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Thread: meat drying cabinet

  1. #1
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    Default meat drying cabinet

    I've been making hams and bacon for awhile now and I'm thinking the next step is air dried sausages and hams. With that in mind I've put together a 4'x4'x2' wooden cupboard with a small dehumidifier and bar fridge for cooling. I have a controller that will run them and I'm hoping it will keep the cupboard at the right temp and humidity.I really enjoy salami so that will be the first attempt, wish me luck.If any others here do this sort of thing I'd like to hear about your experiences.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Mmmm, sounds like you could make your own prosciutto, which is both delicious, and normally quite expensive. You go dude.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob (oh, THAT Bob) View Post
    Mmmm, sounds like you could make your own prosciutto, which is both delicious, and normally quite expensive.
    Prosciutto, I think, takes at least six months to air cure and often is hung for a year or two. So it would tie up your curing chamber for some time.

    I made a roll of pancetta, using a surplus powder box, in the wine cellar under the stairs, where the temp is about 60°F and the humidity between 55 and 65% (note the digital thermohygrometer).



    The ice tray was there to boost the humidity, but didn't have much effect. Also to catch drips, but the roll didn't drip. It air-cured for about two weeks.



    Sliced it, laid it on butcher paper, vacuum-packed it, then froze it: a year's supply. Next up is Saucisson Sec, a mild French country-style pork sausage.




    For air-curing, one important bit is to have the right curing compound, which for most ground meats is DQ Curing Salt #2 (contains both nitrates and nitrites.)
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 08-15-2017 at 07:42 PM.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    I have a couple of rocket boxes in storage that look exactly like that, but with the hinge going the other way. Was wondering what to do with them.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    There is a safer way to make Dried sausage and ham. https://www.drybagsteak.com/ The Company is called Umai
    Jim McGee

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    I tried the umai bags,they're very expensive and hard to get a good seal, several of them developed leaks after a week or so. I wasn't impressed.The cabinet is built and the electronics for temp/humid control are here, I have to do a test run to make sure all is working and it's salami here we go!

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    So here's what I have so far, the single bar fridge wouldn't cool things down enough so I added a second one and a small circulation fan It's on a dry run now and the temp has dropped down to 59 from 65 in an hour so far so good. (covers removed for clarity)

    [IMG][/IMG]

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Salami Calabrese started on Sept 11









    Oct 5 it's lost 30% of its orig weight so it's taste time.It has a nice tang and a bit of heat.


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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    I don't think I'd use an ammo box that had been packed with copper, lead, nitro cellulose, nitro glycerin and a whole lot of other active solvents
    The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Allen View Post
    I don't think I'd use an ammo box that had been packed with copper, lead, nitro cellulose, nitro glycerin and a whole lot of other active solvents
    Good point, perhaps, although none of the things you name is a solvent. Thanks—I'll do a search for potential hazards.

    I used the box to age a batch of saucisson sec, a mild, somewhat sweet pork garlic sausage esteemed by blue-collar French folks.

    Here are the fresh links hanging in the box. I had a struggle first with the heavy-duty Cuisinart I've used to chop meat, which did so very unevenly, with long, fibrous strands instead of nice chunks. The strands kept clogging up the cheesy little plastic stuffer that attaches to our KitchenAid mixer.

    Second, I hung the sausages with some touching others. After a while, the drying was uneven and a couple spots of mold (not the good sort) had developed, so I cut them to hang in single strands, straight down, and also gave them a wipe with brine to scotch the mold.



    The air temp was about 55°F ( bit colder than ideal) and with the box hanging open at the top, the humidity was about 65%. After 18 days, they were firm to the touch with a wrinkled skin. I ate one: good. Sliced another and shared it with the Wolf Goddess, with sharp cheese, bread, and red wine: better. Vacuum-packed most of the batch and froze it, which allows it to keep a year or so.



    One effect of vacuum-packing is that it smooths out the wrinkles and gives the skin a shiny look, which I don't like. Below are examples by a real charcutier. They're supposed to be lumpy and rustic looking.



