Now that the weather is turning cooler, it is time to make a new batch of Lonzino – Dry Cured Pork Loin. Batches 1 & 2 were Fantastic! Batch 3 was a bust, as I rushed the curing stage, and additionally it was partially frozen for much of the time due to a cold snap. So it smelled bad and most of it was brown not pink when pulled from drying.
With this batch it is back to the basics, for a thorough equalization cure. Nice long cure (3 weeks). Flip and massage every 2-3 days . The garage fridge was kept above freezing the whole time (in large part due to our record breaking warm streak here in Southeast Wisconsin). At this point, the meat is fragrant and firm but definitely not frozen. The whole pork loin was split into 3 pieces, each with a different spice blend. The loin has to be cut to be able to hang within my high tech Rubbermaid curing chamber and I like to try different spice variations. The whole pork loin was divided roughly into thirds for the various flavors.
Whole pork loin 2900g
3% salt by weight – 87 g
.25 cure #1 by weight – 7.25 g
Juniper and garlic piece (934g)
1% fresh coarse ground black pepper
0.1% freshly crushed juniper berries
0.25% granulated garlic
Cajun spice piece (909g)
Heavy sprinkle (~1%) Penzey’s Cajun spice blend
Hot/warm pepper piece (1124g)
Heavy sprinkle (1.5%) Penzey’s 33rd and Galena spice blend
Place each piece in zip lock freezer bag (air removed) or vacuum pack and place in the crisper drawer of the fridge for 3 weeks. I did put the cajun and hot pieces in the same bag but the juniper garlic was segregated.
After 3 weeks, wrap each piece in a single layer of Collagen Sheet. Then either truss with butcher’s twine or #16 netting . Note that trying to pull the netting over the pieces will be frustrating. It is far easier if you place the netting over your hand / wrist. Then grasp the meat from one end with your fingers,. Now slide the netting down over your fingers onto the meat. Much easier – done in about 15 seconds. Tie off the ends and make a loop for hanging. Record the weight for each piece.
It is recommended to encourage a white penicillium mold growth for flavor and to discourage unwanted organisms. I take a loaf pan filled with about 1/2″ of warm water that has been sprinkled with a bit of Bactoferm 600 (~0.5g). The package will last for many batches. Fold over the open corner a few times, clip and throw in the freezer for next time.
Now prick the collagen liberally with a sterilized instrument (just lightly) and hang to dry. I use my low budget drying chamber which I detailed previously. Currently it is in the garage rather than the basement with a cold pack in it, as I am still waiting for the temperature outside to drop to seasonal levels. Basement floor is still at 63-65 (too warm).
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