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Everything posted by Smokehowze

  1. Here are the Excel files 1-Smokehowze Beef Loaf (Chuck Roast) (V3 5-1-20).xlsx 1-Smokehowze Boiled Ham (Pork Butt) (V3 5-1-20).xlsx 1-Smokehowze Chicken Ham (V3 5-1-20).xlsx
  2. In response to a number of inquiries... Here are 3 ideas for formed and pressed meat cold cuts ... "Boiled" Beef Loaf (using chuck), "Boiled Ham" using pork butt, "Chicken" Ham (using thighs and breast meat). I have probably tweaked these making different batches but I lost some computer files and do not have the full track record. So I cannot say these are my optimized recipes. Sometimes it is good with just meat, salt and pepper and any usual flavors like the Cure #1, sugar and smoke for the ham , for example. A beef loaf could eliminate the Cure #1 and have a very different profile (less like a variant of a summer sausage profile). Or add olives or other things that make sense in a final gentle mix (or literally by hand), but make their ratio high enough to be tasted in the end product but low enough amount to still allow the meat to bind. Since no grinder is needed and just basic apparatus (could even use a large pineapple or tomato juice can - make sure to use the cooking bag liner and even rocks in a zip lock bag for weight) it makes for easy food experimenting. Fun with the kids, also. The key idea is "lean" meat and no or very little fat as the fat will not let the protein fully develop to "glue" the meat together. If needed some sort of binder in moderation. This is easy enough to do so you can make a small batch to evaluate your personal seasoning/flavor profile before committing to a larger batch. And the smaller batch cooks quicker in sous vide bath or in an equivalent monitored pot of water at right temp on stove. With the press/mold no vacuum bag is needed. I have also done oven baked versions (basically the chicken loaf) but we did not like them as well. But you can try that also. Just make sure all the apparatus is oven safe. The spices & seasonings seem to come though more in this approach in the final product than in making sausage especially in meat like chicken/turkey. So go easy on the seasonings and adjust in next batches. Attached are the spreadsheets and pdf file also of the spreadsheets. The spreadsheets offer Percentages based calculations off the meat weight so the batches might be more readily scaled for both the meat block weight and seasoning (%)adjustments. All my sausage and other similar recipes use a percentage based spreadsheet of the ingredients. Amazing how little a % of a seasoning will come though in final meat products for this or sausage.. The bologna requires, to some extent much more involvement in the preparation phase, as one must make an emulsion (meat paste) and not over-warm the meat during the emulsifying stage or the fat component required in a bologna will smear and one can easily kill (burn up) a food processor doing this as the mixture becomes a very very stiff batter. The formed and pressed meats do not go to that extreme required for an emulsified cold cut. That is why the formed and pressed meats are many times generically referred to as a "..... ham" variant - I suppose after the original approach of a boiled ham pork product. So experiment and have fun with the resulting sandwiches. Enjoy! 1-Smokehowze Beef Loaf (Chuck Roast) (V3 5-1-20).pdf 1-Smokehowze Boiled Ham (Pork Butt) (V3 5-1-20).pdf 1-Smokehowze Chicken Ham (V3 5-1-20).pdf
  3. Another operational point on a thermocouple based system. While the thermocouple sensor itself can have wide application range based on the dissimilar metals used in its construction (i.e. the (range of the probe) a real practical issue in its application comes back to how one gets from the microvolts electrical signal generated by the thermocouple sensor to a "temperature" reading. A major consideration for a thermocouple measuring implementation (in the typical measurement applications and also in the case of a controller) is the reference "cold junction" that the thermocouple output is compared to in order to establish the temperature by way of a comparison math calculation. This reference in a lab setting, for example, was a ice bath. The details - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermocouple In electronic thermocouple implementations, the reference "cold junction" is a silicon chip equivalent of an ice bath reference (32 degrees F). Hence, most thermocouple based thermometers are not functionally accurate below freezing (being designed most often to measure things above freezing (0 degrees C) into very high heat ranges when the measuring unit (and the reference junction) is outside with the probe in the sub-freezing ambient temperatures - as obviously the electronic reference junction physically being at the electronic equivalent of O degrees C (32 F) is outside the design and calibration range. Think of a reference ice bath being outside in -20 degree F environment when it is supposed to be at 32 degrees. The probe is fine, its the reference system. I have controllers that require thermocouple sensor based probes on my outdoor electric oven smoker conversions and on those sub-freezing mornings/days I have to play calibration offset games in the controller settings as the ambient temperature changes over time until the measuring system (i.e , the ambient temperature of the controller unit) gets above freezing. Same for some of my thermocouple based multi-channel data logging thermometers. Put the whole thing in the freezer and garbage readings... Put the probe in the freezer and the measurement system in room ambient above 32 degrees and no issues. So if you are planning on the controller for cooks at sub-freezing ambient temperatures for the controller and its internal measurement system, well you do not want a thermocouple based system.
