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Charcutapalooza (long)

Overview
Sometimes things don't go as planned, sometimes things escalate out of control, and sometimes your efforts to cross streams between your friends (pig related), your family (grown kids in from out of town), your desire to learn new tricks (dry curing meat), the local master of those new tricks announcing he is leaving town (Andrew from Revival), a new house without a stick of furniture in it, a garage with no light, and the desire to combine seven electrical devices to replicate the ambient conditions in a cave, and you end up with the 20Stone Memorial A$$whip/$hitshow Charcutapalooza Deathmarch. 

In my defense, I had good intentions, and the product is going to be awesome.

The Pig
One of the many things I learned from Andrew is that, while older pigs are not economical to raise, their meat is way better to cure.  Also, since my kids would be in town (including a charcuterie-crazed girlfriend of one of the 20Spawn) and my buddies were coming, I figured two tables, two pig halves, all good.

As such, we ended up with a hog from Yonder Way Farms (http://yonderwayfarm.com/) that is a mix of 1/4 Mangalitza (a super fat, super hairy Hungarian breed), 1/4 Red Waddle (a great meat, Texas bred, heat tolerant breed) and 1/2 Glouchestershire Old Spot (English, I would guess).



It ended up as 300 lbs hanging, with the beautiful, rich red meat like you see in a Manga, but with a much better meat/fat ratio.  This brings the grand total of hogs I have butchered up to three, but this is clearly the best hog, by far.

The Master
I had previously attended a butchery demo at Revival put on by their head butcher/charcuterer (if that's a word), Andrew Vaserfirer (http://www.houstonpress.com/best-of/2015/shopping-and-services/best-butcher-7807606).  Since we were trying to learn some new tricks (dry curing, better butchering, etc.), it made sense to reach out to the Master.  Our schedules synched up, so we were able to get him to join us.  The sad news (for us) is that Denver is about to get a much better butcher.

The Venue
When I shop for houses, I really shop for kitchens that happen to have other rooms.  After being squeezed in a mid-rise for the last several years, we bought a house just a few blocks from my favorite butcher (Revival Market).  The kitchen has a hog-sized island, but my wife and I have different views on the appropriate use of said island (me - "It's a hog-sized island for a reason", @20stonespice - "Don't you dare turn my new house into a crime scene").

The last two hogs we did were in what can charitably called a commercial kitchen at Eden's Cove Farm (http://www.edenscovefarm.com/), where we sourced our first one (a Large Black), where we processed our second one (a Mangalitza), and where we are raising our four hogs.



However, the kitchen is cramped, and it's hard to get everyone up to Bastrop.... and I HAVE A HOG-SIZED ISLAND AT HOME!  After sharing that plan with @20stonespice, however, I realized that it would be much better to do so off-site.  Since the new place is down the street from Revival Market (http://revivalmarket.com/) I looked into doing so there.  They were going to be closed for New Year's Day, so a plan was beginning to form.

THEN BOOM - Revival is going to be open on NYD, so, best case, we start after they close at 4:00 PM and work all night.  I am not beyond participating in a deathmarch, but don't like to plan it that way in advance.

After considering our options (which were few), I thought it would be a great idea to use my new garage as a venue.  The garage was unfinished and poorly lit, but I had a plan to work with the 20Spawn1 and get it lit, insulated, tongue and groove walls put up, and climate controlled in time for NYD.  We got it lit (albiet, very, very well lit.  We have 12,000 lumens in a 2 car garage).

The participants were given very clear instructions regarding the tracking of pig-related DNA into the house:


We had my new 15.7 sq ft GE chest freezer-turned-cave to use as a fridge, EggFest folding tables as work surfaces, and our Athens Egg Fest Ace Hardware buckets as a wash station.  Good to go!

The Butchers (in order of arrival to be helpful)
@pigfisher
@The Cen-Tex Smoker
@caliking
@Yateszee

Also helping out early, we had 20Spawn1, who did all the electrical for the wiring, and provided transportation for the guest of honor.


The Event
I will leave it to other participants to add some color and pictures here, but five of us (plus Andrew, who was way, way faster by himself than the other five of us together) vs. a 300 lb hog was a real handful.

The Results
Here is what we ended up with:

Fresh, Smoked and Fermented Sausage
Nearly 50 lbs of four different fresh or smoked sausages (red hots, tejas, hunter and the brisket missiles).  The brisket missiles used 4 lbs leftover brisket we had in the fridge from me, @pigfisher and @The Cen-Tex Smoker (two of which, for the record, were smoked on LBGEs).  I am hoping that Tex will post some pics of the brisket missiles coming out of his dishwasher.

We also made a fermented Italian sausage.  Adding bacteria to a sous vide bag full of pork, and having it go 18 hours at 100F seems like a bad idea, but I understand that it will be awesome.

