Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Finocchiona-Calabrese Chili Salume

The origins of this venture started with two other Salumi's. Shortly after Thanksgiving I was at Safeway which is not uncommon for me. I grocery shop at least 5 days a week.  Anyhow lo-and-hold hanging out in their meat case were a half a dozen Beef Loins weighing in at 14-16 lbs (heavy discount too). I must have walked buy this extravaganza of meat at least 3 x before I pulled the trigger. As I pondered the purchase of the Loins I had to figure out what do with them. 

As most of you already know I love Cured Meat and a while back I used the Loin successfully (multiple times) to make my version of Basturma so with that in mind I purchased a 16 pounder. Hmmmm..... what to do? 

I arrived home and showed the wife my glorious purchase. As always she just nodded her head. My wife is awesome... no judgement with my food and meat obsession so she just nodds and smiles. I get it I feel the same way about her shades of Lipstick too. Anyhow she was headed out to do some girl stuff so I took that opportunity to have her run by Safeway again. I asked her buy me another Loin. As always she smiled and said OK...LOL. Yup that's right one more. I decided to Dry-Age that one in my Steakager.  I'm going to age that one for at least 35 days.

And over the course of several more days I popped back in Safeway and bought my third. Yes that's right a third one which has brought me to this post which is all about the Finocchiona-Calabrese Chili Salume. I used the fat from the other two loins and added lean meat to the fat to make a Salume. Normally you start out with lean meat and add fat to make a Salume but I had all this fat and I had to do something. 

Let's begin.........

How to calculate Meat to Fat Ratio? Click HERE  

These ratios were in a way just by chance. I had lots of fat on hand and I needed to add some lean meat so I could make a Salume. These cuts were on sale so I purchased them hoping they would suffice. 

Here's a picture of all the lean meat cubed up into 1-2 inch pieces. I did this the night before out of convience and timing. I placed all the cubed pieces of lean meat on a flat tray and placed in the freezer. The meat will be partially frozen which makes for an easier cleaner grind. 

I did the same thing with the fat. Not rocket science mind you but very important. If you neglect this step with the fat it will smear up the grinder. Not fun to clean at all. Pic to the right is the Loin where I procured the fat from. 

For this step I chose to grind both the Lean Meat and Fat Separately. I used my Lem Big Bite Grinder  which is a phenomenal grinder. This baby will grind 17 lbs a minute. Anyhow to produce a clean grind I always grind meat first through the largest diameter plate I have (1/2 or 3/4 inch). Than I grind through a 1/4 diameter plate again keeping them separately. After these two grinds I combined the meat together and ground them again through a 1/4 inch plate. Doing it this way produces a homogenous grind for a Salume. There are many other techniques too. You could use different size plates for fat and meat. Note: During the grinding process I rotated the meat bins in and out of the freezer to keep meat temp very low. 

This pic is not necessary but I wanted to add it none the less. When I create anything for the first time I do lot of tasting and jot down a lot of notes. This is just one page. There are a couple others. Anyhow if you decide to create something of your own make sure to take some notes so you replicate what you did but also so you see the evolution of your endeavor. 

Here is a list of the ingredients. For the first 7 ingredients.... hmmmm should I talk about them a bit? Salt....duh it's necessary. Cure # 1....Safety and color. Dextrose for flavor (type of sugar), I also used Sodium Phosphate to help with the yield and with its ability for allow proteins to hold on to more water. More water greater yield and moisture. Non-Fat Milk..... binder and to preserve moisture when cooking, Corn Syrup Solids....To enhance the binding, Sodium Erythorbate....Speed up the curing and to set color faster. Anyhow combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. 

For rest of the.....I used whole Calabrian Chilis and Grains of Paradise so I processed them in a spice mill. Now this part is important: I used fresh Garlic and I was slightly concerned about Cooking at Low Temp (Botulism) using Sous-Vide so I decided to poach the Garlic first. I poached the whole Garlic Cloves at 250 f in Olive Oil. I tossed in the Garlic and slowly raised temp of oil up-to 250 f which took a while. At that point I cooled the garlic in oil for about 10 minutes before I used them. Using a food processor I ground up the Garlic and Sun-dried Tomatoes together. 

