Feb 25, 2011

a guanciale diary

A summary of the guanciale posts here and here and  here, with more data.  To encourage others.  

Started with four cleaned pork jowls from Uptons of Bassett, cleaned of almost everything you'd expect to find in a cheek.  Used two different cures, each applied to two cheeks.

Cure A: Brown, quite sweet
  • 74g coarse sea salt
  • 72g brown sugar
  • Thyme
  • 20-30 peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic

Cure B: White, less sweet
  • 73g coarse sea salt
  • 40g white sugar
  • Pepper, toasted coriander, cloves, pimento, all crushed together

Rub cure on pork, cover, refrigerate.  Redistribute cure daily for four days, until quite firm.  Then hang in my room, at 14-19'C, humidity unknown, but probably around 60% (based on previous measurements).  After 5 more days they are done: firm, dry to the touch, with a gentle cured aroma.  Store two in fridge for eating, one sealed in plastic seems quite happy, no mould, hair or mush forming.  The other one continues to dry until very dark and dense.  Remaining two are in the freezer: wrapped in thick plastic, then foil.

Some moments of doubt: 
  • Some small  squishy bits could be found when I hanged them - they turned out ok. Better cure distribution next time?
  • I think my cure may have been too salty, I could probably have used about half the salt for my raw weight of meat, then given it a bit more time to equalise.

I was aiming for 30% decrease in weight, and managed basically exactly that:
Cure A Cure B
27 Jan257g       193g    235g     202g
30 Jan224g162g/137g*    206g     172g
5 Feb182g114g    162g     143g
70.9%69%      63%      70%
* Removed some for tasting, final percentage takes this into account.


Marie said...

Are you an engineer or something :-)?

Baie dankie hiervoor.

Now you mention cleaning off all extraneous bits. That was my problem with the duck breast prosciutto, only discovered after the fact: a vein. Which remained bright red and oozy after the curing and hanging, and totally put me off. What does one do about those buried veins? Ignore them?

Why are there no veins in real prosciutto? Don't pig legs have veins? I'm guessing cheeks do not...

Can't make it to your butcher but 3 good ones within spitting distance here in Brooklyn. Let's see if they can rise to cheeks.

jvdh said...

Moenie spot nie :-) I stopped when I realised I wanted to add a graph of weight against time. With a clear legend. And maybe a fitted curve. And something to compare against. It is part of my life.

There is a video on youtube of someone "milking" the vein in a piece of leg, to prevent it from going odd :-)

For the breasts, I trimmed off the obvious veiny bits, leaving my with basically only meat. But I think there was a squiggle which I ignored. I might have been lucky, because it was very empty. Cheeks tend to have glands, little globs of chew that you should remove. I only found one on mine, but that's no surprise given the squeamish eating habits around here.

En dis regtig maklik. Baie baie maklik. Veral as jy nie 'n massiewe stuk vleis het nie. En vinnig. En mens kan dit in die slaapkamer doen.

arcadia said...

Sug. Nou weet almal wat doen ons in ons slaapkamer.