  4. yumm yumm yumm .. it is the waiting that is the tough part! I still every now and then do some of the simple cheese you had posted over the years. Since you have to wait on your nicely aged product, you should try my New Orleans Creole Cream Cheese to tide you over, by itself or in a homemade ice cream. See this link for the cream cheese and the ice cream recipes.
  5. I use this as a side table sauce and even as a finishing sauce on the pulled pork (use sparingly as finishing sauce (to taste) - enough mixed in with the batch of pulled pork to add some brightness/flavor accent but not turn it into a batch of pulled pork with heavy wet sauce all over it) Smokehowze’s Spicy BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork This sauce work well with pulled pork. It is especially good as a side sauce for pulled pork reheated out the freezer. It is spicy/flavorful but not too much heat. Increase the red pepper flakes if you like it hotter. Decrease cane syrup for more vinegar bite. I have two columns below for batch sizes (Hint --make the larger batch...) · 2/3 cup cider vinegar or 1 cup · 2/3 cup ketchup or 1 cup · 3 Tbs Steens Brand cane syrup or 4.5 Tbs (adjust to final taste) · 2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or 3 tsp · 1 tsp coarse grind black pepper or 1.5 tsp Add all ingredients into small sauce pan and heat slowly to a low boil stirring quite frequently. Cook for a few minutes to meld ingredients. May be cooled and used immediately. For best flavor, allow to cool and mature in fridge overnight. I prefer the Steens (a Louisiana product) but you can substitute any rich flavored cane syrup. Other ideas.... Also, how is your smoke profile?. I keep a light smoke on mine the whole cook - pecan or pecan-hickory mix. There is a school of thought that smoke only matters in the first few hours but I personally do not subscribe to that theory based on results. I also make my own rubs so I can control the flavor independent of the salt. And if need touch up on salt level after pulling and/or after using the finishing sauce. As noted, I generally find 205 or even 208 to 210 internal depending on the meat is the better temp to remove from smoker. I do NOT foil wrap during the cook as like you indicated I do not like the steamed bark as the moisture is trapped. I like to cook these at 250 to 275 smoker temperature (more or less). Even up to 300. I do double wrap in foil (after off the smoker) with a thermometer probe and then in a large towel and let rest to mature. I do note that the bark is not deteriorated by such a rest but that flavor grows as the meat equalizes. Be sure to pull it while still hot - like 150 to 180 at least for the best pull. I have also done the uncoated "peach" butcher paper wrap on the pork during the cook (after it is well into the stall and the bark is nicely set) and then at the end off the smoker overwrap in with the butcher paper still on in a layer of foil to cool and mature as above. The paper breathes and also absorbs the some of the fat coming out of the pork and as it is near then end of the cook that is OK.
  6. Looks tasty. Pretty on the plate also. Seem like a lot of us may be doing the "cook with what I have on hand" meals. However, if the cook looks too tasty we may have to restrict the postings as unfair to those of us that cannot get the same/similar ingredients. We have a definite shortage of chicken and pork butt. However, I did run across two 11 lb+ prime brisket flats at Costco on my last supply run today for the next couple of weeks at only $2.99 a pound. And this Costco does not normally stock any brisket. Stay safe! Oh PS. My wife wants her placemats back.
