Cheap ones will just not slice paper thin or warp after a little way and get you frustrated.
Or you can just get a good slicing knife and see whether that works for you before you unload the cash.
Honestly though I’d check Craigslist, or restaurant closure auctions if you live in a populated area. I got a $4k one for 250 that just needed a bit of love and lube.
Meant to vac-seal to equalize longer after pulling, but I had a friend in town and got greedy. Some bites are wonderfully spicy, while others not as much. Rubbed in calabrian chili powder after a 14 day equilibrium cure. Cased in beef bung. From a Red Wattle. Fucking delicious.
What /u/Luvagoo said - when you roll your pancetta to hang, that shit's gotta be tight. Also, I'm worried your avg temp was too high at 64 degrees. I'm sure it's fine to cook, but for your next hang, lower to 55F-ish. You could also start with a higher RH. I started by reading Ruhlan as well, then moved on to Marianski's HPQMS. I highly suggest you do the same, much more into the science behind the cure.
I made it!
It's not as fickle as some would have you believe, I grabbed some koji kin off amazon and mixed them like 1:10 with rice flour, then sprinkled over cooked rice and left it, loosely covered, in my oven for a few days with the oven light on. Koji's not as fickle as some would have you believe, as long as it's white and smells appetizing (funky savory grapefruit is how I've heard it described) you're good to go.
I took that mix and added 3% salt and a ton of black pepper then rubbed it all over the cured loin (about 200g koji paste for a 2200g loin, but this will depend on the shape).
I've also heard of people grinding up dry koji and adding it to the cure, you can find the dried stuff at Japanese markets if you have them around. There are a couple posts on r/Charcuterie by a fellow koji geek who did this. I'll track those down when I'm more sober (I'm celebrating this lonza with some wine, naturally).
The meat slicer of my dreams doesn't have any watts.
Text from original post:
Spam in the ham press
Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Glorious Spam .......
A while back I posted some ham that I made in the Madax ham press I bought from Amazon.
Today was spam day, I have just eaten a nice slice of fried spam topped off with a fried egg. Ah such treats.
It was loosely based on the recipe from u/ChefBS . The only variations were: I had to substitute Hot Spanish Paprika for the chipotle powder because I cannot buy chipotle powder hereabouts and added some orange zest.
The handbrake (wife) likes it but thinks that ham was better.
The Madax device is simple to use but has a design flaw. Once you have loaded it you have to insert the ram plate with the spring facing up. You then place the lid over the device and press down on the spring to compress the mix then turn the lid to catch onto the securing lugs which hold the lid in place.
The design flaw is that if you turn the lid a tad too far the lid comes off the securing lugs and flies off propelled by the spring.
I modded by crimping the end of the securing lugs so that when you twist the lid and compressed spring there is a solid stop to let you know that the lid is secured and cannot fly off.
Beyond that, the device is good, instructions are clear and it produces good results with very little effort. Max capacity is 1kg which is heaps.
Next, I think I might attempt a very large and fat Frankfurter
>Ideally, if you have the IT skills to make a workflow to maintain these electronically, you'll be a lot better off. Otherwise, 80% of your shop is going to be filled with banker boxes full of logs.
Air Table (airtable.com) is great for this. It's a really good "no code" database designer. It's not as powerful as building your own database in SQL, but it's a big step up from using spreadsheets.
My bacon and hot sauce business has to log:
-Ingredient purchases, including lot numbers for every batch of veggies or meat.
-Dates for purchase, curing, smoking, and packaging.
-Starting and ending pH for everything.
-Calibration dates and results for scales, pH meters, refrigerators, etc.
This stuff doesn't require a full-on relational database, but it benefits from some basic automation and reporting. Air Table meets my needs better than spreadsheets without the unnecessary overhead of other databases.
The minimal hygrometer mentioned above will do the trick if you want to monitor and adjust your humidity manually.
For a bit more automation I used the Inkbird IHC-200 for awhile until I wanted something with WiFi and better settings. I eventually landed on the Auber TH230A-W.
