Charcuterie: Off The Grid Food Storage For Meats

Ever eat cured raw pork?On my list skills to learn is the lost art of off grid meat preservation. I can meats, store meat in the freezer, and have some canned seafood in our primal pantry. What happens when the fragile electrical grid goes down? Leaning to cure meat for long-term storage would be a great skill for bartering, building resilient preps, and, well, it’s just plain cool to see meat hanging from the ceiling in your basement or root cellar.

Caroline Cooper has an interesting article on her blog (eatkamloops) about a technique I’ve never heard of or was able to pronounce. Click here for the proper pronunciation. It’s fun to say and sounds like it’d be fun to make and eat.

Any of y’all ever tried making charcuterie? I’d like to hear from you.

Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Source: eatkamloops

cured pork 1 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Charcuterie adds a wonderful element to winter pantry food. A small slice of cured meat goes a long way with its rich flavor. With traditional charcuterie there is a natural order to when the cured meats are ready and when the cured meats should be eaten.

“These dry-cured meats and sausages, almost always sliced thin, are dense and chewy, with a strong, dry-cured flavor and smooth, satiny fat. When we eat them, we’re most often eating pork that’s never gone above room temperature, let along come close to the 150F recommended by government. And yet, properly prepared, these are perfectly safe to eat. There really is nothing similar to eating cured raw meat — it has a flavor and an effect like no other food.”

Charcuterie: The Craft and Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman

cured pork ribs 4 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Raw cured ribs are the first cured product to come out of the cellar. Sliced thinly, the sweet meat of the ribs is a wonderful contrast to the salty cure. One rib will satisfy.

I just wanted to share a few pictures of the cured pork my husband Shaen made with the expert mentoring from Joe Trotta. Charcuterie is not an easy craft to learn from books. Charcuterie is a craft best passed down from the older generation to the younger generation. If you are interested in learning the craft, I have no books for you, or courses you can take. You will just have to look around and find someone knowledgeable in the craft and someone willing to mentor you in the techniques. If you can find someone to show you how to cure raw meats, the process becomes simple, and the stress of wondering if you are doing it right, is greatly reduced.

Two warnings. Hurry up and learn. Many of the people who know these techniques are older. Many have children that do not value the wisdom that came from the old country and have never learned the craft. These old techniques are dying with the people, and unless we learn their knowledge, the knowledge will pass out of this world. If you are a professional cook or chef, you will have to empty your cup of knowledge, if you want to learn traditional charcuterie. Everything you think you know about FOODSAFE is wrong regarding these foods. If you come to traditional cured foods with your own ideas of how to do it right, you will likely miss the mark, and mess up the process. Saying “Oh my God, that isn’t safe,” is meaningless and disrespectful to someone who has eaten these foods their whole life.

cured pork bacon 5 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

This is raw cured bacon with sea salt and paprika. The sticks help keep the bacon flat and stop it from curling. This is the second cured product out of the cellar. Very few people have enjoyed the flavor of raw bacon. It can be cooked but you will miss the satiny smoothness of the fat.

“Dry-curing results in a beautiful type of sausage, the most individualistic, idiosyncratic, and temperamental sausage there is, precisely because of its reliance on atmospheric conditions, which change all year round, and the presence of varying microflora in the air.”

cured pork 2 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Soppressata is the third cured product out of the cellar. Soppressata is made from raw pork, sea salt and paprika which is stuffed into the pig’s intestine. There is no curing salts or other ingredients. Soppressata’s flat appearance is from pressing to help remove air from the salami.

But when your sausage has dried just right, and you slice it thin, and the interior is a glistening deep crimson red with bright pearly chunks of fat, it is incredibly exciting. This is real mastery over the food we prepare. To make a home-cured pork sausage, with just salt and pepper for seasoning, is a deeply gratifying experience, like making a great wine.”

cured pork 3 Pantry Foods: Charcuterie

Soppressata is hung by it’s string on clothes hangers cut into hooks. Soppressata with its white coat is an eerie sight in the cellar. The white coating is safe to eat though traditional Italian sausage makers like Joe wipe the soppressata with vinegar and water to remove the coating.

Mastering the technique of transforming raw meat and fat, whether a sausage or a whole muscle, into something delicious without using heat, enhances your ability to work with all food. This is true craftsmanship, craftsmanship aiming for art, a craft reliant on the cook’s skill and knowledge and, perhaps, a little bit of divine intervention.”

Divine intervention indeed. Or maybe just allowing for the peaceful co-existence of humans with their helpful bacterial friends. When you cure long-term your household will become colonized with helpful microbiota. If you would like to learn more about traditional Italian curing please see: Pantry Foods: Fast Cured Green Olives.

About these ads
Categories: Barter, Food Storage, Lost Skills | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Charcuterie: Off The Grid Food Storage For Meats

  1. TexasScout

    Back in the day, my Great Grandfather who lived on a working cattle ranch of some size, would, at the proper “hog killin'” time of year, would render an entire hog for the lard. the hams, hocks, ribs, etc. were smoked and then stored in that lard for long periods of time. They had a huge pottery crock filled with lard and the meats were stuffed way down in it away from oxygen and other bad stuff.

    Worked then, it works now.

    • Great stories from old timers are always worth pulling up a chair or milk crate and paying close attention. You’re fortunate to have a grandfather with those experiences.

      I remember ‘hog killings’ growing up. The scalding station, a metal 55 gallon drum cut in half, would come to proper temp and daddy would put a “.22 aspirin”, as he called it, between the eyes of the chosen one. Then, the fun and work began.

      The lard method is a great way of preserving the meat I’ve read. Never tried it. I know the tallow I render from beef fat will last a very long time without refrigeration. I use it in my pemmican. I’m wanting to build a smoke house as well.

      My mama was raised with 9 other siblings. They had to milk cows before school every morning. They were pretty self-sufficient growing up. My papa had 10 kids – they raised what they ate, veggies and meat. Trying to get there ourselves…one step at a time.

      Appreciate you sharing your story Tex!

  2. Pingback: Charcuterie: Off The Grid Food Storage For Meats | thesurvivalplaceblog

  3. Medea

    Eat cured raw pork? Of course! Whenever me and the kids visit Grandma in Germany, we feast on dark, smoky tasting “Teewurst” smeared on dark rye bread heaped with fresh onion slices (traditionally served at “tea time”). Teewurst is made from finely ground raw pork and bacon and must “ripen/ferment” before being cold smoked. Or try some “Mett”, ground RAW pork (this is especially prepared at the butcher’s for being consumed raw!) on crusty wheat rolls with onion slices, salt and black pepper. Oh my this is so good- go ask my kids! I am so bumped I can’t get this here. BTW, this is what the Spaniards call “Strong food”….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,234 other followers

%d bloggers like this: