Sky Full of Bacon


More About My Meat

Updates on the progress of my sausagemaking adventures (chronicled here, then here):

I took the remaining piece of shoulder and smoked it the next day.  Great pork, you could taste the quality, but not quite so great as deeply smoke-infused pulled pork— I wonder if the meat was a bit denser than the usual supermarket meat and thus smoke did not penetrate as easily.  The other possibility of course is that I simply used less wood than normal, and didn’t realize it.  Anyway, if not quite so smoky as I liked, certainly a satisfying end for the last 6-7 pounds or so.

Meanwhile, my ham was curing per the recipe in Cooking By Hand:

I finished it with a glaze vaguely inspired by this one from Emeril.  At first I really liked the fresh flavor of this ham, but after a certain point I decided it had too much of the floral spices, clove and allspice or whatever, you got fatigued by them and they gave it sort of an eating-an-air-freshener-cake vibe.  So if I ever do this again, I will reduce the sweet spices, up the savory (a little garlic or just more onion might have been good), and maybe increase the salt, it was not all that salty for a cured product.  But I’m definitely intrigued by the idea of doing one’s own baked ham, after doing it it seems like, hey, why wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, the sausages continue in the wine fridge.  The really hard part is keeping the humidity in the right range– if you do anything, it seems like the tiny space promptly shoots to one extreme or the other.  I’m hoping that a lot of time at 100% humidity and a little time at 0% averages to the 70% I’m supposed to be aiming for.

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4 Responses to “More About My Meat”

  1. mac Says:

    I like curing ham at home. If it wasn’t salty enough, maybe it could cure longer. When I do a whole ham, it sits in the brine for seven days. I can get boneless ham from the packer and I’ll cure those in three days, tie them into roasts and smoke them. Finishing a ham by baking sounds nice but finishing them on the smoker is magical, try it next time.

    Cheers.

  2. Michael Gebert Says:

    I was thinking about smoking it, but decided to give the less adorned flavors of the meat a try this time. I think I would do that next time, though.

  3. Larbo Says:

    For slowly drying out fermented sausages, a dedicated box in which you can control the temperature and humidity is a must. This specialized piece of equipment is known technically as a “beer fridge” and can only be picked up at special locations: the curb, a back alley, or an appliance recycling center. Plug it into an inexpensive temperature controller, buy a variable speed computer fan at Radio Shack, get a humidifier or a way to dehumidify, and you’re in business!

    At 100% humidity, the sausages won’t dry out and bacteria (including those you don’t want) will thrive. At 0% humidity, the outermost layer will dry too fast, trapping moisture in the center, and leaving your sausages to rot from the inside out.

    But once you acquire all this specialized equipment and seemingly control all these factors, your dried sausages can still fail. Spectacularly! That’s what makes this hobby so much fun!

  4. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » How My Meat’s Hangin’ Says:

    […] comment on my last charcuterie report scared me a little, so I’ve been working really hard at controlling humidity related problems […]