Best Charcuterie Resources for Beginners?

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Quicksilver

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I've been a soapmaker for about 15 years now; this is my first year making wine; I've experimented with cheese making, but it's not really my thing. Now I want to try my hand at charcuterie. What is/are the best resource(s) for a beginner in this craft?

I know from my long years as a soaper that the wrong books can be filled with not only misinformation, but dangerous misinformation. Therefore, any direction y'all could give would be most welcome.

Also, I live in Central Texas, so heat will be a big factor in curing any meats. There's no such thing as a cold room here, at least not until about the end of October.
 

montanaWineGuy

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I read most of Ruhlman's book. Valuable reading for the beginner. It is a good library checkout. Afterwards, recipes can be pulled off various sites.

If you don't have or can't create a cold room, then you're going to be out of luck. I have a room, off the garage, that works well, but only April till late May. I've some Salami finishing up, and that's it till April 2018.
 
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Mismost

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Also, I live in Central Texas, so heat will be a big factor in curing any meats. There's no such thing as a cold room here, at least not until about the end of October.

you'll need temp control for processing and curing. I bought a chest type freezer, an InkBird controller, and a small cube heater....add humidity control and it'll be perfect in Central Texas.

I used it to thaw out pork and venison for 40# batch of sausage. Ground, seasoned, mixed, and then chilled out at 35 degrees overnight. Stuffed, vac-bagged, and froze it. It is real nice to control both hot and cold.

We are planning a big sausage year and drying about 50# sausage. Yes, you can dry it by hanging...but, I hate drying in the barn or shed and the wife gets all " the whole houses smells like hickory smoke, get it out of here"!! The "Temp Box" will be perfect...correct temp and critter proof.

I love this thing....you can even brew beer and make wine in them!
 

montanaWineGuy

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There are lots of things to buy in starting Charcuterie at home. 1st is a quality Meat Grinder. Expect at minimum $200. 2nd is a stand alone sausage stuffer. Grinders can act as stuffer, but in my experience is a PITA. Go ahead and try it, but on the second batch you'll be looking to purchasing a good stuffer. Mine was a little over $100 and holds 5lbs. Larger would be nice but this gets it done.

I ground up 15lbs of pork shoulder and loins yesterday. I'm getting ready to stuff all in to hog casings and make Sweet Italian Sausages. I found that if I 1/2 grind the meat coarse and 1/2 fine, it makes for an interesting (better) sausage.
 

Mismost

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Great price!

I strongly recommend getting one twice that size....really. The only thing better than temp control fermenting one batch of beer is fermenting two at the same time! I just can't quite get that second bucket to fit.

Ask about scratch and dented freezers too....deeply discounted.
 

Quicksilver

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There are lots of things to buy in starting Charcuterie at home. 1st is a quality Meat Grinder. Expect at minimum $200. 2nd is a stand alone sausage stuffer. Grinders can act as stuffer, but in my experience is a PITA. Go ahead and try it, but on the second batch you'll be looking to purchasing a good stuffer. Mine was a little over $100 and holds 5lbs. Larger would be nice but this gets it done.

I ground up 15lbs of pork shoulder and loins yesterday. I'm getting ready to stuff all in to hog casings and make Sweet Italian Sausages. I found that if I 1/2 grind the meat coarse and 1/2 fine, it makes for an interesting (better) sausage.
Gander Mountain here in my town is going out of business. I'm going to head over there tomorrow and see if I can snag the grinder and stuffer at a steep discount. I think everything is 40% off right now.

Thanks so much all! I will get Ruhlman's book and also look into the chest freezer etc.
 

montanaWineGuy

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Gander Mountain here in my town is going out of business. I'm going to head over there tomorrow and see if I can snag the grinder and stuffer at a steep discount. I think everything is 40% off right now.

Thanks so much all! I will get Ruhlman's book and also look into the chest freezer etc.
You are about to enter a world where there is no return. Grocery store sausages become barely edible, Salami can only be eaten economically when homemade, and Slim Jims are redefined and become damn near free.

And it's fun, makes for great gifts and very much appreciated thank you's.

SlimJimsHanging 001 (600x800).jpg

SweetItalianSausages 015 (800x600).jpg
 

Mismost

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MONTANAWINEGUY...I have yet to make Slim Jims....well, I have ground and seasoned and then had the meat market in town stuff them for me. I stuff off my grinder and it does a great job on anything brat size or bigger.....flat doesn't work for the small stuff.

I have an old Enterprise press, but not a stuffing horn small enough. Do you use the collagen casings? My only experience with collagen was a disaster that left me scrambling around trying find casings on a late Sunday night! But to do Slim Jims you about gotta use them don't you?
 

Quicksilver

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Thanks again, all.

Montanawineguy, yeah, I foresee some obsessive days on the horizon for me. It's funny the things that grab your interest, while others fly right by your radar screen. I love making soap, while candles interest me not at all (the two often go hand in hand). I'm fascinated by charcuterie, but cheesemaking leaves me cold. I really enjoy making (and still learning about) winemaking, but making beer just feels "meh" to me.

