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new to charcuterie

Discussion in 'Curing' started by medtran49, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. medtran49

    medtran49 Newbie

    Hi All,

    May I please get your advice?  Hubby has decided he wants to try his hand at charcuterie and has asked for books, supplies, etc. for that for Christmas.  We've made sausage many, many times, usually Andouille, sometimes chorizo and breakfast sausage, and have made tasso (fridge cured/then smoked pork), our own corned beef.  We have our first batch of homemade sauerkraut going now, about 3 weeks old and soon to be tasted.  As well, he "Q's", makes a pulled pork to die for, plus ribs, brisket, turkeys, etc. He has a 21"? Weber kettle, some kind of wood/charcoal smoker, and a big green egg.  So, not total newbies.

    We are just going to be making in small amounts.  Bought a wine fridge already.  In fact, that's where the kraut is at.  We live in South Florida so it's too warm to hang anything outside of a controlled environment pretty much year round.

    I've looked at books and books and books and, of course, there are good reviews and bad reviews about every one of them.  Ruhlman and Marianski seem to be authors that have a majority following.  I figured I'd buy him a couple of books plus some supplies.  Any recommendations on the books?

    I'm thinking our best bet will be to try something solid like pancetta or bresola, duck prosciutto, etc.  As far as supplies,



    cures/salts but not exactly sure which ones

    bacteria cultures


    Would appreciate any and all advice.  Thanks.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    There are also many great websites devoted to the craft. I would start with a good quality stuffer if you don't already have one. Makes it much more enjoyable and turns it from a chore into fun. I don't have any books so can not comment except that all I hear are good things about Ruhlman's stuff. I like the Len Poli website. I have not tried fermenting yet but would like to get into that side of things. Cure #1 is a must have or you can buy premade spice kits that include everything. It seems you might already be well on your way as you have made many of the things that I have in my time with this wonderful hobby. I will be watching this thread. Also a digital scale is key to getting your ratio's weights and volumes correct. I am right now starting on A cold smoker to further fulfill my addiction to smoked and cured meat.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  3. medtran49

    medtran49 Newbie

    Hi Timberjet,

    I've looked at multiple web sites and have bookmarked quite a few for him for later.  I'll check out the one you mentioned as I don't recall if I've visited there or not yet.  This looks like a fairly active forum plus deals with smoking, which he enjoys, so I thought it would be a good place to ask.  Actually surprised he hasn't found his way here before now but I'm not going to steer him here until after Christmas cause even though he knows the generalities of what he's getting, he doesn't know exactly what he's getting and I'd like at least a little surprise factor.

    We've always used the KitchenAid mixer to grind our meat and stuff our sausage and it's okay for the amounts we do, which is usually about 10 pounds of Andouille at one time.  I wouldn't want to do anymore than that though as it starts to heat up too much toward the end.  Gotta keep the food safe you know.

    We do have a good digital scale.  Bought it for his reptile hobby (to weigh animals) and have ended up using it for cooking mostly.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Get A stuffer. I use my kitchenaid grinder and it works fine now that I found the improved knives and plates they sell on amazon. Huge improvement! I recently bought a 5 lb stuffer and can't believe I waited this long to do it. Best thing I have done for my charcutere ever. Also I would recommend A Maverick two probe thermometer if you don't have one yet. 2nd best thing ever. This site is awesome and you could read sausage making threads until your eyeballs fell out. haha. I have been a member since 2010 and visit here every day. Great people and loads of information. Many of the members here are professionals in the field which is pretty cool in my book. I have a ton of links to great websites but alas the rules here forbid posting links. If you really want to talk to someone on here that knows their stuff. Digging dog Farms is your ticket. But there are many other really knowledgable folks here too. I will try to help keep this thread up on top so the guys will see it and help you out.
  5. medtran49

    medtran49 Newbie

    Thanks, I'll definitely have to check out the blades and dies.  I just don't know about the stuffer though since we only make sausage 3-4 times a year.  We have so much stuff for the kitchen now.  We cook a lot and have far more gadgets and pans/pots of all kinds and machines than anybody I know and we're getting ready to downsize housing as we're empty nesters and have gotten tired of having so much space we don't use plus having a 2-story house to maintain.

    ETA:  I just went to Amazon.  Are you talking about the Chef's Choice Professional Meat grinder, #799?  That thing looks wicked!

    ETA again:  Kept looking.  Wow, I know he'll want that 5-piece set with bigger die plates and the new blade design.  He's been complaining last couple of times we've made Andouille that he wanted a bigger grind than the standard die plate we have.  Thanks!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    This is what I am talking about. Please take my word on the stuffer. You will be making sausage much more often now. hehe. Wait til we get ahold of your husband on here. haha
  7. cldsmk

    cldsmk Newbie

    Hey yall,

    Joined the forum today with some charcuterie questions as well. Coincidentally i live in central florida so open curing is only an option some of the year. As far as what you need sounds like you are on the right track. I would start looking for a larger refrigerator. One that you could cut holes in to allow air flow as well as humidity as these are the primary factors in curing. Michael Ruhlmans book is fantastic and highly recommended. Actually emailed him a charcuterie question last week and had an answer within a half hour which was impressive to say the least. Our biggest issue here is definitely heat. If you already make sausages (ill agree with the stuffer) a good place to start would be a salami type fermented product. Duck breasts and any bresolas are fairly forgiving as well. Im just getting into whole muscle groups and have a bone in whitetail ham thats been hanging in my closet aging for a month. Best of luck, and remember white mold good, everything else bad!
  8. cldsmk

    cldsmk Newbie

    Also thanks for the tip on the improved blades. Ive been running a ka grinder/stuffer for almost a decade and was about to move up to a lem #8. Ill give these a shot first!
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    They really are awesome. Like night and day. Stuffing with it still sucks though.but I don't have to do that anymore. Yay!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  10. Isn't that the truth. [​IMG]