Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby MarkD51 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:22 pm

My questions are in regards to remembering the old school Italians making and air curing a basic air dried-cured Italian Sausage.

I witnessed such being made a good number of times in my past, very simple minimal recipes, basically all I ever seen them use, was Salt, Pepper, Fennel, and maybe Hot Pepper for a Hot Sausage, nothing more.

Then prick, tie up, hang in some cool/cold ventilated part of the "Bash-A Ment", tend to, and basically wait 4-6 weeks.

I know you folks in the wise here would say this could be a quite dangerous method, hit or miss dependent upon a number of factors. But probably one way of how it was commonly done in the distant past, there were no other methods, or products.

So, may I ask this:

I'd assume the correct, and safer way would be to include a cure in such recipes, likely #1 Cure in the required amount? Does such Cures impart their own characteristic flavor quality which may or can change the flavor character of such a basic air dried Sausage which I'm seeking to replicate?

Thanks folks!
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby NCPaul » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:50 am

Use cure #2 when making air dried salami along with a fermentation culture. There is a strange myth that the way you describe produces a superior product, I don't believe it does, they're just extra happy they didn't kill themselves.
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby vinner » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:30 pm

Most cures use salt as the primary carrying agent to allow the nitrates/nitrites to evenly distribute through the meat you will be aging. but the percentage of cure you will be using (if done correctly) will not be adding appreciably more salt to the product, so should not alter the taste. The cures will alter the color in the sense that it will keep your final product the beautiful red that the myosin in the meat starts out with.

Be sure to use the correct cure (#1 for shorter aging times and #2 for longer times). That way you will live to taste more dried products!!!!
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby MarkD51 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:59 pm

Perhaps I'm posting this entire thread in the wrong place, but still, it pertains also to Chacuterie as a whole, those that are basically air dried, and also including sausages as well.

After so many years of sampling Charcuterie, and Dried Sausages, Pepperonis, etc., I'm concluding that all, short of something like imported Parma Hams, all taste basically like crap.

They all seem to miss the mark and fall short in comparison to homemade versions in one or more qualities of which I speak about earlier.

The flavors are off, the meats and sausages are often so hard, you need a hacksaw to cut them.

I'll take a guess that such is all in the interest of public health and safety of what is made and sold.

As an example, I was given a large Soppressata about 6 weeks ago from a friend of mine, the sole ingredients he told me, were Pork, Salt, Paprika, that's it! No cures, no curing, just air drying. And nope, we didn't get sick, and was just about the best I've ever eaten in 64 years on this planet.

Again on the other hand, I've yet to taste anything commercially made that can even remotely compare. Why is that?

I've yet to understand and be convinced by those in the "know" that how for hundreds of years, nobody ever used "cures" of any sort, only salt. That this was how it was done, there were no other ways.
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby MarkD51 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Perhaps what I'm not understanding, is that it's not perhaps a cure in a commercial bought product that's negatively influencing the flavor and texture-hardness, but some other process being used?

Seeking enlightenment is all, of those who make such to further comment.
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby NCPaul » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:56 pm

You made almost the same comments six years ago. Not using cure #2 in salami removes an important safety hurdle. Not doing a fermentation with a culture removes another safety hurdle. I personally wouldn't trade safety for taste nor would I advise others to do so.
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby NCPaul » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:53 am

After thinking about it, I would also say that commercial producers grind whole shoulders with little trimming. If you chew commercial products slowly (and even many home produced products), you will end up with wad of connective tissue. I find this to be the biggest difference between good and bad salami.
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby MarkD51 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:43 pm

Yes, I know I've asked similar questions before.
I'm only guessing about this, but I'm thinking with the style I'd be wishing to make, like the old-world style dried Italian Sausage (Not technically something like Genoa Salami) that yes, a cure would probably be wise, and not impart a undesirable flavor-character..

But, I'm thinking that a starter culture and fermentation may be the thing that I'm not desiring, that such would change-alter the flavor, giving such that "vinegary" flavor to the meat.

So, could one possibly omit a starter culture with fermentation first, and go immediately to hanging-drying immediately after stuffing and tying at a cool temperature without danger?
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Re: Do Cures effect or impart a flavor?

Postby wheels » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:15 am

To me, it's whether you can pass the safety hurdles doing this. If you can achieve the pH, or the Aw, or the combination of both that makes a safe product then I'm all for it. pH can be determined easily and at a sensible cost, but Aw? I'm not convinced that other than expensive equipment can assess that.

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