Sky Full of Bacon

Taking Inventory of My Meat

So it being the first of the year and whatnot, I decided to take an inventory of the various charcuterie projects I have going.

Saucisson Sec. I’ve served a few people off one of the sausages I made from the Ruhlmann book, and as noted before, it’s been universally praised. I’m very happy with this one and this recipe. I took the remaining sausages down and carefully examined the ones that had been problematic. The one where I circled a blue mold spot on the outer skin seemed fine; I’m still going to treat it carefully. The one that really did have problems was one of the two that were too long for my wine cooler, and I had make them slightly j-shaped; this one I could see had formed a gap inside the casing at the point where the meat had to make a left turn, and not surprisingly, a little fuzz grew there. I trimmed it off substantially above where that point was, about 2″, but a very modest taste test of the upper portion (which looks great) seemed fine. Still, I’m going to do a little reading and not be surprised if that one has to go.

Sopressata. Well, having made two things from Paul Bertolli’s Cooking By Hand, I can safely draw one conclusion: he likes cloves a lot more than I do. I tasted this today (having just reached its suggested range of 50 to 60 days) and clove was the main thing I tasted. The pork didn’t seem to have nearly the good funky flavor that it does in the saucisson sec; it doesn’t have the lactic funkiness of great sopressata, or the clean porky flavor of the meat. Really, it was kind of blah. It’s also not very pretty because the skin is all wrinkled up and dried on the outside, not snugly wrinkled like the saucisson sec. Not sure if something didn’t go right— I did make it much smaller than the customary sopressata size, which surely affected something— but I guess I’m glad I didn’t make all of these and still have most of the ground pork, unseasoned, in my freezer. I put this back to hang another week, what the hell, and I’ll try it again then, but in the meantime, I may start investigating a different recipe that can use that quantity of leg meat.

Coppa. I unwrapped the coppa to see how it was doing. Of all of these, it spent the least time in the less than optimal conditions of the wine fridge and the most in the fairly perfect conditions of my wine cellar in wintertime. It looks great! It’s lost over a third of its weight (1105 to 698 grams), feels appropriately gnarled, smells appropriately spicy-funky. I’m looking forward to this one a lot.

By the way, I was just sent some samples by a new artisanal charcuterie company here in the midwest, and tried one of them last night.  Very promising… watch for a report soon.

Check Out My Sausage!
Misadventures in Sausage-Making
Feeling Better About My Sausage
More About My Meat
How My Meat’s Hangin’
Meat on the Move

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