Inkbird is very sturdy, no problems, and by far the cheapest I have found. (also Prime on amazon) https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Temperature-Controller-Aquarium-Breeding/dp/B01DZ5NVBQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484141333&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=inkbird&psc=1
It's a little $15 Amazon fan: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HI7950/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The humidifier I stole from my son's room. I live in Southern California so it is not very humid at all... ever...
I bought a ~~drug~~, ahem, "gem" scale on Amazon and I weigh out pure nitrates and nitrites as I need them, along with ascorbates.
I figured a) I'd have better control, and b) I have no idea if the curing salts I can get are accurately composed.
Works pretty well if you're willing to basically count grains of nitrite. My go-to is 120 ppm, so a 5lb piece of meat is 272mg nitrite. Mix it into the salt I've weighed out and I'm good.
This is the one I've got, but I'm not entirely happy with it:
I bought one of these with the spear tip (https://www.amazon.com/Apera-Instruments-AI3713-Sampling-Measurement/dp/B07MWHT1GZ?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1&psc=1) and really like it, I got it on Amazon Black Friday sale and paid $210 so less but still quite a lot.
Before that I went through a few of those $15 pocket meters and I didn't really like them... I would check out litmus strips if I had to go back.
I cut it into approximately 2 kilo chunks. This makes it easier to fit in the suck-n-seal bag and eventually fit on my 10" meat slicer.
I've always done the bellies in winter as that is when we kill the pigs, so it's cool (<60°F) in my garage.
I have a janky set up where I can hang them, with a fan blowing ion them.
I've had this one for over a year now with no issues. Would recommend.
For Spanish varieties in general: https://smile.amazon.com/Spanish-Sausages-Authentic-Recipes-Instructions/dp/0990458660?sa-no-redirect=1
I've made their morcilla, fuet, chorizo de cerdo, sobrasada de mallorca, and... there's probably a couple others I'm forgetting, but anyway, they've all been spot on as far as the "OMG this tastes like I remember" factor (I've since moved back to the states some years ago and the lack of good Spanish "embutidos" got me into this hobby).
Be forewarned that there are some literal "authentic" recipes in there that do not use any curing salts (though most of them do), so unless you are well established in home charcuterie making it would be best to avoid those recipes or sub in an appropriate amount of PP#1 or #2 to be safe. For example, the sobrasada de mallorca recipe does not use any curing salts, but there are a few other sobrasada recipes in there that do so you can just borrow the info/amount from there or calculate the amount needed yourself (which is what I did with that recipe and it still came out great)!
I've only used it a handful of times so no long term review, but so far this stuffer has been good to me and if packed away after use doesn't take up a lot of real estate.
Here's what I bought, it's all stainless, and it's right there at the edge of your budget, I've been very happy with it so far: https://www.amazon.com/F2C-Professional-Stainless-Semi-Auto-Electric/dp/B01E5E6NFC/
P.S. While it slices large pieces like giant pork belly bacon just fine, it's a bit small for the job so you'll end up doing slightly strange things to fit in in there. But that's the only bad things I can say about it, it fits nicely on my shelves and I don't want something that's out all the time.
I got one of these at a local kitchen supply store (for waaay more than Amazon charges, now that I look. Whoops).
Also as a PSA, if you don't already have one, get a kevlar glove so you don't cut your fingertips off (I would have cut myself a couple times on this project if I didn't have one, sliced through the nitrile gloves).
I just bought a clone of that from Amazon for $218. Should be here tomorrow and I'll be using it on the 90lbs of bacon I've got curing right now. Will let you know next week how it works!
I actually only bought one item from Amazon, the inkbird temp and humidity sensor. Link below.
I had an old stand up freezer, a humidifier, and a little fan already. I started trial running it last night before I started drilling holes in the freezer and it works perfectly! I have a separate temp and humidity gauge coming to confirm at various points in the freezer, but so far so good.
