Tag Archives: charcuterie

Goodbye, 2011

2011 was a difficult year both for my family and for this blog.  If you are/were a regular reader, you noticed I wasn’t around much. I hope to change that this year.  Because I didn’t write many posts last year, I wasn’t surprised that most of the top posts last year were older posts.

As a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Five Posts of 2011

  1. Brined Pork Roast
  2. Homemade Fabric Softener
  3. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  4. Building A Rabbit Hutch
  5. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

I am surprised that the Brined Pork Roast recipe was number one. Especially because in my opinion, this recipe is much tastier.

I get lots of searches for green cleaning recipes. Pinterest has been especially helpful in promoting them. I’m glad people are being greener and I’ll try to post some more green cleaning recipes this year.

I am excited to see the rabbit hutch plans make the list.  I wonder if that is because more people are interested in rabbits for meat, or if pet owners just need plans? Regardless, I hope to post more rabbit updates soon. Until then, if you’re looking for rabbit information, check out On Breeding Like Rabbits.

Happy New Year,

Angela

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March Charcutepalooza: Brining

We’re only a month in and Hubby and I are really loving Charcutepalooza.  So, we screwed up the bacon the first time.  It’s become a wonderful seasoning.  We bought a new pork belly and are curing it now.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Imagine my surprise when I stopped by Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s to see this month’s challenge and discovered that it was brining!  Stop by and read the post; it’s quite entertaining.  And drool-inducing.

Lately, Hubby and I have been brining pork roasts.  We’ve actually done two in the last month and have planned to do more so hopefully this month’s challenge will be a success.  This month we can choose to brine a whole chicken, pork chops, or corned beef.  All three are appealing.  I tried to corn a beef brisket last year and it came out way too salty.  (Hmm.  I’m beginning to see a pattern here.)  I spent probably three minutes gazing at a beef brisket contemplating a do-over while shopping this afternoon.  I left it in the store, but I may go back.  It is almost St. Patrick’s Day after all.  Plus, I had to appease myself by buying a pound of shaved corned beef to make Reubens for lunch.  So, stop back on the fifteenth to see the final results.  In the meantime, go check out all the amazing charcuterie the participating bloggers have been cooking up.

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February Charcutepalooza: Bacon

Bacon.  Bacon is the one food I honestly believe my husband couldn’t live without.  But that’s okay by me; his pork addiction allows me to stay in soap, so we all win and everyone is happy. 

Mr. Hippie is loving and supportive.  I believe he frequently thinks I am certifiable, but he supports my insane choices despite his misgivings.  He builds me things like cheese presses, chicken coops, chicken tractors and rabbit hutches that allow me to pursue my crazy whims.

When I told him I was signing up for another blog challenge he laughed.  When I told him it was a challenge to make sausages, bacon and various other meat-products, he was onboard.

Ready for the smoker.

We smoked the bacon last weekend.  By all accounts, the finished product was a disaster. 

Shortly before it became overcooked.

Why?  You be the judge:

  1. To begin with, I used to much curing salt.  The recipe made enough for 3-4 times the amount of pork belly I cured, but I didn’t cut it back.
  2. Because the weather was foul on the day we were supposed to smoke, we put it off.  For.  Three.  Days.  Too much salt soaking for way too long?
  3. I forgot to rinse the salt off the belly before we smoked it.  Had a nice salty crust on the outside when we were done.
  4. We overcooked the bacon. 

    Salt Pork

I’m not sure which factor caused the most damage, but the bacon, as bacon, is essentially inedible.  However, as a salt pork, it makes an excellent seasoning.  In fact, Mom, if you’re reading this, I’d recommend salt pork for the spice rack challenge.

Chicken gravy seasoned with smoked salt-pork.

I still have much of the salt pork in the freezer, but I used it to season the chicken gravy I served over Westmaas Farms mashed potatoes for dinner one night. 

Gnocchi in bacon cream sauce.

Another night I made a delicious garlic, sage cream sauce with salt-pork and black pepper to toss gnocchi in.

