Showing posts with label Lonzino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lonzino. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Tyrolean Lonzini

Christmas is fast approaching, so I've been hard at work crafting things. I put two lonzini into the curing chamber a couple of weeks ago. I really hope they are ready in time as I am planning as giving them as gifts!

My other Christmas gifts ready to go

I used the recipe from Scott of the sausage debauchery fame. He doesn't go into details as to specific amounts on his blog, so I just free-styled (recipe below; I used a mix of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg as a substitute for allspice). One was cased in a beef bung, the other was left uncased and cold smoked twice (12 hours a time) in a mixture of roughly 50/50 oak and apple. So i guess that technically it's a speck: although it should probably have a thicker covering of fat to qualify. I was really hoping to smoke it four times, but the smoker has been having trouble in the sub-zero temperatures we've had this week - it burned about one-quarter of the way round each time, then went out. I persevered, but gave up after the 8th time.

Here's the recipe that I used:

Tyrolean Lonzino (all credit to Sausage Debauchery)


Ingredient Weight (%)
Pork loin
100%
Salt
3.3%
Cure #2
0.25%
Rosemary
1.0%
Cinnamon
0.1%
Nutmeg
0.1%
Cloves
0.1%

The cure was mixed up and applied to the loin (90% to the meat, 10% on the fat). The meat was put into a ziplock bag, sealed and left to cure for 10 days. One was cased in a beef bung (see the spicy lonzino post), the other was smoked before hanging. Fingers crossed they're ready in time.

Ready for Christmas?


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Spicy lonzino results

Last week I cut open the spicy lonzino but I've only just got round to updating the blog. It had lost just over 30% of its weight when I took it out of the chamber. Feast your eyes on its meaty glory:

Not the greatest photo. Sorry.
It looks pretty good (ignoring the dubious photography), wouldn't you agree? It is pretty spicy, I got a chilli flake on the third bite that I wasn't expecting, but not ridiculously so. It tastes much better than previous lonzino attempts. I think that the longer hanging period (because it was much larger than ones I've done before) really helps to develop the flavour.

So, success then? Well, all is not as it seems. I mentioned in a previous post that my cured meats (particularly the salami) have been drying faster than the underpants on Satan's washing line. The same thing has happened to this lonzino: quite a bit of case hardening. In fact, the central one-third was still a bit too soft and won't be eaten. There was also a little bit of green mould growth on one end (where the casing had come away from the meat); hopefully this will be less of a problem in future now that I have a mould culture to apply to the outside before things go into the chamber.

The case hardening is almost certainly due to the fan at the back of the wine fridge. The fridge is Peltier cooled, so it needs a fan to move the air inside over the heat exchanger. If you disconnect the fan (which I have tried) the heat exchanger doesn't work properly and the chamber heats up. I can think of two possible ways forward:
  1. Hook up the existing fan/a new fan so that it can be controlled independently;
  2. Add an air diffuser to reduce the air flow 
I've decided to go with option 2 mainly because it's cheaper and simpler. I bought some muslin, wet it, and hung it over the rack in the back of the chamber like a curtain. The ends sit in a seed tray that is filled with water. I spent a few days moving the muslin diffuser back and forth to block the air flow from the fan and seeing how it affected the conditions inside; I seem to have it down now. The addition of the seed tray means that the diffuser also acts like a wick, drawing moisture that is then evaporated by the fan. So far, this has meant the relative humidity has stayed pretty stable. Time will tell I guess.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Pancetta and Lonzino

Bacon hanging in the smoker
The smoking was a success! The pancetta smoked for just shy of 24 hours in a mixture of cherry and oak, roughly 50:50. I was slightly concerned that the neighbours would wonder what the hell was going on on my balcony; luckily the smoker doesn't produce that much smoke at all. I had a bit of trouble getting it lit initially, but once it was going it ran without a hitch.



I wrapped it in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for 2 days before I tried it. It smelled very smoky - almost like a speck or air-dried schinken (betraying my German ancestry there). So what does it taste like? Pretty good! The smoke flavour is strong, but not overly so. I might reduce the smoking time to two burns of the ProQ rather than three; but it's pretty good as it is. I'll definitely have to experiment with different times and different woods. I'm going to make some 'English' loin bacon this week, I've got some oak and hickory to try out.