Inkbird Temperature and Humidity Controller ITC-608T Pre-Wired AC Dual Stage Outlet Thermostat with 12 Period Time Stage, 1800w, ETL Listed (with Temperature and Humidity Sensor) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GQWY9HM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_.DMVBbR7EYYTD
I got it on sale for half off last month on Amazon - maybe watch it for another sale? https://www.amazon.com/Sharpening-Kitchen-Original-Spanish-Prosciutto/dp/B01LYZDREB/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1546268859&sr=8-3&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=Jamonprive&dpPl=1&dpID=512CPhRZL9L&ref=plSrch
Water displacement is definately the poor-mans vacuum seal, and it works. Real vacuum sealers aren't as expensive as they were when I was younger, and they really are worth it. I think i got mine for about $50, 5 years ago. Inexpensive ones are going for 30-40 on amazon.
If you're on a budget, you can definitely find a piston stuffer in the $40 range. I'd recommend springing for something from Hakka Bros or LEM though.
Ok I decided having a photo file of this wasn't a bad idea, even for me to follow on my next one. Here's what I got: https://imgur.com/a/hE2mXMA
For the EQ cure, I found a 15-inch roll of vacuum seal bag that barely fit the ham whole. It doesn't look like it's available now, but it was here: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y44GW6G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I’ll have to check that out. I started using the recipe from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and then it evolved as I learned about equilibrium brining from Modernist Cuisine and other places. Then I accidentally left it go too long due to time constraints and liked the way it came out. I generally do about 12 days and then wash and let it dry out on racks in fridge for 2 days.
I'm not OP, but I can highly recommend this book.
If you'd rather not invest in the whole book, this website is run by the same folks and here is the specific "fuet de barcelona" recipe I've used and can recommend.
Lived in Spain for over a decade and can attest to the recipes I've tried in that book yielding very good results.
It's a good one.
There's a lot of okay-ish "coffee table" type books on Charcuterie out there (lots of pretty pictures and some good recipes here and there), but that "Home Production" book is what you would be assigned if there was ever a university course on the subject.
Since you mentioned visiting Spain, and an interest in its Charcuterie, the same authors also have a Spain specific book (much more on the recipe side of things vs. theory), called Spanish Sausages Authentic Recipes And Instructions. I'd steer away from the ultra authentic recipes in there for now (the ones that don't use nitrates/cures #1&2), but as someone who lived in Spain for a number of years I can attest to the recipes I've tried so far. All very accurate representations!
A lot of folks just take an old fridge and outfit it with some Inkbird controllers. One controller for temp if using a traditional compressor based fridge (though this can be omitted if using a wine fridge that already operates in the desired temp range), and one controller for humidity which gets connected to a humidifier and/or dehumidifier placed inside the fridge.
Learn about the process and follow a recipe from a reputable source and you are on your way.
If you don't mind a textbook like read and deep dive into the topic, this book is the go to for all things Charcuterie.
It might just come down to preference, but for salamis and larger diameter whole muscle type pieces (capicola etc.) I get good results from a freshly sharpened santoku style knife. Basically, the sharper/thinner the better. I also like "tall" (like 2 inches or so) blades as they seem less likely to deviate during slicing and cause variations in thickness during the cut.
I've also thought about buying one of those bread slicing "guide" boxes to help keep the knife perfectly vertical, but haven't found the need in the end.
yes, it will get too cold once winter hits, you will need to add a heating mechanism of some sort. A common approach is to use a ceramic heating lamp connected to a temperature controller like the inkbird ITC-308. The nice thing about this controller is that it can also be used in the summer to control the refrigerator to a higher than normal temp, like 55ºf for curing, whereas the standard temperature for fridges is about 37ºf.
Spain is the reason I make my own charcuterie now. Lived there for a while and missed the food dearly when I left.
The Markiaski's Spain specific charcuterie recipe book is pretty great, too.
This is my first wide-diameter salami attempt, and I opened it up today to find big air pockets and a little case hardening creating some overly raw insides. It actually smelled great, which I think is due to switching from Bactoferm F-RM-52 to T-SPX, which doesn’t smell as funky/musky as my previous sausages (a smaller pepperoni and sopressata), but I am still not going to try it. I followed Len Poli’s recipe, stuffed in these fibrous casings, and poked some extra holes because the casings seemed to have holes pricked in one side. I got it to 40% weight reduction in just under 5 weeks, but it still felt softer than I was expecting, so I knew something was off about it. Temp set at 15C and humidity at 70.
