How To Make Your Own Charcuterie at Home

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

 

Charcuterie


How To Make Your Own Charcuterie At Home

 

There is a bit of art as well as a lot of science involved with making your own charcuterie at home. It isn’t an easy process and mistakes will inevitably happen. Why bother with making your own salami or ham at home then? The reasons all vary from wanting to have control over the ingredients, to the cost savings, to the satisfaction of learning a new skill.

 


Whatever your reason for wanting to surely meet yourself, the process is not as difficult as it seems. The learning curve may seem daunting at first, but when you are prepared and have done your research it will be a much easier process than you imagined. In this article, we will go over how you can cure your own meat at home.

 

Charcuterie




What you need

 

You’ll need some specialized equipment to be able to make your own charcuterie. You can go as high-end or bare-basic as you like as it doesn’t necessarily require spending a lot of money. If you can satisfy some basic requirements that you need to have then you can make cured meats successfully. 

 

It starts with two essentials. Salt and humidity. You’ll definitely need to buy bulk salt to be able to have enough to cure your meat. Salt is what creates an environment within the meat that bacteria can’t grow in so it doesn’t spoil. Without salt, you can’t cure meat, it’s that simple. 

 

The next essential factor is humidity. You need to create humid conditions that stay consistent. Assuming that you don’t have a curing chamber beneath your house where you can maintain a constant temperature and humidity then this means having to buy a mini fridge or curing chamber. You can buy a small dorm fridge that can be converted into a curing chamber. Or, you can buy one already made and ready to go if you’re willing to spend more money. 

 

The key is that you have a temperature between 50°f and 60°f. Higher than that and you have an environment that bacteria love and can spoil the meat even though it’s salted. The humidity level should be around 70 to 75%. The idea is that you want to dry your meat out slowly so it needs to be over 70% so the outside doesn’t dry out too fast. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be over 75% because then the moisture from outside works its way into the meat and it won’t cure. 

 

If you buy a dorm fridge then you have to modify it by allowing it to run at a higher temperature than the typical 37°f. 

  


charcuterie



The process

 

How to cure the meat depends on what type of charcuterie you are going to make. The basic premise is that you will salt the meat, then you will hang it up to dry in your curing chamber. After a few months, it will be ready to eat. 

 

The best way to go is to start out with the so-called “easy” charcuterie. These are the ones that only need to be salted and dried. Capocollo is a good example as is duck breast prosciutto. When you have to grind the meat and put it in a casing, it gets more complicated. More can go wrong as it has to be very sterile. 

 

If you decide to make capocollo (no it isn’t called gabagool!) Since it is easy and delicious it starts with getting your spices ready and the salt. The meat will be from the neck of the pork near the shoulder as it has the right fat to meat ratio that makes for a delectable and a melt in your mouth experience. 

 

Start out with a load of salt that should come to 3% of the weight of the meat. Then add some spices to taste like black pepper, garlic, and chili flakes if you like it. Mix everything together. You can wash your meat in red wine like they do in Italy or skip right to the seasoning stage.

 

Rub the meat with the seasoning making sure to massage it into the meat. Then use a vacuum packer to seal the meat and leave it in your regular fridge to cure for seven days. 

 

At this point, you’re ready to hang it up and let air and nature do their work. Let it hang in your curing chamber for at least 40 days or until it loses about 35% of its original weight. Then, it’s ready to slice and enjoy on your grazing table or charcuterie board!

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