When doing my research on foods, especially fermented or cured, I have learned to look first for the “tasting” post or video then decide whether to look at the preparation posting or video. If there is no tasting video – just assume it did not turn out. Probably the best that I have seen are Gavin Weber’s cheese making videos. When tasting he tells it like it is – not all turn out and some are interesting surprises.
This experiment started back on Dec 15, 2018 and my first post on it was: Making Lonzino – Dried cured pork loin (Yes, I waited to see if it was a slimy mess or not before the first posting).
Over the intervening weeks ,I took a few photos and weighed the pieces to track the progress.
Starting at 1100 grams each the target for 30% weight loss was then 770 g. Today the spicy one was down to 789g and I figured it was ready to test. Besides I had to make room for a Bresaola that was going in. T
he last couple of weeks have not been optimum for drying as I had to move the chamber to the garage as I was doing some wood project finishing in the basement and did not want the fumes to impair the flavor. So I have been shuttling it between garage and basement depending on the temperatures (it reached -30F here) and extraneous odors (garden tractor which I use for plowing stinks on start up). This means the ambient temp has been anywhere form 28-58F depending on where the box was – not ideal. Plus I have been adding more meat and it may be tasing the little fan a bit with the added moisture.
Now is the time for the unveiling…
This is definitely a success. The flavor is just what I was looking for with the pork, fennel and pepper. It is a nice subtle blend. The outer layer of collagen and mold is discarded before eating (although it is edible). The texture is nice, but I want to dry it a bit more to get it a bit firmer. At this point is just a bit softer than prosciutto. I will probably trim the fat evenly next time. The meat is a bit softer near the fat layer. The outer layer of meat is a bit darker than the center which could be a bit of case hardening (outside drying too fast) but the texture really does not vary much.
Weights in grams
|Date||Plain pepper||Spicy||Box RH|
Stay tuned . More projects underway. Dry cured ham – similar to Speck, and Bresaola which just went into the box today after 2 weeks in the fridge.
I also brought some in to work and ran samples past a few of my friends. Overall the rating was excellent. Probably 60% would like it a bit drier / firmer but all want more. So, the other piece is going to dry to 35-40% weight loss and I will run another test. Overall, I am very encouraged by the consensus on the results!
Update 3/17/19 The second (plain pepper) piece was dried to 38% weight loss and the group appraisal was that it has better texture. However the fennel / spicy flavoring has the taste edge.
You really should not just take my first time experience as gospel. I did a lot of research prior to attempting this and I hope you do as well . Some of my favorite references are:
- Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- Olympia Provisions: Cured Meats and Tales from an American Charcuterie by Elias Cairo, Meredith Erickson
- Salumi by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
Plus a variety of youtube videos. Ignore any that post only a “making ” video but no “tasting” video.
My favorite youtube video is “making capicola” she reminds me of my grandmother and covers the wrapping in collagen sheets before hanging.