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Dry curing chamber build

indaswamp

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About the colored electric tape...

The wires with green tape are for the temperature controller (Becasue the temperature controller is green). Red for the heating, and white for the cooling. (I ran 4 wires in case I needed an auxiliary fan to move air. But I absent mindedly taped it for the temp. cooling not realizing that the refrigerator plug is already on the outside and will not be run into the refrigerator.)

The wires with blue tape are for the Humidity Controller (because the humidity controller is Blue). The red is from increasing humidity, the white is fro reducing humidity.

If I ever need to change out equipment, it's plug and play. I do not need to pull wires out from the wall. Only cost me about $15 bucks because I already had the wire.
 

indaswamp

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Wow...and I just THOUGHT I had an idea of what I was getting into making salamis...There is a lot of information. Probably don't need to understand ALL of it, but I can't help it, I have a curious nature. Been doing a TON of reading. Thanks to those that recommended the Marianske books. Great resource! The depth of knowledge and instruction in 'The Art of Making Fermented Sausages' blew me away!

So...I now feel mentally prepared to dive in. I have cure #2, dextrose, and picked up a hank of 2-2.5" beef middles from Bailey's. First undertaking will be traditional southern European Pepperoni, not the fast fermented American style. As soon as my cultures arrive, I'll start...and post pics....
 

indaswamp

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I made some tweaks to my set up and thought I'd share what I did to improve the system.

Under normal operating conditions, the freezer (being used as a freezer once cold) cycles on for about 4 minutes, then shuts off for about 25~30 minutes. Roughly about twice an hour. Being used as a drying chamber for cured meats, with the temp. range on the controller set for 3*, the freezer is cycling on for about 2 minutes and off for 18 minutes. I talked to my friend that owns an HVAC company and he recommended adding a small auxiliary fan blowing on the compressor to cool down the compressor faster so it could handle the faster compression cycles. He recommended the fan turn on after the cool down cycle, thus cooling the hot refrigerant after the cooling cycle.

So studying my set up, I decided run it off the humidity controller on the dehumidifier side becasue when the cooling cycle kicks on, the evap. coil condenses a lot of moisture out of the air thus dropping the humidity about 10%. This turns on the humidifier which then returns the humidity to set point but it overshoots a little. As the humidity rises, the dehumidifier kicks on.

Here's the set up:
added a small 14ga. extension cord to the dehumidifier plug on the controller, then plugged in the dehumidifier and the small auxiliary fan for the compressor.
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I placed the fan on a small box for temporary, but will add a block of wood later. The gallon jug is for the drain collection to remove all the water the evaporator coil condenses on the cooling cycle. Once it fills up, I empty it and then refill the humidifier in the drying chamber. I'll figure out a more permanent arrangement later after the troubleshooting is done.
 

indaswamp

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My friend made this recommendation for the simple fact that your compressor operates much better the cooler the refrigerant is. It has to work harder if the refrigerant is hot, and the freezer was designed for a 25-30 minute cycle, not an 18 minute cycle. With the fan, it operates more like a commercial set up.

The fan cost me $8 bucks at wally world and the cord was $1.29......
 

indaswamp

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Few more tweaks I made after 2 weeks running the chamber with product in it...
1. I moved the temperature sensor to the hottest part of the chamber, on the top shelf towards the front to the unit.
2. I moved the humidity sensor to the driest part of the chamber, to the top left away from the humidifier.
3. I moved the dehumidifier from the bottom back left corner to the top shelf right corner. Though this solved the dry warmer air from vaporizing the water droplets that had condensed inside the evaporator coil enclosure (and thus defeating the purpose of the dehumidifier), It caused the top of the chamber temp. to spike too high from not enough air flow and the hot air sitting at the top of the unit. I moved the dehumidifier back to the bottom, but towards the front of the unit by the door hinge. I moved all product from hanging directly over the dehumidifier to prevent case hardening on the bottom end from the dry air. Now, the dry air can circulate to the top, spread out and circulate back down the opposite side.

Today I flipped all the salamis and hung them upside down...the tops were a little dry from the higher temperatures and drier air at the top of the chamber. I lowered the temp to 51* and bumped the humidity to 85% for a few days to let them rehydrate a little and slow the drying on the ends a little. I also turned the humidifier exhaust spout towards the dry ends to help rehydrate them.....

2 weeks in on the pepperoni...20% weight loss on the thinnest one (about 1 3/4" when stuffed) 14% on the thickest one (about 2 1/2" when stuffed).

I figure I'm losing about 0.8~1% per day on most of the salamis, with the thinnest one drying a touch faster. Very fun project to pass the time under lockdown @ the house.....
 

forktender

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And people ask me why I don't cure meat and sausage.:emoji_laughing::emoji_laughing::emoji_laughing:

Holy Cow, you have way more patience than I do, congratulations to you for staying after it.
I can't wait to see some finish product from it.

My Gramp's lived on the CA coast and he hung all of his cured meat and sausage in an old sheep barn.
I guess the temps and humidity was ok because he made amazing prosciutto, pancetta, salami, ham, peperoni and sausage. I used to sneak a salami, they were small red wine cured and a peperoni, they were also small about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 thick and 6-8'' long. We always blamed it on the raccoons even though he was super vigilant about killing the critters on around the house and barns.

Very cool, indaswamp some day I'll make one hopefully.

Good job brother.
Dan
 

indaswamp

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Thanks Dan...
I'm $400 in on this learning experience so no turning back now!!! LOL!!!

And here's a quote from a salami master:
"Sometimes, you have a to wake up a in da middle of a the night and take a care a of the salami..." -Christiano Creminelli
 
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indaswamp

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One other tweak I did was to take the cold air exhaust cover at the top of the freezer and rotate it 180* so the air is blowing onto the ceiling of the unit instead of blowing directly on top of the salamis. The air travels towards the door on the ceiling, then hits the shelves as it travels downward which creates turbulance and this creates air movement in every direction, instead of straight down on the salamis.....
 

indaswamp

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I've pretty much decided that I'm going to purchase a second Inkbird IHC-200 Humidity Controller for my drying chamber. I don't like both the humidifier and dehumidifier trying to balance to one set point. Currently, the humidity will overshoot by about 8~10%, and if I set the dehumidifier close to the top of that range, it will stay on , heating the drying chamber until the freezer kicks on. This increases the cycling rate, and the constant air movement is drying the salamis too much. With two controllers, I can have two set points. Set the humidity to say 72% and it will shut off, then overshoot to about 80% and fluctuate a bit staying close to 80%. I can set the dehumidifier to cycle on at like 83 or 85% incase the humidity gets too high, and lower the humidity down 1% then shut off; instead of trying to drive the humidity all the way back down to 80%,which the condensation on the evap coil will take care of on the cooling cycle anyways.

A tight range is not necessary for salami. 70-80% is acceptable. What I don't want is too much airflow, which will happen with a shorter cooling cycle. Currently, the cooling cycle is 2 minutes, plus a 1.5 minute humidifying cycle. Then a slow rise in both humidity and temperature for 20 minutes. This translates to the cooling cycle (with the evaporator fan and humidifier fan) running for 212 minutes per day, and at a stronger than optimal air speed.

A second controller should help dehumidify to a higher set point without heating the chamber too much. Now I guess I'll see if amazon can fulfill the order.
 

blucmal

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Awesome thread. I am just waiting on my dehumidifier going to pick up a fridge next week. Thanks for the alcohol corn starch tip that will help me heaps:emoji_sunglasses:
 

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