It will come as no surprise to those of you who have been following the blog that one of our favorite cookbooks is Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. When we got the book it was like receiving a personal invitation into the world of magical meats transformed by salt and smoke. It is a comprehensive guide to the subject, easy enough for a beginner to use, and everything we have made from it thus far has been fantastic.
These are a few of our favorite recipes from the book. If you click on a picture or recipe title, you can view a more detailed post on the subject.
The first time we made homemade bacon it was a revelation. It looked beautiful, tasted even better, and wasn't at all hard to make.
Ever since that first batch, we've been making all of the bacon we eat. No comment on how much that is...
Not a cheese at all, but rather a pig-face terrine of sorts. Great stuff, whether served as a nice warm slice, or cold on toast.
As an added bonus, the leftover gelatinous stock that you get as a byproduct makes a good base for a take on Pho'.
This was the first recipe we ever made out of Charcuterie. It just requires a simple cure and can dry under conditions that do not require special equipment (or a cellar).
Making pancetta is a perfect way to get started curing your own meats.
We have always loved making sausages, but these were our first ones cooked in the smoker and they remain one of our favorites.
The deep, intense flavor is great all by itself, but it really shines as an ingredient in other dishes (Jambalaya, anyone?)
We've made both cold and hot-smoked salmon from recipes in the book and both have turned our really nicely.
The cure has allspice, bay leaf, cloves and mace. Initially we were a bit skeptical of using such bold flavors, but paired with a mild smoke they work well.