Chorizo First Timer

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Chorizo First Timer

Postby Morrit » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:11 pm

Hi from the UK.
So several months ago I decided I wanted to try making fermented sausages. Having acquired the relevant technology from an extremely generous and experienced gentleman and a fridge I finally had my curing chamber sorted where I could control humidity and temperature and airflow.

So off I go into making the Chorizo from the River Cottage cookbook. You may know the one but if not here it is :

Ingredients
Makes about 20 medium chorizo
3-4 lengths of beef runner casings
5kg boneless shoulder or hand of free-range pork, with about 20% fat (measured roughly by eye)
1kg cured pork loin
100g PDV salt (i.e. 2% of the weight of the pork shoulder or hand)
125g smoked hot paprika
70g sweet paprika (unsmoked)
15g cayenne pepper
50g fennel seeds, lightly toasted
10 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
12 glasses red wine
Equipment:
Meat mincer
Sausage stuffer
Butchers hooks and string
Meat slicer (optional)

Chorizo
There are probably hundreds of recipes for chorizo. Throughout Spain, and indeed Mexico, families have been handing down their own recipes for generations. The meat is flavoured with a spice mix, usually largely informed by paprika, but which can also include fiery cayenne or naga chilli, which will send it off the Scoville scale (the scale that chilli heat is measured in). This recipe is for a salami-style chorizo, made with a fairly eclectic blend of spices that can be altered to suit your own heat threshold. It also includes pieces of cured loin of pork, which provide a nice contrast, both texturally and visually. Steve has added smoked paprika to the mix, to give it a more subtle smokiness. Alternatively, you could use ordinary paprika and cold-smoke the salami yourself, after it has had 2 weeks or so of normal air-drying.


Method
Soak the casings for at least 2 hours in cold water.
Mince the pork shoulder or hand using the coarse (8–10mm) plate of your mincer and place in a bowl.
Cut the pork loin into small cubes and add to the minced meat with all the other ingredients except the wine.
Mix thoroughly, using your hands, so that the flavourings are well distributed throughout the mixture.
Now add enough wine to bind the mixture (but not too much or it will leach out of the skins later, carrying flavour with it, and also some of the crucial salt).
Pack the mixture into the sausage stuffer and fit a medium nozzle on the end.
Load the casing on to the sausage stuffer, tie the end with string and fill the casing, to form sausages about 30cm long, packing tightly and ensuring there are no air pockets.
Secure the other end of the casing with string.
To begin with, you will need to hang the chorizo in a warm place, ideally 25–27°C, to enable incubation of the bacteria and facilitate fermentation.
After 12 hours in this environment, move the chorizo to your dry-curing spot, which should be between 12 and 18°C with a humidity level of approximately 70% and a constant circulation of air.
Make sure the chorizo are not touching a wall, or each other, and they are not in direct sunlight.
Over the coming weeks, test the pH to ensure it is below 4.5.
Allow 6–10 weeks for the chorizo to cure if you want to eat it raw.
Serve cut into thin slices.
Note: Should you want to, you can cook with the chorizo soon after mixing rather than leave it to cure.
Try crumbling it over fish before baking or putting it into casings and cooking like a sausage to serve with scrambled eggs.
There will be an extra saltiness to it, but not to its detriment.
Just hold back on additional seasonings in the dish you are preparing.

Well, me in my utter naivety decided to forgo the PH testing. Also, you may notice the lack of nitrates and fermentation culture in the recipe. Further... I bought a cheap meat grinder... towards the end I found grey goo coming from the centre screw...cheap tat.

So in my chamber they go, and I start reading a bit here and there about it all. I discover people saying nitrates are a must...fermentation cultures... starter cultures etc etc. I am worried but I think 'sod it I will see how it goes, if it goes wrong then learn from the mistakes.'.
3 weeks later inevitably, green furry mould, white specks of mould and yellow specks of mould. Looking around more I find posts on here where yellow mould and fluffy mould = very very bad. It all smells fine but suffice to say I don't want to go messing with this stuff.

So... back to square 1, so I come to you fine ladies and gentlemen who have vast experience in this...

I have now procured the following :
Beer testing strips for PH
Prague Powder #2
LS25 starter culture
Acidophilus culture in a jar (alternative starter culture)
I have today used a technique I got from here to farm my own white mould culture from a shop bought salami so thats now growing in a jug in the kitchen for the skins.

I have bought a better quality meat grinder, a proper sausage stuffer (in a barrel with a crank).
I'm going to be bleaching the chamber out and giving it a good wash out so none of the nasty spores remain.

I control the humidity by a bowl of water and a teatowel in the bottom, when the humidity reaches over 75 the fan kicks in. Temperature is stable at 12.5, if it drops down to 11 a ceramic heater kicks in, higher than 13 the fridge kicks in.

So... Now I am taking this approach a LOT more seriously... Is there anything else I should know? I also have several questions...

