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Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 09:45
by Chuckwagon
Yes! Yes! Yup Duck! Brilliant even :mrgreen: Now, that sounds like a plan.
Hey Chris, what is it about chorizo that you don't really care for? Chiles? Spices of clove, coriander, cumin, and oregano? I believe I'll make mine "clean", (as the Duk puts it), - for snacking with cheese and crackers - allowing the pork flavor to be a little more predominant. I'm still going to put a little heat in it though. My weakness is black pepper. My pocket knife is going to have some fun when this sausage begins to reach about 75% yield. (025% moisture loss).
Duckster, I really like the idea of two separate recipes so folks may make a choice. Good goin' quackster. Okay folks, lets snap lots of photos okay?

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:23
by Chuckwagon
In November of 2012, I took one of El DuckO`s chorizo recipes and sort of "hacked it" by adding Bactoferm™ LHP to it for the purpose of showing members how easy it is to make a "semi-dry-cured" sausage from a "fresh" sausage. It may not have been the best choice of sausages to make an example of, because - as El DuckO says - Americans know this sausage mostly as a "fresh" type sausage. Only in Spain is it preferred as a "semi-dry-cured" product. However, it serves as an example of how a little change in "how" a sausage is made, can drastically change the outcome of the final product. For the convenience of this group, I am including below, a copy of that recipe with its instructions for using Bactoferm LHP. This project really isn`t about chorizo - it`s really about "semi-dry curing sausage using a culture". So, if you don`t really care for the taste of chorizo, for goodness sakes make some Krainerwurst instead. :shock: Heck, make just a plain pork sausage with a bit of salt and pepper and you`ll have the best dry-cured snack stick you can lay your hands on.

Here`s the copy (from the "old" Project B for your reference:

What is "Semi-Dry Cured" Sausage?
Depending on the amount of moisture that they contain, sausages are grouped as:
moist - 10% weight loss
semi-dry - 20% weight loss
dry - 30% weight loss

Semi-dry cured sausage may be made with or without cultures and may or may not be pre-cooked. However, due to modern health concerns, it is recommended that all semi-dry cured sausages be par-cooked. Commercially, this application is now required. Semi-dry cured sausage is usually cured by fermenting the sausage at least 48 hours rendering an acidic content of pH 5.2 or lower, then by drying it to a point below Aw 0.89 or lower. This type of sausage is normally cured using Cure #1 (nitrite) as reservoirs of nitrate are not needed in short-term fermentation.

Refrigerated "fresh" sausages must be used up within three days or frozen for use later. If the same sausage however, contains a prescribed amount of sodium nitrite and is smoke-cooked, it becomes a delicious "cured-smoked-cooked" type sausage ready for the grill. Can this sausage be further preserved?

1. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by quickly fermenting it - that is, by using a preliminary curing step in traditionally-made (no culture used) sausages, OR by using a culture to drop the pH level to 5.3 or less.

2. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by drying it to a point below Aw 0.85, where most bacteria no longer had an effect upon it? We could then store it at around 45°; F. in 75% humidity and the sausage would be "ready to eat" for an extended period of time.

Unlike fully dry-cured sausages, the semi-dry variety is usually pre-cooked (par-cooked) to about 140°F after fermenting and smoking have taken place. By reaching and surpassing the temperature of 138° F., the threat of trichinella spiralis is eliminated. Often this cooking step is accomplished while the smoking is being done.

Great idea eh? The sausage we are talking about has been prep-cooked to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis, and it has been cured with nitrite to prevent the development of any possible clostridium botulinum. The drawback is a loss of 20% of its original weight. (In fully dry-cured the loss is nearly 35% of its original weight). On the other hand, we would have the ultimate snack stick to take along hunting or hiking for a quick, lightweight, high-protein bite to eat. It surely beats high-sugar or high-carbohydrate snacks or candy. Sure, it would probably develop a little "white" mold, but we could always safely wipe it off before eating it. Better yet, we could prolong its preservation by vacuum-packing it in plastic or glass and not have to even worry about mold.

Semi-dry cured sausages are usually ground a little more coarsely and are made safe by an acidification level reaching pH 5.3 (or less) as mentioned. If a "fast" culture such as LHP is used, this may be accomplished in as little as two days. A "medium" culture such as F-RM-52 requires about 4 days. If these quick-acting cultures are used, it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus"flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity.

Note: Applying smoke during the fermentation stage is not recommended as smoke contains substances which may impede reactions between meat and beneficial bacteria, especially in the surface area.