So the question is, how to prevent air pockets next time? I’ve done some reading on it and I’ve found many potential solutions including: prick more holes, pricking deeper, prick while stuffing, roll it after stuffing, vacuum seal the meat blend before stuffing, higher humidity, mix better/longer … etc.
Any other ideas or confirmation on what you think might have gone wrong would be great. Thanks!
Correct, I used this cure #1 Is there a general range for cure %? i.e. 0.20 vs 0.25%?
I can tell you what not to get. One of those cheap ones that claim to be 2300watts but are in fact more like 140W. They are noisy and cold on anything other than fat. They all look something like this
Instead get something like this.
Yes it costs more but it will be the only one you need
The Sausage Maker - DrySteak Wraps for Dry Aging Meat at Home, Dry Age Sirloin, Ribeye and Short Loin https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SKCDSVV/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_8ZJVFDEMMMB7MZ10MKVS
Felt like cheating when I used them. It was that easy
Actually a great question because there are some nuances. A lot of the smaller humidifiers I've seen have an on/off button that needs to be pressed every time the humidity controller cycles so they would not work well for a chamber.
Conversely, the larger humidifiers with the dials take up a lot of real-estate in a smaller chamber (like a wine fridge for example).
I found this humidifier was perfect.
It has a dial so when it cycles on it will turn on, and you can use whatever size bottle. I use a 1L plastic bottle and need to refill it once every 10-15 days
This one will work fine in a 4.4 cu ft and up.
There is this on Amazon if I was going to try it. Ended up not needed to, but if the saturated salt method did keep a perfect 75% RH then I’d imagine this would work for a higher RH Potassium Chloride
KWS. You can find them on Amazon. I opted for the all metal version. MS-10DS
KWS Metal Collection Commercial 320W 10 Inch Meat Slicer MS-10DS Anodized Aluminum Base with Stainless Steel Blade + Blade Removal Tool, Frozen Meat/ Cheese/ Food Slicer Commercial and Home Use https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKQJ4PK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_69TGMY976SMBDRS4NAT4
Glad you got it figured out.
I bought this one, which is a rebanded version of a commonly recommended one. I think other identical brands might be a little cheaper.
I got this on Amazon. I was actually looking for powder as this is supposed to be, but it turned out to be flakes instead. I tried to return but no luck.
> If the humidity and temp is adjustable, they usually are...
I wouldn't say "they usually are," not by a long shot actually. Adjustable temp yes, of course (and in the desirable curing range), but I've only occasionally seen units that also have actual humidity control and they are usually much higher end. Some of them even claim humidity control, but if you dig deeper it's not actually adjustable and only "guaranteed" to maintain a certain supposedly desirable humidity level. Example.
This is from Marianskis’ The Art Of Making Fermented Sausage
The Art of Making Fermented Sausages https://www.amazon.com/dp/0982426712/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KFXQB7NNV0T65MNGKKHD
They also have a great one on general meat production called Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages
Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages https://www.amazon.com/dp/0982426739/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_CCGS5E00PWCFN6R4R7GV
Any mini fridge. I don't think they're too different, also try craigslist/etc. to source them.
You can get something like these temp/humidity controllers, and thread the probes into your fridge: https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-ITC-308-Temperature-Controller-Humidity/dp/B01N56KEU6
Plug your into the heating/cooling outlets, and configure your temp/etc. settings. If you find you need a heat source, an incandescent light bulb plugged into the heating outlet is usually sufficient.
For the humidity, dehumidifying is typically taken care of by the fridge compressor, so you'll just need to purchase a small humidifier and plug it into the humidity controller to keep the humidity at the level you're looking for.
KWS MS-10XT Premium 320W Electric Meat Slicer 10-Inch in Red with Non-sticky Teflon Blade, Frozen Meat/ Deli Meat/ Cheese/ Food Slicer Low Noises Commercial and Home Use [ ETL, NSF Certified ] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08162CNS3/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_YZ7A0YA82FS29649EP71?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I just finally got a chance to use my new slicer. It is a KWS from Amazon.