Fresh Cuts
Lots, but most were cured.  Some unusual pieces as a result of getting a big hog were hangers, a brisket and a big skirt.  The hangers were awesome, and the others will be a fun experiment.

In the Cure
Bacon
"Rib Bacon"
Country ham
Jowel

In the Cure to be Hung in the Cave
Country ham
Coppa (pork collar (or "money muscle" if you watch PitMasters))
Lonza (pork loin)
Pancetta (belly, and it is beautiful)
Prosciutto (whole bone-in, skin-on leg)

By Products
Ears to be smoked for 20Spawn1's dog, Hachi
10 quarts of stock (from the bones, all roasted on a BGE)

Many thanks to my co-conspirators (for putting up with what amounted to a Salado-sized a$$whip), my spawn (for helping get a venue built for this) and, especially, @20stonespice for not leaving me (yet).

More pics and tasting notes to come over time.
Joule SV
GE induction stove
Gasser by the community pool
Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

Austin, TX
«1345

Comments

  • ElijahElijah Posts: 304
    Wish I lived closer!
  • SpaightlabsSpaightlabs Posts: 1,987
    Sounds like an epic  adventure - can't wait to see more pics.
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 8,277
    Wow...incredible post. That was allot of work. Not to mention all the work to get you to this point.
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 28,034
    Sound like a blast!

    There are two predominant techniques (actually three if you include skipping the culture and using something like Fermento) in fermentation cures for sausage.  Sound like you're doing the fast, warm fermentation. 

    Many will be thinking - 100F for 18 hours is crazy!  But it's not because the bacteria ferment like crazy and lower the pH (lowering the pH is a popular method of curing).

    The other method relies on relatively quick drying and a slower fermentation - around 78F.

    Anyway, friggin' awesome.  Looking forward to seeing some of the final results.


    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,799
    Dude, great work and post.  I very much wish my work hadn't interfered with my ability to be there and participate. 

    No donkey this time?

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    Sound like a blast!

    There are two predominant techniques (actually three if you include skipping the culture and using something like Fermento) in fermentation cures for sausage.  Sound like you're doing the fast, warm fermentation. 

    Many will be thinking - 100F for 18 hours is crazy!  But it's not because the bacteria ferment like crazy and lower the pH (lowering the pH is a popular method of curing).

    On the nose. I only have one chamber, so Andrew showed us the SV approach.  I did not mention the 3 hour 140F step (for dramatic reasons). 

    Also, the SV method is more foolproof, and I think Andrew didn't want me to kill anyone, this time, at least. 

    We will go for the more traditional approach with the next pig. 

    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    Foghorn said:
      
    No donkey this time?
    In spirit only. Hopefully @The Cen-Tex Smoker will put up some picks of the brisket missiles
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 28,034
    20stone said:
    Sound like a blast!

    There are two predominant techniques (actually three if you include skipping the culture and using something like Fermento) in fermentation cures for sausage.  Sound like you're doing the fast, warm fermentation. 

    Many will be thinking - 100F for 18 hours is crazy!  But it's not because the bacteria ferment like crazy and lower the pH (lowering the pH is a popular method of curing).

    On the nose. I only have one chamber, so Andrew showed us the SV approach.  I did not mention the 3 hour 140F step (for dramatic reasons). 

    Also, the SV method is more foolproof, and I think Andrew didn't want me to kill anyone, this time, at least. 

    We will go for the more traditional approach with the next pig. 

    Stick with what works - that sounds like a brilliant technique.  I've not see it before, but conceptually, it makes total sense.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,807
    The island is pig sized for one reason - this!!
    I will be following this thread closely since I am hoping to do some salami and other items when time permits. Great thread, great effort, sorry about the Mrs' misunderstanding of what a pig sized island is for. 
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • "This island is pig sized"

    Best. Comment. Ever. 

    Guys and girls see the world vastly different sometimes.

    "Brought to you by bourbon, bacon, and a series of questionable life decisions."

    South of Nashville, TN

  • blind99blind99 Posts: 4,329
    that is fantastic! next time you go to some hipster place and they spout some "farm to table" line, show them these pictures and splain them how it's really done.  I'd love to hear more about the SV-fermented sausage, too.
    Chicago, IL - Large and Small BGE - Weber Gasser and Kettle
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    That's a good looking hog. It will be fun to trade notes as our bits age.

    What are you using to age in?
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 2,871
    This. Is. Awesome!
    And I am envious. I am so ready to dive into the true art of charcuterie, but want to learn from someone by standing beside them to learn as you have done.  Great job! 