Would it help if I bought a small fan to have a constant air current around the chamber? I'm not overly concerned about the humidity as this is controlled quite easily, the extraction fan works very well in expelling the air and bringing the humidity down again, but my concern is that its not 'draughty' enough.

Fermentation - Am I correct in saying leave at room temp until the ph reaches 5.5 or less (usually around 6-36 hours depending on the culture)?

Drying - Spray the casings liberally with the mould solution over a few days, or soak them in the solution before stuffing.

If there is any mould other than chalky white mould/green mould wipe it down with a vinegar/water solution and spray again.

That's all I can think of at this time, apologies for the lengthy introduction but I just want to know if I am doing this correctly.
Morrit
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby NCPaul » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:48 pm

Welcome to the forum. :D I am very glad you found us and applaud you efforts to make salami in the safest possible way. Regarding the fan - I don't think you will need it; it has usually led to more problems than it has solved. A better pH target would be 5.3; remember to include a bit of dextrose (0.3 %) for your starter culture. For the mold most will either spray or dip after the casings are filled. I prefer to maintain a lower limit of 2.3 % salt when I make salami. I'm looking forward to your results.
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby wheels » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:58 pm

Welcome Morrit,

Just so that I can say something - you don't need to use PDV salt; good rock or sea salt (avoiding additives) is fine. In fact, many would argue that they're to be preferred - I know that the great Maynard Davies recommended not using PDV.

That said, in a chorizo, I doubt that you would notice any difference.

Phil
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Swing Swang » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:12 pm

>That said, in a chorizo, I doubt that you would notice any difference.
I would concur - whilst I like to say that the salt I use is 'flor do sal' that I've personally skimmed from the surfaces of historic pans in the Sado estuary I cannot honestly say that is what defines the flavour in the chourico that I make, and when I run out I reach for the PDV
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Morrit » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:22 pm

Sea salt is pricey in the UK in large quantities. 25kg of pdv salt was about £10
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby wheels » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:31 pm

Sorry, I wasn't trying to start the PDV v other salt debate. Use what you feel comfortable with. I was just letting you know that you can use other salt if you want.

FWIW, sea salt doesn't have to be pricey in the UK. Granted UK sea salt is, but sack's of French or Israeli salt are not much more expensive than PDV. To be honest, unless you're curing commercially, the cost of salt for most home-projects is negligible.
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Swing Swang » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:38 am

>but sacks of French or Israeli salt are not much more than PDV.

Thanks for this. Who supplies this as it's something that I hadn't considered? Also not wanting to fuel the PDV debate either but it reallt is too fine for a traditional Serrano ham and I'm guessing that the big bags of sea salt will be suitably coarse.
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Morrit » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:56 am

I've got a 3kg pork chump on the bone in a box of pdv salt at the moment. I like it as it's nice and fine but for salmon I think I would prefer sea salt as the coarser grains match the size of the sugar I use. I will have a look for sacks of sea salt. I mean... its all the same sea really!!

As for the curing chamber itself... The fan is more for occasional air circulation. Was planning on putting it on a timer to come on a few times a day at random intervals. There is still an extraction/intake system. The main fan extracts the air when it gets too humid. I just want to have a nice gentle breeze. The skins will be dipped in culture as well first off. I plan to start the process this weekend. The skin culture is bottled and being kept at room temp to maximise the growth. I'm in hospital today having a 'procedure' so would have done this sooner were it not for that.
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby wheels » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:34 pm

I'd be careful with a fan. I only had a very small 25mm computer fan in my larder-fridge curing chamber, but it caused case hardening.

Also, it doesn't always solve the problem of high humidity. That depends on the humidity of the air around the fridge that's introduced when air is extracted. Bear in mind that the RH of this air will increase as it is cooled by the fridge.

Swing Swang - I get mine from the local whole foods shop. I don't know what firms charge to deliver. But you could try:

http://www.peacocksalt.com/

http://www.realfoods.co.uk/product/1007/sea-salt-coarse

http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/cgi-loc ... t_1kg.html

https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/n ... -bulk.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_nos ... s=sea+salt

HTH

Phil
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Morrit » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:33 pm

The main fan extracts moist air so kicks in if rh gets too high. It's stays very stable so it only rarely kicks in. If anything it's just to move the internal air around... If it's a bad idea I will avoid it. I would set it to go for about 5 minutes every few hours to circulate it inside (like a breeze) if that makes sense. Obviously the extraction system will stay in place as well. I also purchased a USB humidifier... dunno if that will help. Again... come on for 5 minutes every few hours...
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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby wheels » Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:31 pm

If it's working OK with no case-hardening, I'd leave well alone.

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Re: Chorizo First Timer

Postby Morrit » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:42 pm

I dont know as my last lot has fluffy green and yellow mould all over it... makes me think it may have gotten too moist as there is condensation forming on the walls inside too. I will see how it goes with the farmed culture though as I will spray it all around the chamber as well. Give it a good headstart. ..If it gets fluffy green mould again I will wipe them off and increase the air circulation.. see how it goes from there. If it stays white the success!!
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