I have no affiliation and the link is not an affiliate link. It worked fantastic from my limited usage.
If you did it again, try using one of those things for putting icing on a cake and Mace make the tube longer. Or, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you could use one of these
I have one and they work well, they hold around 1kg of farce
Yep yep. Every time I bought a new chamber I cleaned it out with bleach, let it air out for a few days, wiped it down with distilled water, then vinegar, and let it air out for another hour.
I also found that this fan was a nice form factor for most curing chambers. It really helped keep the humidity in my chamber even throughout.
Yikes. The one I have is a simple on/off switch. So far no complaints.
Pro Breeze Electric Dehumidifier 1200 Cubic Feet (215 sq ft) - Portable Mini Dehumidifier with Auto Shut Off for Home, Bedroom, Basement, Trailer, RV https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01DC5PPWM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_ZWHSEGV0WVA460GJ7P1P?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Wow that link looks delicious! I might have to give that one a try!!
I do love my Joe, best outdoor cooking device Ive ever owned. I got a Fireboard to go with it, thats an incredible combo, I did a 28 hour butt the other day that didnt sway more then 5 degrees the entire cook.
As far as cold smoke on the Joe, absolutely! You might want to get one of the tube shaped pellet smokers as the maze one is a tiny bit too wide to fit in the ash collector area of the Joe. I would think the tube style would fit perfectly and work better. You'll need a torch to light them, I bet you could shoot the flame into the bottom vent to get it started. Mine sometimes goes out if its a still night, I bet with the way the Joe's airflow works that wouldnt happen.
For this Coppa I equilibrium cured it, wrapped it in collagen wrap, trussed and hung it for a few hours until it was dry then put it in the smoker. Since its cured you should be fine, I only put the meat out when its 21c or lower, usually 8pm to around 8am for few days. The flavor is incredible, same with bacon.
Love the Netherlands, been there several times! I'll be wearing orange cheering your countryman #33 on at the F1 race in Austin next month. :)
>you plug both the humidifier and dehumidifier into one unit and the unit controls both to the humidity level you want
So this combo of controllers
I bought this one
Bigger in size but can be located outside of the chamber. Less moisture on the electronics, hopefully will result in longer lifetime. I have not used it yet as I am still building the chamber, but plan to pipe the humidity through a hole in the door.
Use the recipe straight out of this book. Both chorizo recipes work great! Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393240053/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_48WCBF77TMECGHMSFHCA
I do! Add a bunch of non-wild boar fat and make a fucking outstanding salami. The best salami I've had was made that way. And if you don't already know how to make salami, I'd suggest starting someplace like Ruhlman's <em>Salumi</em>.
One of the things I genuinely miss about living in the Southeast is the availability of wild boar. I mean, I'm glad we're killing and eating them to get rid of them, but I don't mind doing my part to get rid of them. Out here in the PNW, we don't have a boar problem. So pastured heritage it is for me.
I picked up a Wine Enthusiast 18 bottle dual zone wine cooler. Found one cheap on CL. Works great, holds a steady temp, so no need to run it through an Inkbird controller. I use my Inkbird for my humidifier and dehumidifier. HIGHLY suggest getting one of these to keep an eye on what's going on inside of your chamber 24/7 - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AEQ9X9I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Good luck. I've had good results so far.
You always lose outlets on a powerstrip, no matter how well designed. It is really frustrating, until you discover the solution. These bad boys are perfect, especially for wall warts and low current loads like humidifiers, timers, and heating pads.
I use this unit from Govee. It's only a bluetooth unit, so no monitoring available from outside your home.
I also have an Inkbird controller - but it offers no monitoring opportunity, short of going to the basement to stare at it. I only mention this because, when I tested the two units, it appeared that the Govee was more accurate in monitoring humidity levels. I have no idea whether this is generally true, and I expect there is some variation from unit to unit. But ultimately, I've been pretty impressed with the Govee (and can simply adjust settings on the Inkbird to compensate for its inaccuracy).
