and garam masala is another favorite…September 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm #9523
As for the equilibrium curing, it was first suggested to me by crustyo44 or “Jan” last April when I was trying to sort out making Capicola. I know it has been suggested to me since as well, but I don’t recall the when or who. I am doing it simply out of respect for the greater experience of these other members and not from my own knowledge. I have to say that it is an added step that I have to remember which is a little annoyed and like right now I have a 2 capicola, a lonza, and a duck proscuitto all at different stages of first cure, second cure, and drying. They are all out of sync and I need a calendar to keep track of what I need to do when. I am just assuming that it is worth the added effort. 🙂
Glad to hear you have go much curing and drying space. I just have a second refrigerator that I also need at times for entertaining. After the sausages hubby and I will make this Thursday, the fridge will be maxed out for a couple of weeks. Funny, I too have the computer fan running inside the fridge with a bowl of salt water on a shelf with no sausage drying 🙂 The humidistat that I keep in there (dirt cheap from Target) shows that it does make a difference.
On following recipes, be proactive and check the numbers. There are certain percentage’s you want for the salt and insecure for a safely cured salami. I have encountered problems with this. Another salt warning is that salt apparently should be done by weight, as not all salts weigh the same, and not volume. This is an interesting fact that I have appreciated knowing and now apply to my non-sausage recipes as well.
You are mentioning some interesting salami options. I have tried to look into a dried lamb sausage without luck, but I don’t recall how much effort I put in. I would also be intrigued by the south india recipes. A few months back, I did put together an uratan, a black soujuk, and a red soujuk. They are all at a high spice end and had mixed reviews. I have yet to use up those 2.5 pound batches. 🙁 On another thread http://www.drybagsteak.com/forum/17-dry-aging-with-drybags/3855-cheese-in-your-dried-sausage Trebor and I have talked a little about the cheese and mushroom route. He provided a recipe and a link to a site for ingredients. It is something I will try later in the year. Right now, I have 5 pounds drying that are made with a hunter’s truffle sauce and we will be making another 6 pounds Thursday to use up the $25 jar of sauce. The two sound like the flavor profiles would be too similar for me to make Trebor’s recipe before restocking on our basics of Soppresatta, Finocchiona, and Saucisson Sec. But, please keep me in the loop for anything new! 🙂September 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm #9524Jan OomsMember
Just to come back to Equilibrium curing, this was suggested to me by a good Pommie Forum friend many years ago. Timing is NOT so important anymore as I forgot to actually take some 2nd cure Coppa’s out of the curing bag. They went about 2 weeks over, dried to a 38% weightloss and the taste and texture I found was even better than the previous cured and dried coppa’s.
I now use 2% salt, cure # 2( a must) and my preferred spices. Experimentation to find the right mixture of spices is great.
Whatever you produce will always be better than the store bought equivalent.
Follow on Facebook my friends experiments: His name is Robert Goodrick alias Brican. I have copied most of his experiments but used UMAi bags with great result. He has been doing this stuff as a living for the last 40plus years.
He lives on the west Coast in Canada.
Jan.September 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm #9525
Jan, I’m always excited to see new ideas. I am not the best at this Facebook stuff (which the kids still lived at home to help) and I am trying to follow your suggestion of “following” your friend. First, do you mean making a friend request and would that be weird from a complete stranger? I first searched on Brican my choices were ohio and massachusetts and a brican fabrications whose country I cannot disern. Under Robert Goodrich, there is no one that lists themselves publicly as canada. BUT the first Robert Goodrich on the list has what looks like pancetta for their banner picture and in his about he lists “Master Butcher – Charcutier at North Shore Winter Club”. Is this the person? And, like I asked above, are you suggesting we “friend” him or does he have a group to join and follow?September 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm #9526Jan OomsMember
Go to Facebook and find “The Salt Cured Pig”, “Sausage Debauchery” and “Salumi, Charcuterie,Wurst”
BriCan posts in them frequently. Just join or friend the sites. You will see a lot of members that use UMAi bags.
Most of the guys there like to do things the old fashioned way and frown on modern techniques.
Email me on: email@example.com to keep in touch.
Robert does work now at the North Shore winter Club, now, he had to take things a bit easier.
Jan.September 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm #9527
Salami is an open group so I was able to join straight away. Pig and Sausage are closed groups but I submitted my request to join and they are pending. The Robert I had come across was likely the one your know as he works at that North Shore Winter Club.
Wow, I just just got approved for both groups while I am writing this!
Looking forward to checking the groups out.
Shooting you an email! 🙂
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