Sunday, May 17, 2009

Charcuterie 101, Dried Pork Loin, Part 1

And now for something completely different! ~ Monty Python's Flying Circus

Charcuterie: The art of curing, smoking and drying meat

You might think my life revolves around C-Dory boats the the C-Brats web site...well, actually it does, but today I did something different. My friend Marc Grove of Wefings Marine, the C-Dory / Ranger Tug dealer in Apalachicola, FL, got me going on a couple of fun hobbies - coffee roasting and charcuterie. If you are thinking about buying a C-Dory or a Ranger Tug, you might as well buy it from Marc! Anyway, today I started another batch of our favorite, dried pork loin. I took some pix in case this appeals to anybody else.

This is pretty easy, you only need some pork loin, some Morton Tenderquick cure (available in many supermarkets), some gallon ziplock bags, and a place to hang the meat after it is cured. It needs to cure for about two weeks in the fridge and then hang for about three weeks to dry.

I started with a Costco pork loin, $1.85 a pound, about seven and half pounds for $13.82. The goal here is to find cheap pork! I have bought pork shoulder (Boston butts) for between $0.89 and $1.49 a pound for sausage and coppa. Loin is usually a little more, but anything under $2.00 is good, especially since the finished product retails for $20 a pound or more!

A Costco Pork Loin.jpg

Cheap Pork

I cut the large piece into three pieces, because of the size of my drying cabinet. I usually wear latex gloves when I handle raw meat, since, well, it is just more sanitary.

Cut into Three Pieces.jpg

Then I rubbed it with Tenderquick. Tenderquick is a salt, sugar and cure (sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate) mixture.

Morton Tenderquick Cure

How much Tenderquick? Well, I really don't know, I don't measure, I just use enough to coat it well until it looks like this.

Rubbed with Cure.jpg

Finally it goes into the gallon ziplock bags and into the fridge.

Bagged to Cure in Fride for Two Weeks.jpg

It will stay in the fridge for two weeks, getting turned over every other day. The cure will draw the moisture out of the meat, and it will firm up considerably.

So the next installment of Charcuterie 101 will be in about two weeks, when we will coat it with a spice mixture and hang it! Stay tuned!

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