I'm guessing your 85-90% readings are with the fridge empty.
When I started curing meat, one thing I really didn't appreciate was how much of in impact the meat would have on humidity levels. Even a small piece of meat placed in the confines of a mini fridge will make your humidity level spike seriously for quite an extended period. So you will certainly need dehumidification.
I use this one: VAVSEA
I couldn't really find anything smaller that would work. But there are many that are pretty clearly rebranding of the same unit.
Just one word of warning. The controller units (like InkBird) just supply/cut the power to the dehumidifier. This means you need to get a dehumidifier with a physical on/off switch. When power is supplied to the unit, you can be sure that the unit is actually "on." Units that have electronic on/off switches will turn off when the power is cut, and remain off when the power is resupplied, and so your controller won't be able to initiate dehumidification.
Using 4 g instead of 2 will not be a problem.
However, using 2 g instead of 4 would be.
Marianski's "Home Production..." and "Spanish Sausages..." are great (the titles are too long, but if you google the name and those two words you'll find'em).
I also like this neat German charcuterie book my mother-in-law sent me
that specializes in "East German/GDR" recipes: Das große DDR - Wurstbuch. No fluff, lots of details and lots of recipes. My wife grew up "behind the iron curtain" not far from where the author's butchershop is/was so there is an extra special level to the book for us.
17 years of running professional kitchens. Towards the end before I switched careers I personally decided I wanted to focus on learning the good stuff. Most of my career focused on volume and what goes well with beer or whiskey. Anyway when I quit working in restaurants and started my next career in architecture I resumed my study of charcuterie as a hobby. Start with this book Charcuterie the craft of salting, smoking, and curing don’t be afraid to fail. It happens. I still use this book for base recipes all the time and tweak them as I see fit.
I have this one.
Not sure if this is the right subreddit for this question and apologize if not...
I bought some slate food mats to use as fancy cheese/charcuterie boards a long time ago and while they looked great, they were unfinished and flaked at the edges like crazy. They also stained pretty badly from food oils, so I put them away indefinitely.
Recently as I was using my granite mortar and pestle I realized the outside of the mortar and the handle of the pestle was smooth, shiny, and darker like it's been sealed and was wondering if something like that could be done for the slate.
I looked up some food safe stone sealers and found this, but wanted to see if anybody had any recommendations or suggestions so I don't end up poisoning myself.
Obviously pork is the better option but legs tend to be massive and not very practical for at home. (Unless you have access to small pigs) If you can get particularly good lamb where you are thats another interesting option for prosciutto. Just enough fat on older animals for there to be nice balance. For venison, best bet is to do bresola from the loin. That's delicious.
This is a REALLY good book if you're interested in this stuff. Very adaptable recipes. (Obviously you do have to get it from amazon either, just a link)
There's a ton a different rebranded versions of this dehumidifier that gets recommended here.
I think this is the cheapest version of it (I picked this one up myself for a wine fridge build). Currently has a 5% coupon so don't forget to click that and get it even cheaper.
evadry petite this is along what you're looking for. It doesn't have a compressor so it won't kick off heat either. I use this in my mini fridge, the humidifier I have is actually a tad larger. So you could probably get away with something a little bigger.
The temp and humidity controls are all a puzzle. I use the dehumidifier to keep the humidity from getting away from me, but I do it in a way where the fridge will cycle on not too long after it kicks on which drops the humidity. The difference here is your set up will have a fan in the back of it I believe? Most people with wine coolers have an issue with too much airflow, so that may be something to look out for. Many have disconnect the fans so only the cooler cools down once it kicks on and add an external cpu fan or mininfan on a timer for air flow.
Personally I just open the door 2-3 times a day to get some fresh air in it.
That doesn't sound like a bad plan as long as you keep an eye on the temperature and humidity. I cured sausages in autumn and spring in an unheated mudroom in a house I used to live in. I just had to black out the windows and do a lot to control humidity.