I can't wait to get started!
 

montanaWineGuy

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MONTANAWINEGUY...I have yet to make Slim Jims....well, I have ground and seasoned and then had the meat market in town stuff them for me. I stuff off my grinder and it does a great job on anything brat size or bigger.....flat doesn't work for the small stuff.

I have an old Enterprise press, but not a stuffing horn small enough. Do you use the collagen casings? My only experience with collagen was a disaster that left me scrambling around trying find casings on a late Sunday night! But to do Slim Jims you about gotta use them don't you?
I first did Slim Jims with Sheep casings. Expensive and difficult to work with (i.e. lots of ruptured casings). Now for Slim Jims I use the 19mm Collagen Casings. I swear, they are the best for SJs. Give it another try.

You are probably right about stuffing with the grinder for the smaller casings. A dedicated stuffer makes all the difference.
 

montanaWineGuy

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Thanks again, all.

Montanawineguy, yeah, I foresee some obsessive days on the horizon for me. It's funny the things that grab your interest, while others fly right by your radar screen. I love making soap, while candles interest me not at all (the two often go hand in hand). I'm fascinated by charcuterie, but cheesemaking leaves me cold. I really enjoy making (and still learning about) winemaking, but making beer just feels "meh" to me.

I can't wait to get started!
I looked into making cheese, but a good source of heavy milk is not available to me. To make wine, salami, and cheese would be the very best. As of now, I have to buy the cheese.... :(
 

ibglowin

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Do you have a few makes and models for a possible grinder and stuffer? I grew up in TX with access to lots of German sausage and can't find anything here in NM that is edible in the stores. Its all crap. Looking at making my own once I lock down a good authentic German recipe from the TX Hill Country.

There are lots of things to buy in starting Charcuterie at home. 1st is a quality Meat Grinder. Expect at minimum $200. 2nd is a stand alone sausage stuffer. Grinders can act as stuffer, but in my experience is a PITA. Go ahead and try it, but on the second batch you'll be looking to purchasing a good stuffer. Mine was a little over $100 and holds 5lbs. Larger would be nice but this gets it done.

I ground up 15lbs of pork shoulder and loins yesterday. I'm getting ready to stuff all in to hog casings and make Sweet Italian Sausages. I found that if I 1/2 grind the meat coarse and 1/2 fine, it makes for an interesting (better) sausage.
 

Mismost

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Do you have a few makes and models for a possible grinder and stuffer? I grew up in TX with access to lots of German sausage and can't find anything here in NM that is edible in the stores. Its all crap. Looking at making my own once I lock down a good authentic German recipe from the TX Hill Country.
ibglowin.... An old German guy gave us a recipe years ago.

50# meat and fat....pork venison up to you
1# salt
11 tablespoons black pepper
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons red pepper
2 ozs pink powder
4 ozs onion powder
1 cup of sugar

It doesn't sound like much compared to some of our more complicated recipes....but sometimes less is more. This is just good sausage. Fresh, frozen, or smoked.

BTW...I think one of the tricks to good sausage is FAT....minimum 30% FAT.
Anything less and you run the risk of dry mealy sausage....that just gets drier as you cook it.

we tried backing down on the fat for health reasons. Nope, I'd rather eat real cardboard than dry mealy sausage. Sausage is very much a texture thing....hence the 1/2 grind coarse and 1/2 fine, just texture. The fat adds both flavor, juice, and actually helps cook the sausage internally.
 

ibglowin

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Yea, sausage is not supposed to be healthy, and your not supposed to eat it every day or even every week although my Grandfather lived to be 94 and ate bacon or sausage and eggs almost every day of his life. Oh and he also smoked cigars....


Thanks for the recipe! Simple is quite often the best way to go. Is "pink powder" curing salt?
 
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montanaWineGuy

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Do you have a few makes and models for a possible grinder and stuffer? I grew up in TX with access to lots of German sausage and can't find anything here in NM that is edible in the stores. Its all crap. Looking at making my own once I lock down a good authentic German recipe from the TX Hill Country.
Look for one with all metal gears. They can handle anything you might throw at it. I bought Cabelas 3/4 HP Carnivore. It's pricey, almost a commercial grade grinder, but will last a lifetime, and has a lifetime guarantee in case it doesn't.
 

ceeaton

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. I bought Cabelas 3/4 HP Carnivore.
I like the name! And at 8-10 lbs of meat a minute, I can't imagine running it at full speed and keeping up with it (if you are stuffing the sausage as you grind it). (Double And) If it has a lifetime guarantee, that price is well worth it.
 

montanaWineGuy

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I like the name! And at 8-10 lbs of meat a minute, I can't imagine running it at full speed and keeping up with it (if you are stuffing the sausage as you grind it). (Double And) If it has a lifetime guarantee, that price is well worth it.
It is fun to try and keep up with the grinding speed. I had a manual one before, and what PITA. With the Carnivore twice grinding (coarse then fine) is a breeze. With the manual, forgedaboutit. :(
 

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