Also note: Some old recipes have no requirements for cooking semi-dry cured sausage. If no heat treatment is planned in making a semi-dry cured sausage, it is now recommended that home sausage makers use a culture. Commercial suppliers are now being required to cook semi-dry cured products until the internal meat temperature reaches 160°F. This cooking step provides additional safety in sausage production whether the meat is smoked or not.

Before starter cultures were widely available to hobbyist home sausage makers, it was not uncommon to see "semi-dry cured" sausages made without prep-cooking. Today, the cooking step is strongly recommended as an additional measure of safety.

In a "fully-air dried" sausage, depending upon the type of sausage being made, the temperature inside the curing chamber may be boosted as high as 115°F., the humidity elevated to 95%, with an air exchange speed of about two miles per hour (0.8 m per sec.) as fermentation begins. Inside a special variable "fermentation chamber" these requirements are easily met. Several hours later, these conditions have normally decreased substantially. We may say that fermentation is the controlled production of lactic acid under conditions of consistently monitored and frequently adjusted humidity, temperature, and air flow. Please understand that until the fermentation process begins, the only protection against pathogenic bacteria is the sausage`s salt content, the addition of nitrite, and the initially low bacteria count of the meat. Following 48 hours of fermentation, the sugar-fed lactobacilli and pediococci have usually metabolized enough sugar to produce a sufficient quantity of lactic acid to render the sausage safely acidic.

The taste and texture of a "semi-dry-cured" product differs from a fully-dry cured sausage because it has been cooked. On the other hand, it differs from a "prep-cooked, cured, and smoked sausage" because it is fermented. The keeping qualities of this type of sausage are excellent, although we must remember that the only sausage that may be stored outside the refrigerator is a fully-dry-cured (air-dried) fermented sausage.

Meat Starter Culture Bactoferm™ LHP (Fast: 5.0 pH in 2 days)
LHP is a freeze-dried culture well suited for all fermented sausages where a relatively pronounced acidification is desired. The culture is recommended for the production of traditional fermented, dry sausages with a sourly flavor note. Each 42-gram packet of LHP will treat 500 pounds (225 kilo) of meat. Freeze remaining culture. Note: Cultures may be stored in freezer 6 months. Un-refrigerated it has a shelf life of only 14 days.

Again, when using LHP it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus "flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity.

El DuckO`s "Azul Chorizo Chabacano" (Type 3 - "Semi-Dry Cured)

800 gm pork (fat trimmings removed)
200 gm pork trimmings
10.6 gm non-iodized salt (reduce if using cure)
2.7 gm cure #1
0.24 gm Bactoferm™ LHP culture
9.0 gm sugar
0.7 gm pepper (black)
17.6 gm garlic (6 medium cloves - fresh)
21.2 gm chile- ancho (remove stems & seeds, grind)
11.5 gm chile-pasillo (remove stems & seeds, grind)
0.2 gm cloves (ground)
0.6 gm coriander (ground)
0.4 gm cumin (ground)
0.4 gm oregano
6.9 gm paprika (sweet)

Crush the garlic slightly and soak it in hot water while you grind the meat through a large (1/2") plate. Dissolve the salt and the cure #1 in a little water, mince the garlic and chiles, and then combine them with all the remaining ingredients, mixing them thoroughly throughout the meat. Season the mixture a day or two in the refrigerator, then stuff it into 32 - 36 mm hog casings, making traditional 8" links.

Place one pound of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet with a lip around it. Spread the salt out evenly and add just enough water to barely cover the salt. Place the cookie sheet and salt in the bottom of an old fridge or your home kitchen oven. Keep the oven warm by using the pilot light in a gas model, or a hundred-watt light bulb covered with a large coffee can with several holes drilled in it. This will produce a warm area for a 2-day fermentation period at about 70% humidity.

When you are ready to smoke-cook the sausages, hang them at room temperature until they warm just a bit while you pre-heat your smokehouse to 130°F. Wipe any condensation from the sausages, being sure they are dry to the touch before they go into the smoker. Place the sausages into the smokehouse for an hour then introduce hickory smoke with the dampers 1/4 open. Slowly, only a few degrees every twenty minutes, raise the smokehouse temperature until the internal meat temperature registers 148°F. At this point, I cannot stress enough, the importance of patience. Please do not try to rush the process by elevating the heat too much or too quickly. The success or failure of the product will be determined by how you prep-cook the meat at this point. Do not "break" the fat or you will have expensive sawdust. There may be a temperature "stall" somewhere during the mid-140`s and as the meat-temperature finally nears 148 degrees, it may do so quickly, so keep your eye on the thermometer and do not allow the temperature to go above this mark. Cool the sausages in a little ice water and then dry them. Store them in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, until you are ready to grill them.

