Salt-cure: “Curing and smoking” Book review
While laying down resting my back the past week, I had a lot of time to think and read. Actually it got rather frustrating after a while since I’ve been reading a lot of interesting recipes. Recipes enhancing a craving to cook and experiment with. On the other hand I also had some time to think about new concepts. I’m about to launch a new section on this blog. The following recipe could be seen as an introduction to the concept.
Those people who read my “about” page, will know I’m not a natural born chef. Actually I rarely cooked as a child though I loved eating. Therefore I had no experience at all when I moved to my own home. My interest for cooking and my wife working late made me look for recipes and talk with other people. This way I found out my colleague (Birger Allary) had a passion for cooking too. Especially BBQ was one of his main interests. He even breeds a pig to share with some others. Since I got a Weber Kettle as a housewarming gift, it couldn’t get much better.
We shared some recipes and he taught me more about a salt-cure, brining and smoking. The more we talked, the more we both got passionated about what we made. The perfect man to start with the new concept I want to introduce. The idea is getting people to share their view on BBQ and the passion they feel in live. Regular people like you and me who inspire other regular people and motivate them in doing what they love. After introducing themselves they may ask the person who inspires them in some way to do the same thing. This way we’ll get a chain of interesting people. I have no idea where it will be leading too.
Birger who founded “Tjoppie-doppie BBQ team” last year will soon make his appearance over here and talk about his passion for life. He got the freedom to write whatever he feels like and chose the next person in line. Quite exciting for me (I hope it will work out).
Salt-cure for homemade bacon
I’ll also try to combine these stories with a recipe linked on the content of the portrait. This leads me to introduce you to a fantastic book I got from Birger. The book ” Made at home: curing and smoking” is written by Dick and James Strawbridge. A father and son totally into curing and smoking their own fish and meat. The book provides some step by step technical explanation about what you need to do and supporting advice concerning these interesting techniques. Moreover they provide some really interesting recipes where these techniques are used.
The salt-cure in recipe below is based on the one in the book. I only made a few changes. However the anise flavor enhances the flavor of meat it overruled the rest in my humble opinion. I lowered the amount of star anise to get the cure more balanced. Besides this basic cure I experiment with adding different flavours. Here I used some oregano and used smoked chili flakes instead of the original dried chili. I used the salt-cure for 1kg pork belly.
- 200 gr . Nitrite Salt
- 80 gr . Sugar (normally brown but I ran out)
- 2,5 pieces of Star Anise
- 1 tbsp . ground Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp . ground Corriander Seeds
- 2 smoked and dried Pepper Flakes (recipe follows)
- 1 tbsp . dried Oregano
Mix ingredients and break up the lumps of sugar.
Rub the mixture thoroughly on the meat.
Put the meat in a curing box. This is a box containing a grid to put the meat on. This way the juices don't stay in contact with your meat. The time this stage needs depends on how much flavour you want to add, the weight of the meat, ...
After curing carefully rinse the meat! If you don't do this appropriately, you will end up with too much salt in your dish.
Pat the meat dry and set aside for another period to dry further. (also depending on what you're making).
This cure tastes really good on smoked pork cheeks too.
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