charcuterie

Shhhh…It’s a Secreto

Secreto

Way back in 2013 on one of our Spain vacations I was lucky enough to discover something on a menu mysteriously called “secreto.” With a mix of Spanish, English, and hand gestures our server told us it was a special pork cut hidden behind the belly. Hence its name. It is not a very common cut we see here in the US, making it even more mysterious. Even after all these years I think I’ve only seen it once on a menu here in Chicago, a city practically built out of pork. So what is it and where can you get it? I am glad you asked. (more…)

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Ducketta – Elevating My Charcuterie Game

duckettaWhat’s a ducketta? I knew you’d ask. It’s my version of farce meat stuffed into or wrapped up in skin and cooked. Actually, it’s more like a zampone (stuffed pig’s trotter) or roulade (farce meat wrapped up in skin) than porchetta but duckpone and duckade just don’t sound as good. (more…)

Culatello and Fiocco – I Am Ham, Ham I Am

Fiocco and CulatelloWhen we returned from our Tuscan vacation back in October I was extra-inspired to try curing new things like salumi and hams. Eating prosciutto all week will do that to you. Inspired, yes, but not quite ready to go whole hog (ha ha ha) and hang an entire leg in my basement. Instead, I opted to cut a ham into two smaller, boneless hams, which would be ready to eat much quicker: the culatello and fiocco. Fiocco being the smaller of the two it came out of the curing fridge this week. (more…)

Homemade Guanciale – So Good!

Homemade GuancialeIf you’ve been following along the past few months you know I’ve been doing a lot of curing and sausage making with lots of different pork cuts. While this isn’t the first time I’ve made guanciale I think the batch which recently emerged from the basement is quite possibly the best I’ve ever made. (more…)

Homemade Cajun Spice Bacon

Cajun baconWhile I make bacon quite often I’m not usually very creative with it. If it’s good and works, why mess with it? However, a friend recently requested some Cajun spice bacon so I felt I needed to do a trial run in order to nail down a new technique. We we were running low on our previous slab of homemade bacon so the timing couldn’t have been better! (more…)

Pork Shoulder Speck: One Result From My November Cold Smoking Experiment

Bonless pork shoulder speckJust before Thanksgiving I cured and cold smoked a boneless pork shoulder and a picnic ham then hung them in my curing fridge in the basement. This past weekend the speck cured shoulder was ready. I was pretty excited to see how it turned out. (more…)

Coppa – Here’s Where Curing Pork Gets Serious

Home cured CoppaCoppa. This is the one where I’ll look back and say ‘that’s where it really began.’ Of all the curing I’ve done in the past year this coppa is my best. I’ve wanted to make some since I first got Salumi but had to learn how to walk first with some smaller, quicker cures. I’m now jogging. As I slowly progress to bigger, more flavorful cuts, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a whole leg hanging in the curing fridge. When that time comes please remember, it began with coppa. (more…)