It is important to remember that even though the sausage has been cured, it doesn`t mean that it will remain edible outside the refrigerator. Why? Re-introduction of bacteria. This remains a perishable product and must be refrigerated and used within a few days, or frozen until you are ready to grill in the near future. It`s your job at this point to make a couple of pounds of this delicious sausage with the proper amount of sodium nitrite in it. This will change the entire structure of the meat and quality of the sausage as you will see.

In his book, "Home Production Of Quality Meats And Sausages", author Stan Marianski stated: "All sausages can be smoked or not. Semi-dry sausages are smoked with hot smoke. What was once an important preservation step has become a matter of personal preference. If you like the smoky flavor, smoke the sausage, it`s that simple."

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 21:28
by el Ducko
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you of a singular honor bestowed upon our esteemed moderator, Chuckwagon, by chefs of Italian cuisine worldwide. In his honor, an entire set of sauces is named after him - PEST-O.

...and on second thought, we`d better make that "steamed" moderator. ( in "Par-Cooked.")

Posted: Wed May 28, 2014 21:55
by redzed
Chuckwagon wrote:Dissolve the salt and the cure #1 in the vinegar
Don't know where I read this, but acetic acid is used to lower the level of nitrates in ponds where algae is a problem. If this is indeed true, then would we not be lowering the effectiveness of the nitrite in the chorizo by mixing it directly with vinegar?

those promised recipes: a comparison

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 02:53
by el Ducko
So you want a couple of different chorizo recipes, do you? (Well, I thought you`d never ask.)

Let`s break them down into a "boiler plate" approach, something that I started doing with my spreadsheet work but didn`t pursue until Jason Story (of his and wife Carolina`s "Three Little Pigs" shop in Washington, DC) showed me something that they learned at the CIA. (As the old joke goes, "Now, I`ll have to kill you.") (No! ...wrong CIA. It`s the Culinary Institute of America, of which Jason and Carolina are graduates.)

Let`s break the recipe into blocks. CIA suggested "Meat" and "Other." Let`s go a bit finer, though:
● Meat
● Salt & Cure
● Sugars
● Additives
● Liquids
● Herbs and Spices, which we will break down further into:
● -- Flavors and colorants
● -- Traditional Herbs and Spices
● -- Garlic
I go deeper in the "Additives" section, but since we don`t have any for this recipe set except the bacteria, let`s not. For those who can`t stand it, though, my categories are
● yeast or bacteria
● water binder
● extender & general binder
● curing accelerator
● flavor enhancer
● preservative

For this recipe, I use a basis of one kilogram of meat. This makes it easy to write a general recipe, then scale it according to whatever quantities you use. The amount of product comes out to whatever all the ingredients add up to, so if you want, say, exactly one kilo of product, write down the recipe, see what it all adds up to, then scale everything by one over that weight. Feel free to add an "other" category to any or all sections, when you go into detail.

And for heaven`s sake, use weights, not volumes. Yes, I realize that many recipes are given in teaspoons and tablespoons, or in Imperial or other weight units. Take the time to weigh a tablespoon or whatever, then convert to grams. Convert the pounds and whatnot to grams too. It`s vastly simpler, that way, and much more consistent.

Here`s a basic recipe:
----------1 kg pork butt
==Salt & Cure:
----------xx gm cure #1
----------xx gm salt
----------xx gm dextrose (glucose)
----------Xxx gm bacteria
----------Xxx gm water
----------Xxx gm vinegar
==Herbs and Spices, which we will break down further into:
++++Flavors and colorants
----------Xxx gm ancho and/or pasilla chiles
----------Xxx gm sweet paprika or pimentón
----------Xxx gm cloves
----------Xxx gm allspice
++++Traditional Herbs and Spices
----------Xxx gm coriander seed
----------Xxx gm cumin
----------Xxx gm oregano
----------Xxx gm black pepper
----------Xxx gm garlic

Got that? Okay, then. Let`s generate a couple of recipes. We`ll do a basic recipe, the Melissa Guerra fresh chorizo recipe mentioned earlier. We`ll do my favorite (at the moment) recipe, then mention how to add popular Vietnamese condiment Sriracha to it. We`ll then change the so-called favorite recipe from fresh to smoked/semi-dried/cooked form by adding cure and adjusting the salt. (Just to be irritating, I`ll run the nitrite up to 200 ppm.) Then we`ll show the same recipe as a fermented/smoked/semi-dried recipe.