    Gonna follow this thread closely.....
    --------------------------------------------------
    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
    Large and MiniMax
    --------------------------------------------------
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 13,218
    Did you save the anus? Some folks on here swear by it...
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    Sea2Ski said:
    This. Is. Awesome!
    And I am envious. I am so ready to dive into the true art of charcuterie, but want to learn from someone by standing beside them to learn as you have done.
    A skilled hand is key, though this is a great start:
    https://www.amazon.com/Art-Making-Fermented-Sausages/dp/0982426712

    You might find the best local guy and hire him for a day.  Being a butcher isn't super-remunerative and it is a niche enough that experts seem to be happy to find new interested folks
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • gmacgmac Posts: 1,807
    20stone said:
    That's a good looking hog. It will be fun to trade notes as our bits age.

    What are you using to age in?
    Me?  I have nothing set up yet so I'm looking at what options I have to heat/cool and humidify my root cellar under the front step. It's cement and cavelike already but needs a door and proper temp control. The lady that built the house never used it so it totally empty right now. Have been fermenting in it in the winter when too cold to use the garage. Holds about 65 in the winter but a door would keep the heat out much better. 

    I debated cutting put coppa when I butchered it but don't have access to beef middles to cure in so the whole butts went into the freezer but I thought that was a fairly easy start (solid muscle). 

    Best of luck. 
    Mt Elgin Ontario - just a Large.
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    Hunter sausage on the smoke:


    In the drink:


    In the cave (set at 33 F during the cure phase for everything):

    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    A couple notes on Cen Tex's post:

    The meat in the "Lady and the Tramp" pic is a huge belly being cured as pancetta. More pics when it comes out of the cure. 

    The leg is awesome, and will be tough to wait on.  Andrew indicated that the bad news with such a beautiful prosciutto is that you wait two years, taste it, invite all your friends over to try it, and it's gone in a day. 

    This is one was 26 lbs before the cure, and will likely only be half that in two years...and gone in a day. 

    When we do a Manga, I'm going to try to keep the hair on it. 
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 28,034
    John, I don't know if you've ever had Schwarzwälder Schinken, but it's my favorite ham.  I can't find it anymore for some reason.  It's a boneless, fairly lean ham, and it cures to completion much faster than prosciutto.

    Anyway, it's made basically like this (from the interwebz):

    Black Forest ham can take up to three months to produce.[3] Raw ham is salted and seasoned with garlic, coriander, pepper, juniper berries and other spices. After curing for two weeks, the salt is removed and the ham ages an additional two weeks. It is then cold-smoked using sawdust and fir or juniper brush at a temperature of not more than 25°C (77°F) for several weeks, becoming almost black on the outside and imparting much of its distinctive flavor. It is then air-cured for at least two weeks before sale.




    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    Nice recipe. We didn't have juniper this time, but I'll give that a try next time. That's a loooooong cold smoke.  It can also be tough to find two weeks in Houston less than 77F. I guess that's why you have an AC on your rig :-)
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 17,228
    Great post man!! Great!!
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • lakewadelakewade Posts: 384
    This is outstanding. You guys are next level.  Great post. 

    -----------
    I feel a whole lot more like I do now than I did when I got here.
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 3,669
    Good lord! Over Christmas I got all cocky feeling - learning to make sausage, curing bacon, making pastrami....
    Now you post this and I feel like a dumb kid riding my bike with training wheels. 
    Great post and impressive work. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven.
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • 20stone20stone Posts: 1,619
    SciAggie said:
    Good lord! Over Christmas I got all cocky feeling - learning to make sausage, curing bacon, making pastrami....
    Now you post this and I feel like a dumb kid riding my bike with training wheels. 
    Great post and impressive work. 
    We may have been on two wheels, but Dad (Andrew V) was still holding the seat.

    For this stuff, it really seems like baking. Weight really matters and temp really matters. 

    You ought to throw up some pics
    Joule SV
    GE induction stove
    Gasser by the community pool
    Scale (which one of my friends refuses to use)
    Friends with BGEs and myriad other fired devices
    Charcuterie and sourdough enthusiast
    Prosciuttos in an undisclosed location

    Austin, TX
  • DMWDMW Posts: 13,288
    I live in the wrong state...
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 8,667
    DMW said:
    I live in the wrong state...
    No Sheetz here, have to settle for Buccees, but trust me, you don't want to live walking distance to one.
    Austin, TX
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 8,667
    Outstanding pig wrangling.  
    Austin, TX
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,652
    This is about the most fun one should legally be allowed to have in someone else's garage.

    I arrived late to the party, so only got to down a few beers, some scotch , and find out how obscene sausage making can be. Our charcuterer ( it's now officially a word) was an absolute blast to work with. Great great guy. 

    The only pic I have is this one, of Cen-Tex wondering ”where's the hole to stick it in??" Poor pancetta.


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
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