- November 9, 2019 at 8:35 pm #1675Phil YoungTCB admin
“Go on then say something”…
…”You don’t know what to write, do you?”
It’s not that; it’s just where to start…
…Firstly, perhaps I should say that I’ve never worked commercially in the food industry. However, food has always been something of an obsession. I’m a passable cook but my major interest lies in making those ingredients that most people will buy. Included in that is the whole range of charcuterie products from cold cutting pies to salami.
My interest started about twenty-five years ago when I made bacon using a recipe in a River Cottage book; it was awful; far too salty. With hindsight, I realise that the (optional) saltpetre that I added far exceeded the legal levels had the bacon been commercially produced.
It put me off for a while but was always niggling at the back of my mind. It was only when chanced on a recipe for a ‘new’ method of curing bacon that used measured amounts of ingredients to control the finished result that the curing bug bit. To be honest, I was so impressed with the results that I became a bit of a ‘curing bore’. When, with the guidance and encouragement of other forum members, I also started making sausages I must have become almost intolerable; my only topics of conversation were charcuterie based!
I became a member, and subsequently a moderator, of the forum where I had seen the recipe. I’m still involved in running that forum as well as being a moderator for the Facebook Salt Cured Pig and Great British Bacon Making groups.
It became clear to me when running the sausagemaking.org forum that a link-up between farmers and charcuterie makers could be mutually beneficial and so I started a directory of farmers selling direct to the public and of other small scale local food producers in SW Leicestershire – Local Food Heroes. I’ve subsequently reused the domain name for information about charcuterie and other food topics. I no longer update the site, but the curing calculators that I created are well used and form the basis of many calculators on other sites.
My interest continues to be in developing small scale curing techniques that are safe and based on the best scientific information…
…but that didn’t stop the last piece of meat that I cured having large parts that were uncured!
- November 11, 2019 at 11:10 pm #1701Laurence MateTCB admin
Not seeing any uncured bits in those slices, Phil, but you had best send the rest on to me, just to make sure! As a neophyte curer / sausagemaker, I learned so much from you and John Gower on the sausagemaking forum – I will be forever grateful. I particularly appreciated your reasonable, scientific approach, and I have you to credit for introducing me (and countless others – even those what don’t admit it!) to equilibrium curing for simple, safe, predictable results. Who could have imagined that Wheels and This Little Piggy would one day find themselves reunited on a new platform to run wild!
- November 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm #1710Phil YoungTCB admin
Thanks for those kind words even though John is likely to thump you if you refer to measured dry cures as equilibrium! I’m sure we did back then though.
I didn’t take a photo of the part cured meat. I used to post any failures when I was writing regularly. It doesn’t hurt to show newcomers to curing that it doesn’t always go right.
I’ll move the bresaola image to the start and just to prove that failed cures are not a one-off, here’s one I made earlier!
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