Ready? Here are all four, side-by-side, so you can compare them.

Recipe:............................................... Basic...Favorite...Smoked...Fermented
----------pork butt (kg).......................................1.......1.........1....1
==Salt & Cure:
----------cure #1 (gm).........................................0.......0.........3.8..3.8
----------salt (gm)...............................................6.6....23.5...
Cure adds salt! 1 gram cure = (1-0.0625)=0.9375 gm salt
----------dextrose (glucose) (gm)......................0........0......0....9.0
----------bacteria (gm).........................................0........0......0....0.24
----------water (gm)..............................................0.......0.......0....125
----------vinegar (gm).......................................105......88...88....0
==Herbs and Spices, which we will break down further into:
++++Flavors and colorants
----------ancho and/or pasilla chiles (gm)......10.6......34...34...34
----------sweet paprika or pimento (gm).........0...........11...11...11
----------cloves (gm).............................................0......0.2...0.2.......0.2
----------Sriracha (gm)..........................................0....0 (11 optional).....0.....0

++++Traditional Herbs and Spices
----------coriander seed (gm)............................0......0.6...0.6....0.6
----------cumin (gm).....................................1.3...0.4...0.4...0.4
----------oregano (gm)...................................0............0.4......0.4....0.4
----------black pepper (gm).........................7.5.........0.7......0.7....0.7
----------garlic (gm)......................................9.25........7.6......7.6....7.6

It`s simple, really. To go from fresh to smoked, add in the cure #1 and back down the salt. To go onward to the fermented/smoked, also switch out vinegar for water, then also add sugar and bacteria. Obviously, there are procedural differences (covered in CW`s write-up), but the recipes differ little.

And there you have `em. Get that dextrose and LHP on order, and you`ll be cookin` in no time!

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 08:43
by Chuckwagon
Redzed wrote:
Don't know where I read this, but acetic acid is used to lower the level of nitrates in ponds where algae is a problem. If this is indeed true, then would we not be lowering the effectiveness of the nitrite in the chorizo by mixing it directly with vinegar?
You are absolutely correct in your observation Chris. Since acids donate hydrogen ions to a solution, they tend to make the pH lower. Bases, by accepting hydrogen ions, make the pH higher. A neutral pH of 7, which is the pH of distilled water, contains the same number of hydrogen ions as hydroxide ions.

This is the reason I removed the vinegar (containing acetic acid) as an ingredient initially on this particular project (air-dried). However, it seems that I inadvertently neglected to remove it from the directions below the recipe. My mistake pal. I have taken it out to remove any further confusion. Thanks for being heads up.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 10:08
by Chuckwagon
That dad-gummed Duk wrote:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you of a singular honor bestowed upon our esteemed moderator, Chuckwagon, by chefs of Italian cuisine worldwide. In his honor, an entire set of sauces is named after him - PEST-O.
...and on second thought, we`d better make that "steamed" moderator. ( in "Par-Cooked.")
OOOOOoooooo you... you... you unhinged, plume-covered wishbone! Just what do you mean "PEST-O" you... you... you... craniate-challenged archaeopteryx! And just what do you mean by "par-cooked", you sanitorium-bound skeet target! Why you web-footed, wacky, out-of-balance whirring screwball! How about trying a crash dive into the Pacific from about 10,000 feet?

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 03:26
by el Ducko
The real reason for including vinegar in the fresh and smoked/semi-dried chorizo recipes is to approximate the tang which fermentation would have provided, had it been done. This is a historical artifact- - the ingredients, methods, and conditions used to make old world chorizo (dried) were unavailable in the new world, so the poor sausage-starved Europeans substituted what they could. After 500 years, it's now tradition.

Leave it out if you want, but you'll be missing an important flavor component. I can't speak as to any decline in effectiveness of the nitrite ion due to acidic medium, but it would make some young chemistry or food science major a fine thesis topic if it hasn't already.

