Well it’s snowing outside so a perfect excuse to down tools for a while and write the next post. This one’s about putting longevity into your meat. There are several ways of doing this and we’ve had a go at lots this year. So, in order of success.
Wet cure – A wet cure is simply putting your meat into to a brine solution for an allotted time and then hanging for a week or so. You can add all sorts of weird and wonderful things to your cure from beer to coke. It’s the first time we’ve done this so I kept things simple. Just salt and water. All was going well until it got warm and damp here weather wise and the temperature in our normally freezing cold storage room shot into the early teens and we lost just over half our wet cure meat. For the most part not too bad but the biggest blow was the two hams. Any that wasn’t too gone off was rapidly boiled up for the dogs so they were quite happy about it!
|The brine bucket|
|Profiting from disaster|
“Canned goods” – By this I mean the things we cooked up and put into parfait jars. This year we made: Rillettes, which is a bit like a coarse pate, the meat is salted, shredded then cooked in its own fat. Rillons, like the rillettes but using belly meat and it’s kept in chunks and cooked in wine first, very nice. Finally confit, which really is just chunks of pork, salted over night then cooked in lard and it’s delicious!
|Stored rillons.Yum yum!|
|Rillettes cooking away.|
|Nicer than Intermarche!|
Saucissons – These are air dried sausages. Essentially you make a salty sausage mix and hang to dry until they go hard. The flavour improves with time so the longer you can resist temptation the better. We made two types, a plain one and a sort of chorizo flavoured one with lots of garlic and paprika. Both are very good and are a real success this year.
Dry Cure – Easiest to do and our most successful. Simply rub salt into the meat each and drain off any liquid that comes off. In the case of the hams I set up a box with holes in it to allow the liquid to drain and covered the meat in salt. Again you can add things to your salt mixture to add flavour. I did some bellies adding in sugar, pepper, bay leaves and juniper berries to make a sort of pancetta. We also had a go at lonza and coppa which are entire muscles kept whole and given the salt treatment.
|Bellies getting a salt rub. You pay good money for that at a spa.|
|Ham going into a salt storage|
Next time there will be more dry curing and “canning” as these were by far and away the most successful methods. We did also fill one and a half freezers and cook a whole shoulder a couple of days after butchery, which was slowly consumed over about a week in a variety of leftover pork dishes! Starts all over again this spring as the hunt now begins for two more piglets for chez Powell. Oink oink.