So, we’ve already purchased another 2 lb. pork belly to give bacon another go but for now we’ll have to enjoy our salt-pork as a condiment and not as a side-dish.

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The Year of Meat

One day while perusing Grow and Resist, I noticed a nifty little button ”CharcutePalooza”
she had added to her page.  It intrigued me, so I clicked it as I am oft prone to do. It took me to Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen where I learned more about Charcutepalooza and The Year of Meat.  I was deeply saddened to learn that I was too late to jump on the Meat Bandwagon.  Or was I? 

Much to my delight the challenge had been extended.  And, there are prizes.  Glamorous, wonderful prizes.  Okay, I won’t be winning this one.  It isn’t random.   The competition is fierce.  I am relatively new to the art of charcuterie and I take horrible pictures. 

However, I enjoy trying new things.  I like eating local food and prefer sustainably raised meats.  Homemade andouille sausage is amazing.  My husband eats more bacon than I thought was humanly possible.  Making my own sausage and bacon seems like a perfectly logical thing for me to do. 

I missed the deadline for the first post, Duck Prosciutto, but since I signed up late I can catch up later by making duck prosciutto before the end of the year as long as I complete the rest of the posts on time.  February’s challenge is bacon.  Hubby is happy, I’m happy, everyone wins. 

The recipes for the challenge come from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and CuringThe challenge isn’t just to write recipe posts about how  we make the meats, but to write posts about how the finished meats are used.  Watch for those posts on the 15th of each month from now until December.

Bacon is an excellent meat to start with; it couldn’t be easier. 

Look at the marbling on that pork belly!

So, I ordered a 2 lb. pork belly from Oleson’s Market and got to work.

Salt, pepper, sugar

Mixed up and ready to coat the meat.

 

First, get out the scale and measure 8 oz. of Kosher salt into a dish.
Add 4 oz. of brown sugar and a few turns of cracked pepper.
Mix it all together with a fork.

Dump the mixture into a baking dish and dredge the pork belly in it.

pork belly dredged in bacon salt

Pork dredged in seasonings and ready for the fridge.

Cover the pork belly and refrigerate for a week, flipping daily.

Are you excited yet?  Check back next week for the conclusion of this thrilling tale.

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Andouille Sausage

Charcuterie  is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as ham, bacon, pates, terrines and sausages.  While I haven’t had much experience making any of those things, Mr. Hippie and I have been making sausage for years.  We always use the same recipe, this one courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.  Below I have tripled it because if you’re going to dirty a meat grinder and have to clean it you may as well make a lot of ground meat.

Andouille Sausage

Ingredients:

  • Pork butt, about 15 pounds, cut into inch-sized pieces (Boneless is easier, but you’re already cutting fifteen pounds of meat up; how long will it take you to remove a bone??
  • 1 1/2 cups Rustic Rub (Recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup paprika
  • 1 heaping tablespoon file powder
  • 2 T. pepper
  • 3 t. cumin
  • 1 large dried chile, crushed or 1 heaping Tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 T. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 T. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped garlic

Directions:

  • Place chopped pork and spices into a large bowl stock pot or canning pot.

    Pork and spices

  • Mix the spices and meat well.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    Mixed up and ready to marinate.

  • Remove from the refrigerator and pass through a meat grinder.

    Grinding the meat the first time.

  • Pass meat through the grinder a second time.

    After a second grinding.

  • Stuff into 1 1/2 inch casings.

    Stuffer ready to rock.

  • Tie casings at 4-inch intervals to form links.

    Mine aren't actually all 4" long. That big one was the last of the meat so we just stuffed it into one casing.

  • Prepare the smoker.

    Our "smoker" is a gas grill with a stainless steel wood chip box in the bottom.

  •  Place the sausages in the smoker and smoke for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the smoker and cool.

    Finished smoked sausages

DISCLAIMER: Smoking twenty minutes will not yield a fully-cooked sausage.  Before consuming, always heat sausages to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to prevent food-bourne illness.

Rustic Rub:

  • 8 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne
  • 5 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme

Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.  Makes about 2 1/4 cups

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