Just a few cool videos!!!!

After you have accomplished everything above get ready to mix. I'm lucky enough to have a very large mixing attachment. Connects right next to my grinder. Turn it on and slowly add the bowl containing the first 7 ingredients. Mix it for minute or two. Hmmmm....how does the texture look? Have a very large pitcher of Ice water ready. I added a whole lot of water.....maybe a quart in total. Anyhow slowly add the rest of the ingredients. When everything looks homogenous your'e done. Oh and take some out and sauté and adjust seasoning if you like.

Prep the cases. I used Higher Barrier 65 mm casing and a 100 mm Collagen Casing. The Collagen casings are great for smoking. I plan on smoking the 100 mm for a few hours. 

Get the Sausage stuffer ready!!!! I've had this baby for at least 20 years.  

65 mm stuffed!!!!
100 mm done too. I tied up the 100mm casing because because it will hung in my smoker.

Even though they are marked Water Proof & High Barrier casings I still didn't trust them. I'm going Vac seal them up to avoid any accidents. These babies will be cooked at 155 for 3 hours. 

This huge Salume will Hot Smoke first for 3 hours at 200F. 

All smoked and now vac sealed for the second phase of cooking. I'm going to Sous-Vide this baby at 155 f for 5 hours. 

After all the Salume's were cooked they were Shocked in a huge Ice-bath and refrigerated for a day or two. The following pictures are gratuitous in nature. Review at the bottom of the pics...

Review- Absolutely amazing. Everything about these Salume's were great. What changes would I make? Add 5% more fat. The larger size diameter Salume was easier to slice so that's what I will do in the future. I preferred the Smoked version over the non-smoked version. Those 3 hours of smoke did two things. It provided some mild awesome smoke flavor and it set the the meat. Much easier to slice than the non-smoked version. 

So what are the uses of this particular salume? Well if you look at the flavor profile it has many uses. Sandwiches obviously and if you fry them just a little it enhances the overall taste. 

Stuff Shell stuffings
Pizza Topping
etc etc

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sausage/Salume Meat/Fat Ratio Calculations Formula

How to calculate Meat to Fat Ratio?

Not as easy as one thinks without the right formula. The first thing one might think is..... Hey I have 10 lbs of lean meat and I want 30% of fat so I will multiply 10 X 30% = 3.... ahh 30% correct? Nope it's not.  Let's dive into this a bit further.....So if the total weight of both the Fat and Lean Meat are 13 lbs and the Fat weighs 3 lbs I should be able to 3/13 and I should get 30%? Nope you get 23%. What the hell happened? It's not the correct way to calculate Ratios for Salume's or Sausages. So here you go!!!

M= total weight of the lean Meat (or as lean as you can get it with trimming)
A= the Fat % you want (I want 40%)
B= Factor
F= Fat in Pounds or Grams 

First we need to calculate the factor which is important to determine Fat needed.

100% - A = B

B =60% or .60

M (Meat) divided by B (Factor) minus M = F

So I have 14 lbs of Lean Meat (M=14) and I want to add 40% of Fat (A=40%)... First I need to calculate my Factor (B) so I take 100% Minus the Fat A=40% which becomes my Factor B=60%.  

This is what it looks like... 100%-40% =60% our Factor (B). (14/.60)-14 = 9.33 lbs of fat which equates to 40% of FAT.  9.33/23.3= 40%

or another way to look at it....

14/.6023.3 - 14 = 9.33 of Fat 

M + F = 23.33 =Total Weight of Meat and Fat so to calculate Percentage to verify what we have 9.33/23.33 = 40%

Sunday, October 1, 2017


That's right another Duck recipe from me. An out of the box recipe no doubt. As most of you know I don't eat Pork which leads me to my next point of evolution in food. Since I don't partake in treif I'm on a constant and boundless quest to make the unusual. Transforming food is what I love to do. I like using the term Yiddisher Kop which means Jewish Head to describe what it is I do. Katshkecetta is Yiddish for Duckcetta if you were curious.

