Sky Full of Bacon


How My Meat’s Hangin’

Larbo’s comment on my last charcuterie report scared me a little, so I’ve been working really hard at controlling humidity related problems inside my wine fridge.  At this point, I really have to say, I can’t recommend the wine fridge route for something like this that needs to lose a lot of water over time— they’re designed to maintain whatever humidity’s inside them, and that’s going to keep the humidity too high.  Lardo or guanciale were fine because they’re mostly fat and don’t lose much liquid.  But sausage has left a puddle on the bottom every day.  And given Larbo’s comment about the possibility of nasty mold growing, I took everything out on Saturday and inspected it.  Sure enough, I was getting a little white activity on the outside of the casing, which is not unexpected, but on one sausage, I also had a turquoise green growth where I think it was pressed up against another sausage and not drying out.

I washed everything down with a vinegar solution and then I circled the area that had the turquoise green with a marker, just to see what it does in the future.  I also weighed everything, and after 12 days, all of the saucisson secs had lost between 25 and 38% of their weight to date.  The test sopressata, which came from drier leg meat, was behind all of them, at 22%.

Despite some scariness, I have to say that it’s smelling good and starting to gnarl up nicely into sausage.  If it gets cold enough, maybe I’ll hang it out of the wine fridge in my basement; otherwise I’ll just keep monitoring the humidity and soaking up what’s on the bottom.  Maybe now, the rate of loss will slow and it will start to become possible to keep the humidity range I really want.

As for the rest of the meat, coppa is getting another week in the fridge to soak up salt and flavor, bacon is smoking as I write (Sunday afternoon)…

…and the hambone has a rendezvous with a pot of beans later today.

(Meanwhile, I also taught myself how to make croissants on Sunday (first batch came out all right), and started soaking a country ham to take to a Thanksgiving dinner.  I was like a 60s housewife on amphetamines.  19th nervous breakdown undoubtedly impending.)

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One Response to “How My Meat’s Hangin’”

  1. Scott Says:

    One trick I picked up from Jason Molinari over at his cured meats blog. I’m not sure how much room is your wine fridge, but see if you can squeeze a small, low wattage light. When I had high humidity issues, I pointed the light at my external temperature controller probe. This caused the refrigerator to cycle much more frequently, which enabled the forcing out of humidity. Good looking salami by the way.