I used this model of humidity detector to keep an eye on it:
I think I bought it at a hardware store or something. It really helps with humidity. If it's too try, a pan full of boiling water will moisten things up nicely. Consistent humidity is most important early on.
I wish you luck with your hams. I want to try curing a ham myself someday!
Buy this https://www.amazon.com/SensorPush-Wireless-Thermometer-Hygrometer-Android/dp/B01AEQ9X9I and a small humidifier. The sensorpush is awesome to have.
Sensor Push is what you’re looking for. I’ve been using one for about two years now and no problems at all.
You can still use your smokey mountain, just buy a cold smoke generator - they are easy enough to use, I use one with my normal Weber kettle. You just fill it with smoke dust, whatever wood you prefer, light a tea light on one end and put it next to your meat on the grill. Close the lid and leave it overnight - sometimes the embers from the smoke dust extinguish before it can snake it way around the whole generator, but that's fine.
It's well worth your time, because they you can smoke sausages, cheese, whole sides of salmon - whatever you want.
I have this humidifier in my dry aging fridge. Haven't use it for charcuterie yet, but I'm lurking around here to get into it. Humidifier works good with my inkbird. Cuts on when the humistat clicks on.
It's the 7.5" 200W Cusimax and it's decent. The lubricant smelled for the first few uses, and it's pretty loud, though it's not that much louder than a Kitchenaid stand mixer.
When I have more kitchen space, I'll likely upgrade to a 10" (or given the way COVID destroyed restaurants and food based businesses around here, I might find a second hand 12" professional slicer) so I don't have to worry about cut width capacity to slice a whole slab. For most charcuterie or cheese, 7.5" is plenty, and I can more than make do for bacon, especially if I make my chunk cuts off the width rather than the length.
It also does a good job with cheese and veggies, but I'd want a scalloped/serrated blade for bread. The thickness setting is pretty tight, but doesn't have any sort of lock, so it's ok for now, but I bet I'll have to re-tension it in the future to make sure the thickness doesn't wander during a session slicing a whole belly.
You should be safe rounding down to 3.3. If your cheapass scale doesn't do tenths, there's cheapass ones on Amazon that do. :) The one I use set me back $8 USD.
Your recipe is calling for a maximum of 150 ppm. Rounding down to 3.3 gets you to 147.3 ppm. You should be good there. If you round up to 3.4, you're at 151.8 ppm, which is also fine (US standards allow a max of 156 ppm, while your European standards allow a max of 150 ppm. You'd be slightly over, but none of us would tell).
I picked up a decent, generic one from Amazon and its been working great for me for slicing home cured bacon. I have not tried doing paper thin slices on it though.
> Do I need a dehumidifier that is effectively always working whenever it is turned on, vs my current one which is capable of being on without working?
Yes. The Inkbird controller is just a basic switch hooked up to a thermometer/hygrometer. It senses the input, determines if the temp/humidity threshold has been crossed, and turns off or on depending on the current rule. It doesn't know anything about the device you have plugged into it. Even the fact that the device you have plugged in will somehow affect the input data is implied. Some people turn on exhaust fans with their hygrometer-based switch as pulling in ambient air will usually dehumidify your controlled environment (think grow rooms).
The dumber you make the device on the other side of the switched outlet the less trouble you're going to run into. Here's what I use.
This guy works like a champ. Another speed bump to consider; apparently, a common issue among smaller dehumidifiers is many of them don't work well at curing temperatures... this is one of the few that was vouched for during my research. That being said, I haven't personally used any others.
it entirely depends on your temperature. what you're trying to do is reduce the pH of the meat to a safe point. I'd highly recommend reading The Art of Making Fermented Sausages
Marianski recommends mixing one part finely chopped meat with 2 parts distilled water to create a slurry then measuring that with the pH test strips. The distilled water won't influence the pH so you will get a more accurate reading. I can't find the exact passage online, but you can read about it in his book https://www.amazon.com/Art-Making-Fermented-Sausages/dp/0982426712
You can pick up a tiny humidity monitor on Amazon for ~$10. I have this one, which is slightly nicer (and magnetic):
For the humidifier I've got a typical 1 bedroom ultrasonic one from Amazon, but anything will work so long as it's an always on one that won't mind having power cut via the controller. For the dehumidifier, I've got a large one that's intended for a decent sized room, so that's definitely overkill, but I got it on clearance for $40 instead of the normal $150. I would imagine something like what I link below is plenty for a small fridge.
