The Weekend's Curing

When a trip to the abattoir, some 18 miles away, isn't called for, we sometimes buy meat from the local wholesalers. The prices are similar, but it's very much caveat emptor - Buyer beware!

I particularly wanted to make some cider cured ham with the cider that Mark from Rockingham Forest Cider gave me. I've started this project twice before. The first time the use of powdered allspice rather than whole coloured the meat black and the second time a fridge failure led to me having to throw the meat away. It's going to work this time - it had better do 'cos I'm beginning to look like a fool! I also wanted to give another go to the hunt beef that had to be thrown away when the fridge failed. It'll be a luxury version this time as rump beef was cheaper than silverside! Don't ask! I didn't!

The cider ham only uses half its weight in brine-cure so I've put it into a vacuum bag and sealed it with no vacuum - that way the meat will be covered with the brine.

Cider ham in cure

I cut the rump through the vac-pac that it came in forgetting that its's two lateral muscles. I'd have been better to split it horizontally rather than vertically. Oh well, I'll know next time!

Rump beef for curing

It will have a two part dry cure, the salt and curing salts have been added. The herbs and spices will follow in 7 days.

Hunt Beef curing

Pauline's a great lover of air-dried meats, so seeing that 2kg skinless loin of pork pieces were going for a song, I bought a piece to make some Lomo - Spanish air-dried eye of the loin. Obviously, this type of meat would normally call for the very best, but I've justified using this cheap meat in my own mind by virtue of the fact that this is a trial recipe. In reality it just smacks of me being a cheapskate! Only the best meat of the eye-of-the-loin is used, all fat and silverskin is removed:

The eye of the loin of pork

The meat is dry cured with smoked paprika:

The lomo in cure

I've also put a small piece of belly of pork to cure as Pancetta, air dried Italian bacon. Really it's just a spiced version of what good UK bacon would be if the industry hadn't chased profit rather than quality!


The next stop's in France with a bacon based loosely on the Gascon cured pork called Ventrèche. When I say loosely, read that as very loosely. Given that Mrs Young wants to know what PC Ventress from the programme Heartbeat has got to do with France, it may get renamed! The other French product is my take on Toulouse sausage, Saucisse de Toulouse. This sausage is the subject of much debate, so whether mine's true to tradition is somewhat dependent on whose version of tradition you read! I've made them both to use in Cassoulet (meat and beans), Petit salé aux lentilles (meat and lentils) and Choucroute garnie (cabbage and meat). Some how the French names sound so much more appetising!

French style bacon and sausage

The pork skin from the belly is currently drying ready to make pork scratchings and we also cooked, sliced and vac-packed a joint of pork to use for sandwiches, apart from that it's been a quiet weekend! Well, except that is for having to get the emergency district nurses out in all that snow on Saturday night, or should I say Sunday morning. Half-past four in the morning's not good at any time, less so in 5 inches of snow. Thanks both and a massive thanks to the volunteer 4 x 4 driver who delivered them safely in his Range-Rover.

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