I am SO very excited about this post! I feel like all the reading I’ve done for the past year, and the success of the Biltong was the lead up to this right here. Over this past weekend, I cured and hung my first true attempt at a salumi. In my excitement, I did NOT use the correct salt to meat ratio’s as suggested by many, but too late now. In fourish weeks, we will see if it worked out or not. Here are my notes/recipe thus far…
- I bought what was labeled as a 24 oz pork loin by Hormel at Target. (I will buy good meat if this one turns out…but since this is the inaugural baby, I went on the cheap.)
- After I cleaned the meat and trimmed the sinew off, I ended up with a 1 lbs, 1/8 oz piece of meat. Yeah…I know I butchered the hell out of it.
I used the following for the dry cure:
- 1/2 cupish of sea salt – I didn’t measure
- 1 tsp red peppercorns
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 3 cutie oranges – 2 sliced up thin, one juiced
Salt and half the peppercorns were mixed on a flat plate, pork was dredged in it on all sides. I lined one side of the pork with half the oranges and garlic slices and slid it in the seal a meal bag, lined the other half, dumped the juice and peppercorns down inside…made sure everything looked fairly distributed and vacuumed that baby up tight.
Then I placed the package on a small cookie sheet and put my multi-purpose Le Cruset pot on top…then shoved it in the fridge. It went in at 12pm on Saturday, and came out at 10am Sunday. According to the Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing book, I should have only left it in for 12 hours..but I wanted to get my full sleep that night (1 day for every 2 lbs).
Sunday morning when I took it out of the package, I washed it with a red Montesquieu Derenoncourt Blend from Napa Valley..because that’s what I had. We drank the white stuff the night before with friends. Plus given that I was using oranges, garlic and pink peppercorns, I think the red wash will work well. The meat was much more firm to the touch than prior to putting in the package and smashing with Le Cruset and it was uniformly flattened and fairly even looking all the way across which is good for even curing time.
I then let it dry on a wire rack for two hours while I took a bath. Because that’s what the book and bloggers say to do. Well, the drying part. Not the bath (or beer I drank while soaking) part.
Next I tied it up with some kitchen string. It’s not the heavy duty stuff other people have. But it should work.
I let it sit for a few while I took some vinegar on a paper towel and wiped the inside of the defunct freezer/curing chamber down. Vinegar is good for preventing molds and such. I got the light going, the fan turned on…and then hung my meat!
Here’s a pic of my set up… pinky tinged because I was using a heat lamp to get the temp up real quick.
This morning when I checked the set up to make sure I was where I needed to be, my temp was at 52 degrees, humidity at 72. Recommended is 55-65 degrees, 70% humidity, so I am not that far off. That is with the fan blowing and the one little light turned on. I may need to get a bigger watt bulb, but for the moment, I am pleased. The heat lamp was removed last night. I live in the Pac NW and even with the temps in the garage around 30 degrees, my freezer-curer seems to be doing well without a humidifier or too much more heat. It rocks like that!
So, for my future sake and your’s too…there are a few things I potentially did wrong. I want them listed out so I know in the future if this thing turns out bad.
- I went all rambo and made my own salt cure…not keeping meat to cure ratio in mind
- I let the meat cure a bit longer than recommended
- I used red wine instead of white or vinegar
I am hoping that by Christmas this baby will be ready for consumption. Weighing just barely over a pound should help that out. Now I need to decide what to put in there next. Stay tuned for more updates as the weeks go by!
My how time flies! I figured I wouldn’t need to weigh the meat for a week..so when I went out Saturday to weigh it finally, much to my surprise the thing had lost nearly half of its weight already! Holy S! We started at 15 3/8 oz, and ended at 8 1/8 oz seven days later.
Things I learned:
- Follow the salt to weight cure ratio. It is quite salty!
- Losing half its weight isn’t such a bad thing. It is hard on the outside as expected but still very pliable on the interior. It is a lovely opaque pink color.
- The red wine was a good choice for the rinse. The pepper and orange flavor came through as well. I didn’t care for the garlic notes.
So what’s a girl to do when the meat is too salty? Sweeten it up of course.
Hunk o’ Lonzino
Slice your lonzino nice and thin and lay out on a plate. Add a small pat of cream cheese on each piece, topped with the apricot preserves and sriracha. Chow down on these and a lovely beer for a sweet, salty and spicy afternoon snack. This simple recipe met with much pleasure while my husband watched football yesterday!