The price was my issue as well... I got a Fante’s stuffer from Amazon for about $30: https://www.amazon.com/Fantes-Sausage-2-2-Pound-Capacity-Original/dp/B073JCNDFZ
It worked really well.
I also hand-diced all of the meat and the back fat. It took a while, and I had to do it in portions to keep it all cold, but it was well worth it.
Me either, but that one looks very similar to a Zwilling Henckels slicing knife that is on my Amazon wish list.
I have and love this book
I use these temperature and humidity controllers for my cheese aging fridge.
My humidity setup is a little weird, but it works. I have a 1 gallon self filling dog bowl, a terrarium mister, and a usb fan and it keeps the humidity on point even when the fridge is running.
constant air flow + pork + salt
I think this book is great
Very small footprint, uses a normal pop/water bottle as the reservoir. I put a 1L water bottle on it. The little output "nozzle" wouldn't stay up for me (kept falling down) so I stuck a piece of adhesive-back velcro onto it under the outlet hole, which stops it from falling down
I looked at buying an ultrasonic mist-maker element and building the humidifier myself, but this costs basically the same but without the time to build and debug a DIY version
Thanks I will try that brand of salt. I had to google what cork block was - is it similar looking to this?
Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post
Well I guess that’s a possibility, I didn’t get mine on amazon so I couldn’t say. But it’s a generic Chinese one and it’s seems to be pretty accurate. If I start grinding pepper on it, I can see the numbers slowly raising, I then take all the pepper out and put it back in one go and it measures the same amount, so I believe it works well. Also, every time I have scaled recipes down or up they are consistently the same. You could give it a shot, this one seems to have pretty decent reviews and doesn’t cost much
Something like this? Connectscale Digital Bluetooth Scale and Fishing App https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013C9GKCC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_GcwnCbRY72V7M
Only issue would be having to buy one for each piece that you hang.
I have a Kitchener #8 (this is the #12, but it looks the same) and it's a hoss. I've only put 100lbs or so through it, but I'm sure it'll chooch until after I'm dead.
I have some homebrewer friends who use Inkbirds and love it. I was thinking about grabbing this to control the temp and humidity.
I agree that a lot of youtubers and blogs are either "cure meat with only $2!!!!!" or "build a curing chamber for no less then $1,200" which makes it hard to really figure out how to start. It seems to be a pretty big differences out there.
I appreciate the reply.
I'm about to get this one for Christmas : American Weigh Scale Sr-1kg Gray Digital Hanging Scale, Gray, 1000g X 1 G https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004OR9OKC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_YOgjCb8AXSFD0
I've had a really hard time finding a scale with single gram resolution and a ~5kg of capacity. This will work for some of my stuff, but certainly not larger items.
The River Cottage Curing and Smoking Handbook is what I used as a reference. It's great.
I'm going to have it in my basement for the winter where it is cold and dry. I'm the spring I'll probably move it to my in-laws basement which doesn't get humid in the summer. I'm just going to source meat hooks on Amazon, there are a bunch.
As to sourcing the leg, I'm lucky in that living on the Vermont/NH border there E many organic farmers around. And I'm lucky enough to have one that will do this stuff with me. I would probably start with farms in your area and then move to butcher shops. Ask for rear leg with the trotter attached.
I bought an Extech hygrometer a couple of years ago and haven’t had any problems with it.
Never used for charcuterie but I have set up coolers with Peltiers. It's easier to buy one with the ducting installed already (like a Coleman type 12v unit) and wire in a good temp controller (my lab needed tight +/- 2C (not super tight)) temp control. I used something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Wagan-12V-Cooler-Warmer-Capacity/dp/B00NHBYOA6/ and wired in something like this to control the temp: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L8BD8H6/
Toss in one of these in your Grill with the bacon.