    The salami looks great. What sort of casings did you use? I used the small hog casings that come packed in salt. Great fun to untangle.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    I used 55 mm fibrous casings, they're inedible but peel off easily.I found this sausage site to be really helpful for all things sausage.They claim that a vacuum packed dried sausage will last for over a year in the fridge,no need for freezing.

    link.
    http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic...d751786e#37801

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    We lack the space in our refrigerator to store heaps of sausage long-term. I've read that air-dried/fermented sausage in a proper casing, in a cool dark spot with humidity around 60-65% reaches equilibrium and can be stored for a year or more (which was the traditional method). Given the temp (about 55°) and humidity (about 65%) in the closet under the basement stairs, what I'll probably try next time is hanging the meat to cure and dry without any sort of box, for better air circulation. There's been no problem with drips from either the pancetta or the saucisson sec, which was my original reason for using the box, besides the idea that it would regulate the humidity. But the humidity was too high with it closed, leading me to leave the lid ajar.

    One reason for freezing uncooked meat products is to kill trichinella cysts. Trichinella is practically eliminated in commercial pork, but I suspect is more frequent in "heirloom" free-range pigs. The CDC website suggests the following stuff:

    More on: Fight BAC: Safe Food Handling
    • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling raw meat.
    • Curing (salting), drying, smoking, or microwaving meat alone does not consistently kill infective worms; homemade jerky and sausage were the cause of many cases of trichinellosis reported to CDC in recent years.
    • Freeze pork less than 6 inches thick for 20 days at 5°F (-15°C) to kill any worms.
    • Freezing wild game meats, unlike freezing pork products, may not effectively kill all worms because some worm species that infect wild game animals are freeze-resistant.
    • Clean meat grinders thoroughly after each use.

    To help prevent Trichinella infection in animal populations, do not allow pigs or wild animals to eat uncooked meat, scraps, or carcasses of any animals, including rats, which may be infected with Trichinella.

    https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/trichi...s/prevent.html
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  13. #13

    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    I'm very interested in this, I was stuck with a small I had planned to use as a shop beer cooler but already have a full sized one that's seldom full, I'm planning on adding a temperature control and a humidifier, how much can I fit in the half fridge as opposed to the full or which one to modify. And can I put one weekends concoction with the next batch.

  14. #14

    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    A small refrigerator, sorry

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    The full size one is your best bet. There's a ton of info on the web for the conversion.There's also a good lot of controllers out there. Mine is made by Inkbird and controls temp and humidity at once,inexpensive and effective so far. Having different meats at different drying stages is quite common.I'm finding this to be a really interesting and tasty hobby.

  16. #16

    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    OK the big one it is my googling didn't come up with much on different meats different times,
    Would you recommend a first timer also use something like this

    https://www.sausagemaker.com/bactofe...-p/11-1310.htm

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    As far as the controller goes I'm good I'll just build it.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Lots of dried sausage are fermented, hence the bactotherm. Checkout this sausage site, it's a goldmine of info on this hobby.

    http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/index.php...cbde88bc11a295

    and a good article on making salami from the Len Poli site

    http://lpoli.50webs.com/page0002.htm
    Last edited by cathouse willy; 11-14-2017 at 09:34 PM. Reason: correct a link

  19. #19

    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    http://lpoli.50webs.com/page0002.htm

    Site is awesome thanks for the heads up.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Orange Lonzino.

    Just out of the drying cab.





    sliced and it tastes wonderful.


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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    A coppa and a bresaola just out of the dryer.The bresaola is my favorite of all.....so far.

    bresaola and copa 003.jpg

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    those look delicious... let me know if you feel like mailing some samples my way

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    A coppa and a bresaola just out of the dryer.The bresaola is my favorite of all.....so far.
    I've got a chunk of bresaola hanging now. . .



    . . .along with a roll of ventrèche (French-style air-cured bacon, lower left).



