Monday, June 25, 2007

Welcome to the world of cured meats.

Welcome to all. I’m starting this blog as a gift to the king of animals. The pig. This honorable animal, which is so often seen generically as “the other white meat”, and eaten as a tasteless grilled pork chop, has in past been so much more, and I want to resurrect that. My goal isn’t to write a blog about the various way to cook pig, there are 1000 blogs like that already, it is about my dedication to one particular form of working this creature - making salumi, charcuterie or cured meats. To my mind, this is his ultimate expression.

I have a two goals for this blog (for now, those goals may expand as I write, but let’s keep it simple):

1) To document my experiments in the craft of making cured meats : salumi or charcuterie.
2) To educate readers about making these items at home, and answer questions about issues I’ve come across myself.

I guess let’s start with a definition of what exactly salumi making or charcuterie is. Both words generally mean the same thing. It is the craft of working meat products, most often pork into various forms for various reasons: flavor, textural changes, and importantly, preservation. Today is is done less for preservation, and more for textural and flavor reasons. If you've ever eaten a salame, prosciutto, a pate' or even a sausage, you've had charcuterie.

While charcuterie can encompass cured and fresh products, my concentration will be on cured products such as prosciutto, salame and coppa, as this is what I prefer, and what what generally has little documentation on the web. Making sausages can be fun, and very tasty, but it isn’t particularly difficult, and I’ll therefore spend less time on that. And, while I said this blog is about the pig, some products will also use other animals, but pork will make up the great majority.

So, if you’ve ever been interested in how cured meats can be made at home, follow along. Posts may not come very often; this is an craft that requires patience as curing time for various products can be 6 months or longer. I’m also quite busy with life, so posts will come as I have a chance to write them.

In the next blog entries I’ll be introducing the various items and accessories which will be needed to produce salumi at home. For now,I’ve babbled enough.