Curing Chamber temps and Humidity

Discussion in 'Curing' started by kosap1, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Hi all, 

    I have been making sausage/jerky and other charcuterie for a while now but recently wanted to take the jump into curing some delicious salami, duck breasts and the crown jewel; pork leg cured for a year.

    I'm sort of a geek so wanted to track everything and get as much data as possible from my curing chamber. I built an Arduino controlled system that tracks and modifies the temp and humidity levels. Down the road  I'm going to include weight sensors to auto track the weight of the hanging items to track their weight loss over time. 

    My question here is: After getting all of my hardware set up and starting to track the numbers, my humidity level is fluctuating quite a bit. Is that a problem?

    here is a link to my data: 

    the first sheet is live recordings from the chamber and the second is the average and some charts. Readings are taken every 5 minutes and if a reading causes the fridge or humidifier to click on then it runs until the reading is within acceptable limits. Right now the Temp is set at 55 degrees F and the humidity is set at 70%.

    let me know what you think. 

    and if you are interested in more about the system I'll be doing a write up for that as soon as I have more time.
     
  2. Hey there. Humidity is much harder to keep close to the set point that temperature. Most will have the controller to 70 let's say and expect it to bounce around a bit. There might be some changes to your system that would help you tighten the humidity controls, but it would take some modding. I don't know your setup though.

    I've got a spare fridge that's supposed to become by chamber. I'm going to have a PC fan setup to remove air from the chamber and an inlet setup to add the moisture from a humidifier. My hope that this would help keep the chamber closer to the set point of my controller.

    I'd love to see a write up...and I wonder how possible it would be for you to make this system for others? I'd love to see what's going on in mine when I get it rolling!
     
  3. Thanks for the response Rickey! glad to know that this is normal (kind of). 

    The issue is that the code I have running tells me the temp/humidity every 5 minutes and turns the humidifier on and off every 5 minutes. I can shorten that interval but then the fridge could click on and off too frequently. [thinking out loud]I guess I could make it 4 minutes and see what happens. The temp really isn't fluctuating that much. [/]

    And yeah! I can definitely replicate the setup, and it works with any fridge/humidifier. I'll post some more info in a few days. :)
     
  4. Alright. So it sounds like you've got the code telling it to go on and off regardless of what the humidity and temp is. That's not gonna get you the control you like...as you're seeing in your charts. You should set the code to turn on when the RH drops below you set point (you could even tell it to turn off 2 below your set point) and to turn off at or maybe 1 above your set point. Do the same for the temp. Frequent cycling of the compressor will shorten it's life span so adding that delay into the temperature should help.

    I highly advise setting a fan to come on at the same time your humidity does and for it to flow out of the chamber. Cycling of the air inside of the chamber is a good thing.

    I wonder if you'd charge a fee for putting it together (outside of parts)? Maybe that's a topic for pm. Hope this stuff helps!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  5. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you have hysteresis (an offset) implemented in the controller code? You can't have just a threshold, you need range say 65-75 for humidity. At 65 humidifier turns ON, at 75 turns off. Same for temperature.

    Another reason for humidity out of whack could be the fact that when the fridge is ON the RH drops.

    Try not to have the fridge and humidifier ON simultaneously in your software. Have the humidifier wait until the temp drops. That will paint you a better picture on how humidity is controlled.
     
  6. Ron and Atomic, 

    I do have hysteresis set as a % +/- the set temp or humidity. So that is taken care of. My other thought there was that a mini-fridge costs about $50 on craigslist so if I mess one up with my testing/project it won't be the end of the world. When I buy a nice and large fridge then it will be important. 

    My main question here is what is the min/max that the salami can really get to before issues arise? or is it not important becasue it really only hits that for minutes out of every hour? 

    And today I wired a fan to another relay port to come on when the humidifier is off, to circulate the air and give a better reading. I can always change that plug to an 'always on' setting. Would that be better? I have read a bit about more case hardning when there is a fan on, although mine is a 12v fan with a 5v power supply so it is not gusting in there. 