Obligatory 'arty' shot

Like I said in a previous post I've just got back after being away with work for a couple of weeks. During that time the small lonzino I had hanging reached the magic weight loss of 30%. Sadly I wasn't arround to take it out. When I eventually got back it was pushing 35-40% weight loss. I didn't have high hopes as a couple of weeks before I'd noticed the top had dried much faster than the bottom. If anything it was too dry, very solid to the touch. Maybe I should start rotating them end over end every week. Does the moisture inside sink to the bottom under gravity I wonder? Or, more likely, is the fan at the top of my cabinet just drying the top of the meat faster? Whatever it might be I put the lonzino in a bag and put it into the fridge in the hope that the moisture would somehow re-distribute itself. Then I promptly forgot about it. 

The money shot

I re-discovered the lonzino this weekend whilst sorting through the fridge for something to snack on. I saw it huddled at the back like it was trying to escape my notice. On closer inspection one end was slightly dry, but cutting through the middle it's beautiful: not too salty, with a slight taste of juniper and hint of bay. Nom.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Spicy Lonzino

(The casing of the Leviathan)

Before I take the plunge and cure a full-on pork leg (which is always the dream), I thought I'd try something a bit less demanding. The charcuterie equivalent of the shallow end if you will. Lonzino – cured pork loin – seemed like the perfect choice. So I had a go and it worked well, it was porky and junipery, slightly salty, and extremely delicious. I wanted to make some more. As luck would have it, I was in Waitrose at the weekend and I picked up a two kilogram pork loin on offer for half price. Challenge accepted!

I thought I'd aim for a slightly spicy lonzino this time. Not 'makes grown men cry and destroys all life within a 2-mile radius' spicy, but something with a little bit of fire in its belly. A Google search turned up a few recipes, the authors of which all concluded, "it's not really as spicy as I wanted". Most of these recipes involved rolling the loin in chili powder or cayenne before casing in a beef cap. In his blog, Jason at Cured Meats suggested adding the chilli powder to the cure to infuse some heat, in addition to coating before hanging. That sounded like it was worth a try. As I don't have a smoker yet (though Adam over at The Sausage Jockey has found a good bit of kit), I also thought I'd add some smoked paprika to add an extra dimension. Here is the recipe I came up with (the ingredients are given as a percentage weight of the pork loin).

Spicy Lonzino

Ingredient Weight (%)
Pork loin
100%
Salt
3.3%
Cure #2
0.25%
Black pepper
1.0%
Oregano
0.15%
Paprika
0.1%
Smoked paprika (hot)
0.1%
Cayenne pepper
0.1%



All the ingredients were mixed together and pressed onto the loin to cover it. The coated loin and any cure that didn't stick were put into a zip-lock bag, sealed, and put into the fridge to cure for 10 days. Every other day I flipped the bag over to allow the extracted liquid to move around and massaged the cure through the bag.


After 10 days I removed the loin from the bag. I washed the majority of the cure off, dried it off with paper towels and set on a rack to dry for 2–3 hours. I also took my beef cap out and cut it to about 4" longer than the loin. The cap was then rinsed to remove the salt, and left it to soak in a bowl of water while the pork was drying.

Timmy wasn't too keen on
his new football socks 

When the pork was dry I dredged it all over with cayenne pepper so that it was completely covered. I then added some chili flakes for good measure (about 2 teaspoons). Next came the hardest part: stuffing a 2.5 kg pork loin into the beef cap. The beef cap is shown on the right. They're pretty stretchy, but even so, it was a mighty struggle. I took some photos during the process, but they honestly look like scenes from a slasher movie. Keep at it, you'll get there eventually. I think it took me a good 10–15 min before victory was mine.
The cased Leviathan

The last thing to do was to tie the loin up. Both ends were tied off with bubble knots, and the loin tied along its length, as you would with a roast. This has to be done as tightly as you can. The final step was to prick any air bubbles in the casing with a sterilised needle (heat a needle until red hot; it should sizzle the first time you poke it into the meat). The loin was then hung at room temperature for 36 hours. The casing begins to dry and shrinks tightly around the meat; you can see than the casing has turned translucent. The loin was then weighed and hung in the curing chamber. It should be ready when it's lost around 30% of its starting weight.