As for me, I make my chorizos (the non-fermented ones) with nitrite and vinegar like everybody else does (food industry included) , and haven't yet... aaaack! :wink:

meat sticks

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 03:37
by grasshopper
Testing double barrel debreziner (kranska) for meat sticks. stuffed in 21 mm collagen casings. I like mine a little more meaty. IT temp 148 and in the fridge for three days. 30% weight loss. I took of the collagen casings off because of the shrinkage. The test patty was very tasteful, just right. The smoked sticks came out a little more mild. Will up the spices next time.



Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 06:38
by Chuckwagon
Mike, you ol' scoundrel! That stuff is gorgeous. Almost as gorgeous as my ol' girlfriend Maybelline! :roll: Wow, you are gettin' pretty darned good at this ol' craft buddy. Nice goin'. :wink:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 07:01
by Chuckwagon
Okay gang,
Before we get out of the "semi-dry-cure" category, some of you may wish to prepare some good ol' Landjaeger sausage (German "Hunter" Sausage). It's very popular in Europe and was sort of a staple among German troops during WWII. The stuff is very tasty and unique because it is pressed flat between two boards. Anyone want to give it a try? There's a recipe with "Fermento" in it called "Lawman's Landjaeger" at this link:
OR... you may prefer "Lone Peak Landjaeger" just below it on the same page. The second recipe is made with T-SPX and requires a month or more to cure, but the flavor is more mellow (as it is in southern Europe). If you can't wait a month, you can always speed it up with a faster acting culture, but the taste will be more sour and tangy. If you would like a very nice project with a subtle, flavorful, taste in your mouth, then try the Lone Peak Landjaegar with T-SPX and plan on waiting a month or more for it to drop to 80% yield.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 07:55
by sambal badjak
CW in your write up you say:
Semi-dry cured sausage may be made with or without cultures and may or may not be pre-cooked

Could I make them without the starter culture? As you know, I struggle getting some ingredients, but want to stay alive as well.
If it is wiser not to, then I will still make me some chorizo, but either smoked or fresh, not semi-fermented

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 16:13
by Chuckwagon
Sambal, there was a time not so long ago, that our U.S. government would allow semi-dry products to be sold without a prep-cooking step. The MID (Meat Inspection Division) began to make several changes over a period of time when several instances of contamination were reported. The "rest of the story" is at this link: Please take a look at it to understand why new rules have gone into effect. In the early years of the new century, so many occurrences of disease popped up with retail jerky, that the F.S.I.S. had to make some drastic changes in order to keep a lid on the problem. New rules included pressurized cooking and of course new equipment cost small manufacturers a pretty penny. Smaller, "dried-meat snack" makers simply folded up and went out of business. Today, the last word in safety is "cook it". Even modern jerky has come under the rules. No longer are raw strips simply dried.

Regarding the addition of a culture, one should be aware that when meat is cut and processed, natural bacteria are literally everywhere. Three types of natural bacteria - pathogenic, beneficial, and spoilage. It becomes a race to feed the beneficial bacteria so they will simply outnumber the pathogenic bacteria. This takes a little time. We can put a real edge on the situation if we introduce a truckload of beneficial bacteria via a Bactoferm culture. However, for centuries we had no such thing and depended upon the unreliable numbers and extended time period of "hit and miss" beneficial bacteria. We controlled the development of pathogenic bacteria with salt binding its moisture content but found that it also affects the "good" bacteria. So at best, the "chance" formation of sufficient numbers of lactic acid-producing bacteria such as lactobacillus and pediococcus is a lucky "throw of the dice". But the probable chance IS there!
So, if a person wishes to yet make an uncooked product and further hope that sufficient numbers of natural lactic acid-producing bacteria will take the place of pathogenic bacteria, yes... it is possible to craft a traditional "semi-dry cured" sausage.
Now I ask myself this question: Knowing what I do about cooking and cultures, would I make a "traditionally made" product with antiquated or "out-of-date" procedures. No way! :roll:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 17:41
by grasshopper
Excellent point CW. Stay above the grass.

Posted: Sat May 31, 2014 05:16
by el Ducko
el Ducko wrote:...just in time! My order of stuff to make "Sunrise" Summer Sausage just arrived the other day...
Yup- - ground/mixed/stuffed in fibrous casing on May 19 (learned how to use casing clips). Watched it get darker as it fermented for 60 hours at 75°F, watched it get even darker after smoking in my big Brinkmann vertical smoker for 7 hours with "whiskey barrel" pellets and the Amazin' smoke generator, hung at 40°F to dry for 8 days. 20% weight loss. Tastes great! Even better: wife approves! WooHoo!
This is a great way to get started in fermented sausages.