This recipe originated with my desire to replicate the treif version know as Pancetta. I did this twice before using both Veal and Beef. I used the Veal Navel Cut for this application and it was  magnificent. I called the Veal version Vealcetta. I also made a Beef version (Used Beef Navel) called Bovicetta. The veal version was much better than the Beef version. Anyhow I thought that Duck would be a great canvas for this grandiose of a recipe. Based on previous experiences I'm using the Muscovy Breast for this "Cetta". The Muscovy breasts are tasty and easy to work and should work well with this crazy concept of mine. You can check out my other Duck Cured meat recipes HERE. In this recipe I won't go into a huge amount of detail because it's virtually no different than my Vealcetta. 

As with most of my recipes there's always a need. Growing up in NYC and eating (PORK) was normal for me. Having a Sicilian Grandfather turned me on too many many different Italians foods which I miss and love. That being said I have not eaten any Treif in almost 18 years. About 8 months ago I saw a recipe being made on T.V. called, yup you guessed it Pasta Carbonara. I remembered eating this many times as a young man. Traditional Carbonara like the one my grandfather cooked was made with Pancetta or Guanciale. So with that I needed a meat that was high in fat and just tasted divine. Well we all know that's Duck. My Vealcetta would have been Ok but Duck is the best for this application in my opinion. All that Duck fat is heavenly. 
Here's my version of Pasta Carbonara with Duckcetta.

First things first- Measure out all your ingredients. Combine the Salt and Cure #2 in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a spice mill grind Whole Cloves, Mustard Seed and Fennel together and place in separate bowl. Measure out the remaining ingredients and place in same bowl as the Cloves, Mustard and Fennel......mix thoroughly. You should have two bowls.
Note: You will need Orange Zest too. not listed in recipe. 

Here is a beautiful picture of both sides of the duck. It's important that the skin is attached. We're going to roll this baby. 

Apply the Salt & Cure to the breast making sure to get it in every nook & cranny (skin side too). Next add orange zest all over the breast. I didn't add it to the skin side.

Anyhow take the other bowl that contains the other ingredients and apply the rub getting it into all the nooks & crannies. Vacuum seal and place in refrigerator for at least a week and up to about 12 days. It's an equilibrium cure so you can't really over cure the thing. Flip it over every day too.

After the 12 days of curing I removed the Duck from its plastic home and rinsed and patted them dry. Notice they're sitting on plastic wrap? Explanation coming.

What's all that white powder? That's called Transglutminase aka Meat-Glue. This stuff will allow us to roll that baby up tight and it will hold its shape. The proteins will bond in about 24 hours and it will become ONE perfectly shaped cylinder. 

This is an important part so pay attention. Using the plastic wrap we're going to roll the duck up extremely tight. The idea here is to roll the duck up so tight that all the proteins are connecting and there are no air gaps. As you roll up the duck a cylinder will form. You must keeping squeezing and stretching the plastic wrap to create a very tight cylinder. In the end I think I rolled it probably 20 plus times. During this process you will twist the ends and squeeze in.  

Keep squeezing the ends and tie off with butcher twine. It may require two of you to get this baby really tight. After your done Vac seal and refrigerate. It needs 24 hours for the proteins to bond and meld together. 

After 24 hours you have a perfectly shaped Duck cylinder. 
Now that's tight!!!!

Now place in a dry aging chamber or use a UMAI bag like I did until the Duck loses 30% of its green weight. 

Wow.....because of the fat content of the Duck this took 5 months to reach the proper weight. I was not expecting it to take this long. 

After the long haul the Duck was placed in a standard Vacuum bag to equalize. Ok what's this equalize thing? Equalizing just means that the moisture levels will have a chance to distribute evenly through the meat. As the meat dries we know that the outer layers are drier than the inner layers. Sitting in a vac bag for a few weeks will equalize the moisture. How long? It needs at least 4 weeks. So all in all this baby took 6 months to complete. Was it worth it? 

Here it is......... Review below gratuitous pictures. 

Review- Wow just amazing. From the flavors to the texture just absolutely divine. How does this compare to my other duck recipes? .....all I have to say is WOW!!! I'm blown away. I must say the texture is far superior to my Duck Prosciutto. With the Prosciutto I never considered rolling them up and now that I have I won't go back. I will use this techniques for all my future recipes.