    Your stuff looks really good, Willy. I think the ambient temp (low 50s F) and humidity (low 50%) in my basement closet aren't the best for this sort of aging. Nor am I happy with the ancient meat grinder and KitchenAid plastic stuffer. But we've got a good stock of cured meats now and I'll wait for the new year to re-tool and re-fit.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Chip from what I read your temps are ideal but you could use some more humidity, around 80% rh is what I try for.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    dayum that looks extraordinary
    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    A coppa and a bresaola just out of the dryer.The bresaola is my favorite of all.....so far.

    bresaola and copa 003.jpg
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Willy— what cut of beef did you use for the bresaola? The cross-section looks more like a tenderloin than an eye-round, which is what I used.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Willy— what cut of beef did you use for the bresaola? The cross-section looks more like a tenderloin than an eye-round, which is what I used.
    The recipe called for an eye of round which I couldn't find so I used a regular round roast instead.It seems to work as well.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Froze the ventrèche (French-style air-cured bacon) and sliced it.



    I put a whole slab of pork belly in a mild salt cure, then cut it in thirds: one got peppered and smoked, one just smoked, and the other peppered, rolled and trussed for air-curing: 3 weeks under the stairs. The smoked bacon was excellent. Gave some to the neighbours and they said it was the best they'd ever had. I'll fry up the trim from the ends of the roll tomorrow.
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 11-26-2017 at 11:54 PM.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    This thread makes me hungry.

    Peace,
    Needing The Cure(d Meats On This Thread. In My Belly)

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Good looking bacon,I'm going to try that. How is your bresaola coming?

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    Good looking bacon,I'm going to try that. How is your bresaola coming?
    Think it's probably done. Things dry more quickly in the 50-60% humidity. Here it is when I hung it up, Nov 16th—



    I put a paper bag over it to increase the humidity just a touch. Here it is right now, after ten days–



    The twine binding has loosened up, and it feels quite firm. I'm going to wire an outlet in the closet and experiment with a low-power flat panel heater (150 watts) and a humidifier, to see if I can get a better atmosphere. No rush: we're well-stocked with bacon and salami and chorizo, and suchlike.
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 11-26-2017 at 11:52 PM.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    I've been making hams and bacon for awhile now and I'm thinking the next step is air dried sausages and hams. With that in mind I've put together a 4'x4'x2' wooden cupboard with a small dehumidifier and bar fridge for cooling. I have a controller that will run them and I'm hoping it will keep the cupboard at the right temp and humidity.
    I decided the bresaola was as cured as it was going get, but wasn't happy with it: very dry on the outside and quite moist/rubbery in the center. I think that's owing to low air temp (low 50°Fs) and low humidity (50%). So the dried outer part becomes a shell that insulates the center from the outside air and the air curing process stops.

    We have a 150W flat panel heater that raises the air temp to about 60°F. I tried an old ultrasonic humidifier on the lowest setting, which boosts the water vapor to 62%, but the fine mist coats all nearby surfaces with moisture. So I'm looking for a different way to humidify the space. The smallest size Venta Airwasher, which uses cold-water evaporation and doesn't spew mist, will probably do the trick, but it costs $220.

    Another item: read an interesting piece on commercial salami culture (e.g. Bactoferm) vs. the old-time way.

    Starter bacteria used in salami made by industrial manufacturers are safer, but result in less flavorful dried sausage than the artisanal process.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/s...ore-ipad-share
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Chip this is a very good site for info on air drying meat and all things sausage.http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/index.php
    I set up my cabinet using info from here. All that I read there suggests that your temps are bang on at 55 f but the relative humidity should be near 80%. I use a small ultrasonic humidifier that does the job for me. I control the temp and humidity with an inexpensive unit made by inkbird http://www.ink-bird.com/products-hum...er-ihc230.html. A suggestion from the sausage site says to vacuum pack the bresaola and store in the fridge for a few weeks to let the moisture equalize.It may help some.

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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Thanks. Tried that site and couldn't register. It asks you to type the first and last letters of WEDLINY, which I reckon are W and Y. Then it tells me that's wrong. Rinse and repeat. It also rejects the number validation. After multiple tries, I ran out of patience.
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    Default Re: meat drying cabinet

    Anyhow, I popped the bresaola in the fridge for a few days and today I sliced it as thin as could be managed.



    Given the intensity of the flavour, the thinner the slice, the better. We'll probably have friends for the holidays and I'll do a cheese-and-charcuterie plate.
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