Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby Steven_B » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:42 pm

While selling me a massive piece of topside for turing into bresaola, my butcher offered to vac-pack some of it for me (once it's cured and dried) so that I could eat it over a reasonable period (instead of gorging on it).

Any experience or advice on how long a fully-cured muscle might last under vacuum?

I'm assuming it's a long, long time...
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:10 pm

The FSA have a fact sheet on just that:

http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/fi ... ck0708.pdf

I hope this helps.

Phil
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby Steven_B » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:15 pm

Thanks Phil,

Unfortunately, it doesn't really answer my question... it just says that you can increase shelf life beyond 10 days if one or more hurdles are employed.

But how much longer than 10 days..?

"...it is recommended that you seek advice from, for example, a food research association".
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:55 pm

Ah, sorry I hadn't noticed that. I know that Campden BRI publish guidance etc, but it costs - £90 for non-members.

There's also this FSA one:

http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/fi ... cguide.pdf

I don't think that it offers much more help though. Commercially, the onus is on the producer to show that it's safe, not the other way around.

I know that members have kept air dried stuff in the piece for absolutely ages - well over a year. Your Bresaola would also keep perfectly well in the piece (probably even without refrigeration), but that doesn't help when your butcher is being kind enough to slice it. I'd have thought that a well made vac-packed sliced Bresaola should be OK for quite a while though if refrigerated. What does your butcher think?

I'm loathe to suggest it, but I have frozen sliced Bresaola in vac-packs - it's more successful than you may think.

Sorry not to be more help.

Phil
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby Steven_B » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:50 pm

The plan wasn't to slice it, just to vac a portion.

Anyway... I decided not to cure the whole piece today. I cut it into two (plus some off-cuts to cook up as a stew) and put one in the freezer. I realised it's probably not wise to commit 3Kg to my first attempt with beef (having read something on your Heroes blog about having some failures with beef).

So, the piece that went to cure this evening was 1.4kg. Quite a simple cure: salt, sugar, #2, pepper, fresh rosemary and juniper berries.

Now I'm off to dismember a pig's shoulder... need to extract the coppa muscle and then rest of it is for salami along with some belly from the same beast.

The butcher was very kind... flung in a goodly load of fat trimmings and four cheeks gratis.

The cheeks will become guanciale and the fat trimmings will keep me sorted for balancing salami lean/fat for some time.

Up until recently, I've been focussed on pancetta, guanciale (and smoked salmon) but now that the curing chamber is set-up and running nicely I can expand the repertoire :O)
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby Steven_B » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:52 pm

Re above: doing a smaller piece means there's not such a concern about storing it once it's ready.

When your bresaola is ready, do you move it out of the curing chamber for storage elsewhere or just keep it in there?
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:47 pm

It's up to you, it'll be fine at 12°C, but will dry more. I usually wrap it in greaseproof/baking paper and store it in the fridge.

I know that others vac-pac. It's up to you.

Your butcher's a wise man: he knows that you'll keep coming back if he treats you right!

Phil
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby crustyo44 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:09 pm

Steven,
I have vac packed Bresaola, Coppa and a whole range of cured/dried goodies. I do cut it in manageable pieces for obvious reasons and keep it all in the refrigerator for up to 6 months and sometimes longer.
Personally I can say that the quality did NOT suffer at all and the flavour does intensify some more.
This is also applicable to the smoked bacon I make, incidentally I EQ cure everything I dry.( 2% salt, cure, favourite spices). The last lot of cured and smoked belly bacon I made was 2% salt including the cure.
My blood pressure loves it. Robert Goodrick is the EQ curing guru, his advise is always reliable.
Good Luck,
Jan.
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby wheels » Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:48 pm

Robert (Brican) isn't just a guru when it comes to bacon; after too many years to remember in the butchery trade, there's not much to do with meat that he's not a guru of. We chat online often.

Regrettably, the past twice we've planned to meet, I've ended up on bed rest, so we've yet to get the pint we promised each other.

Phil
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby crustyo44 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:56 pm

Phil,
Take a holiday on the Canadian West Coast, flying is cheap nowadays as well. It certainly will be an experience meeting up with the old fart!!! I bet I will receive an email from Brican about this remark!!!
Cheers,
Jan.
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby wheels » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:41 pm

Oh how I'd low to. Regrettably, I don't think that it's possible. We'll get that pint. Robert's daughter lives nearby, so it's just a case of my health being OK when Robert's visiting. :D :D

Phil
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby Shuswap » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:15 pm

crustyo44 wrote:Phil,
Take a holiday on the Canadian West Coast, flying is cheap nowadays as well. It certainly will be an experience meeting up with the old fart!!! I bet I will receive an email from Brican about this remark!!!
Cheers,
Jan.

How about you Jan? Love to see you here in beautiful British Columbia
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby BriCan » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:41 am

wheels wrote:Robert (Brican) isn't just a guru when it comes to bacon; after too many years to remember in the butchery trade, there's not much to do with meat that he's not a guru of. We chat online often.


Most humbled by your words :oops:

Regrettably, the past twice we've planned to meet, I've ended up on bed rest, so we've yet to get the pint we promised each other.


Your health will always come first although the first time I was very disappointed but on the trip home I realized the circumstances and will await the time that we can sit and have that pint
But what do I know
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby BriCan » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:43 am

crustyo44 wrote:Phil,
Take a holiday on the Canadian West Coast, flying is cheap nowadays as well. It certainly will be an experience meeting up with the old fart!!! I bet I will receive an email from Brican about this remark!!!
Cheers,
Jan.


Nah, I'll just do it ear ;)

Still waiting for you to get on your orse and make it over this way :)
But what do I know
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Re: Shelf life for vacuum-packed cured meats..?

Postby BriCan » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:52 am

wheels wrote:Oh how I'd low to. Regrettably, I don't think that it's possible. We'll get that pint. Robert's daughter lives nearby, so it's just a case of my health being OK when Robert's visiting. :D :D

Phil


One of these days :)
But what do I know
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