My salted wares
Rather successful bovine dry curing. Viande de Grisson, bresaola and saucisson sec. Randall-Lineback eye of round for the VdG was cured in 2 stages (half the salt cure for 3 days, the other half for 3 more days), wiped clean of the cure mix, rolled in herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram) wrapped in cheesecloth and hung in a refrigerated room –no need to ferment the whole muscle, just to dry it. Very nice color, sweet taste, but I don’t know how much the herbs contributed to the flavor. Kind of musty actually. It eventually developed a bloom after 3 weeks and when it had sufficiently dried to my liking, I pressed it (to achieve the traditional pressed shape) between wooden boards weighed down with cans of tomatoes, though any canned good with equal weight would have worked just as well I suppose. A friend of mine once pilfered in my pack a can or roasted red peppers from Buca di Beppo, whose “Pope Room” is the gold standard for Italian dining with your delinquent friends, and there is a crappy nudie bar next door (gnudi bar, by the way, would be a very good idea for a gnudi menu themed room). I was pleased as punch by the plucked can, though upon shaking it, it seemed like there was quite a bit of water in there. That sloshy sound was consistent with the contents –dihydrogen monoxide. What was most amazing, was that the cans were authentically labeled, painted on, nutritional info, imported, importer address, contents, ingredients… A very convincing 5lb can of roasted red peppers that would fit in on any Costco shelf. Who makes such a mock product? And what will become of the Pope busts that bless the Pope Room tables?
The bresaola was fabricated from an Angus eye of round, cured in the same manner as the VdG, put in a beef bung casing, brushed with vinegar and left to dry in the same refrigerated room. After a week, the bresaola began to develop a healthy white bloom and 3 weeks later was completely encased in the cherished bloom which other manufacturers artificially replicate with rice flour. Very nice color and sweet beefy flavor. Far better than the desiccated beef often passed off as the real McCoy.
Saucisson sec was more of a challenge. Lean Randall-Lineback eye-of-round was used in lieu of pork, primarily because of the abundance of the former, and pork back fat supplemented the fat. No starter culture. Standard procedure was applied and the pieces were incubated in a plastic tub for 72 hours. The refrigerator conditions were not ideal for the proper curing (too cold, not enough humidity) and the ph of the meat may not have been sufficient. While the flavor was enjoyable, particularly the lucknow fennel seed, the sausage itself was a bit softer than desired in the middle, though the face of the slice was encouraging –no air pockets or festering inside, but the fat distribution left much to be desired.
Randall-Lineback secca (the French variety of bresaola) was successful and absolutely delicious. Cured in the same manner as the Viande de Grisson and bresaola. Stuffed in a beef middle. Top notch bloom. I could have snow angels in that bloom if I was smaller.