Curing Meats: One Day At A Time

Within the last year here at the HoDo we have challenged ourselves and our kitchen to do more from scratch and/or in house made products.  This very much applies to the charcuterie plate we carry on our menu.  Along with the head cheese, rabbit terrine, chicken liver pate, lamb bacon, etc., we decided it was time to further pursue our endeavors to that of the world of meat curing.

If we learned anything so far it’s that patience is certainly a virtue.  Also, even if it seems like it, there are no failures as long as some knowledge was gained in the process.  We ambitiously started with a 20 pound batch of traditional Italian salami, which sadly after a month or so of hanging in the curing chamber left us with a couple of measly 8 ounce sticks of salami that weren’t garbage.  Yet sometimes it’s about the small victories of what we had created and the growth from what we had learned in the process.

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Near the time we mourned the loss of our salami we celebrated our first ever dry cured coppa.  We couldn’t be more excited for this whole cured muscle that came out beautifully.

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We recently butchered two whole hogs and carefully removed the coppa muscles from each of the shoulders.  I then put them on a salt cure for about 10 days.  They came off the cure today with the lovely aroma of cured meat (you would have to experience it to understand).

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Next I rinsed each piece under cold water and patted them dry.  After rubbing the coppa down with white wine, I coated them thoroughly with a mix of cayenne, fennel, and pimenton and wrapped each one in cheesecloth and trussed them with butcher’s twine.

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And in the curing chamber they will hang for the next 3-4 weeks where we will be monitoring their progress including weight, temperature, and humidity.

With everything in the kitchen moving at such a fast pace from plate to plate and day to day, it’s important to slow down and take a moment to think about how it all gets from our kitchen to your table.

Ryan