    I want to add some weight sensors then I'll post some messages about the system being available for sale. I think it would be awesome to see the weight change data along with the temp/humidity. I am thinking I'll also include a sensor for outside temp. Like I said originally, I am sort of a geek, so the more data you have here the better. 
     
  7. I personally wouldn't be concerned about the RH reaching higher levels for a couple minutes an hour. 

    An experiment that might shed some light would be to have it report every minute the RH. Then chart out how many ACTUAL minute sit spent above say 80 and below 70 (I like this RH range personally). I'm thinking it would be a very small amount of time spent outside this range. 

    It sucks when case hardening happens, so I'd stick with the fan coming periodically rather than always on.

    Weight sensors would be pretty cool actually. Looking forward to seeing this up and running.
     
  8. Ok, along those lines I'm going to have the RH set at 75. will upload that shortly, and see the data over the next 5-6 hours. I think we should be ok. Right now over the past 38 hours the average temp has been 53.75 and the avg humidity has been 74. 

    Making the first batch of salami this weekend so I'm hoping to have these small kinks worked out by tomorrow. 
     
  9. Those numbers look great. Got a recipe you're starting with? 
     
  10. I think this one sounds the best and looks the best. http://honest-food.net/2014/08/07/basic-salami-recipe/

    What do you think of that one? do you have any other recommendations?
     
  11. For some reason I never saw the reply about the recipe. That site is quality. I would HIGHLY suggest looking at this site for recipes also.

    http://lpoli.50webs.com/Sausage recipes.htm

    Of course they aren't mine and I take zero credit for them (disclaimer). So from reading you've never made a salami style charcutierie before right? The sale should be increased to 2.25-2.50% of the meat weight and follow the cultures fermenting guidelines. What culture were you using?
     
  12. Just wanted to chime in... I NEVER go below 80% relative humidity when making salumi. Just so you know, when you do go below that, and into the 70's, you really run the risk of case hardening your salami, or severe hardening on the outside of you muscle salumi like Culatello or Coppa.

    You want SLOW diffusion of moisture from the center out, and that is why I keep my chamber at 55-60F with 80-85% relative humidity. I use the Auber controller, and has made me some amazing products by keeping the humidity tight.

    These are some of my products I made, and as you can see there is no hardening on the outside because I kept the humidity a little above or at 80% at all times...

    IF you follow this you will always have great product!


    Finocchiona in a Hog Bung with Tuscan Fennel Pollen and Calabrian Fennel Seeds.


    Tamworth breed Coppardi (its a coppa with the fat cap still on - so Coppa and Lardo = Coppardo)
     
  13. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great products Evan. Have you made culatello? Have pics?
     
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That meat looks soooooo good....
     
  15. I have a Culatello still drying! Nowhere near done, and only 4 months in. I did finish a Fiocco though (the muscle on the other side of the Culatello), and is pictured below... I also made a quick video tying the Culatello if you want to check it out:



    Culatello classic tying with tying needle.

    The finished tying of the Culatello and Fiocco:


    Here is the picture of the Fiocco:

     
  16. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Outstanding. What is the casing you use for these?
     
  17. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You won't happen to have a video on leg butchering to cut the cualtello and fiocco hams?
     
  18. I used a fresh Beef Bladder for the Culatello, and a fresh Hog Bladder for the Fiocco.

    Beef Bladder:

    http://www.thecraftbutcherspantry.com/natural-casings/beef-bladders-6-8-kilo

    Hog Bladder:

    http://www.thecraftbutcherspantry.com/natural-casings/hog-bladders-3-5kilo
    I do indeed have a butchery video. This was from a demo I did at the CIA for an old instructor of mine in Garde Manger. The isolation of the Culatello and Fiocco are at the end of the video. Start it from when you see me grab the hind leg.

    Butchery for Salumi Cuts

     
  19. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great stuff. Thank you.
     

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