  7. Here is one for a Beef Cotto - similar ingredients to yours already. Using the gram weight and percentages is the more accurate approach over the volume measurements which are there as the "well how much might I need for X grams". It is also more easily scaled with the % factors. This is 6 mm (1/4 inch) grinder plate using single grind. For the corn syrup solids(CSS) you could probably use dextrose or clear Karo syrup at a moderately adjusted rate. Maybe 80% of the calculated amount of CSS if using dextrose or alternatively 10% more if using the Karo. Let me see what else I can find in the way of recipes. Want to try some homemade cold cuts? I was going to do a batch of my hot Italian sausage this weekend but still no pork butts easily found in the stores. Guess it is in same category as toilet paper. But I did score two 11 lb prime brisket flats at my Costco for $2.99 a pound ! BEEF COTTO SALAMI Beef Chuck Roast 5.83 lbs 2644.4 grams % of meat weight Pickling Salt (Morton) 9.00 tsp 56.8 grams 2.15% Cardamon 1.63 tsp 3.4 grams 0.12% Ground Coriander 1.12 tsp 2.0 grams 0.07% Garlic -Granulated 2.01 tsp 7.8 grams 0.21% Cracked Black Pepper 5.25 tsp 17.5 grams 0.66% Whole Black peppercorns 5.25 tsp 19.5 grams 0.74% Corn Syrup Solids 0.32 cup 56.0 grams 2.40% Non Fat Dry Milk 1.17 cup 110.3 grams 4.17% Prague Powder #1 (pink salt) 1.17 tsp 6.6 grams 0.25% Cold Water 1.25 cup
  8. If you are handy with tools and have the equipment..... it would be possible to cut a disk out of aluminum sheet (1/16 thick) and then on the slicing blade side of the new round disk JB Weld an appropriate nut to terminate a length of 5/16 threaded rod. The rod would extend through the blade hub out the bottom rear of the machine like the original rod and as it exits at the bottom have a larger diameter fender washer and wing nut for (gentle) tightening to avoid popping the JB Weld joint. Between the rear of the new disk there would need to be washers and/or a nut (or equivalent spacer disc of the right diameter and length (and shaped to center and maintain the disk alignment in the center of the bore). The spacer must perform two functions 1) center and hold the disk in alignment inside the inset of the blade , and 2) space the disk properly from the arbor hub to align inside the concave blade. The spacing is approx 3/8 in standoff behind the cover plate and the stationary blade arbor. The amount of standoff would be adjusted to set the top (outer) surface of the cover disk at the correct alignment with blade. The arbor end has square shaped hole and the "nut" on the rear of the factory cover is sized for the outer dimensions of the factory nut assembly on rear of the cover plate to match the square arbor alignment hole. You can make a matching square alignment "washer" out of a hardwood or plastic block drilled through. Or, if lucky you might just find a square 5/16 nut (stack up as many as needed) of the right outside dimensions to fit (may with some file work). Alternately mold JB Weld around the shaft and grind/file it to the necessary matching centering square. Or better yet, combine the ideas and if nuts are undersized, stack them up and JB Weld over then and then shape. such an assembly would also be adjustable on the threaded shaft. Lots of possibilities. The trick is that the cover disk is there to provide a uniform surface for the meat on the slicer to pass over across the center blade area on both sides (coming & going) - so that the meat does not "catch" on any "lips" in the small gap space between the disk edge and the top inner side of the blade cutting edge. So if you are handy... i think you can get to a working slicer in a reasonable manner. And yes, parts are expensive on any and all slicers - if you can find them. A sharpener is most probably going to be a problem to find reasonable. But with GREAT CARE and the proper sized stone I think one might be able to access the normal sharpener area and touch up the blade. Which is single side sharpened and just honed on the opposite side edge of the blade. NEVER GET YOUR FINGERS OR OTHER BODY PARTS (LIKE ARM) NEAR THE BLADE EDGE, STATIONARY OR TURNING. INSERT THE USUAL DISCLAIMERS.... Regardless, if you get it going, you need to fashion a guard for the sharpener area as the missing sharpen leaves a dangerous exposure of the blade edge. Hope this give you some ideas that are way cheaper than $1000
  9. I see, smell (imagined !), and taste (imagined !) that you were eating good in the 'hood...Beautiful meats.
  10. Thanks. Oh, not to mention the "juice" left in the jar either in liquid form, cooled off a bit after removal from the bath, or chilled to a jelly is delicious... and of course the liquid is a great health food ! One of my favorite bonuses of the straight sided or tapered mason jar method. One challenge with the jars is packing it tight to avoid air pockets in the finished product. I see from your result you mastered that. You need to make some pressed meat cold cuts next. Especially a "cured" beef loaf using chuck roast. Or a "cured" & "boiled" ham loaf using pork butt. I can post my starting point recipes if you are interested.
  11. Now you are making me hungry! Glad some of the ideas were useful.
  12. You would really need to have a wiring diagram to do it correctly and safely. And some basic electrical and wiring skills. If one of the ovens with electronics it gets even more tricky and might not even be doable using the internal controls. Old style mechanical thermostat is potentially easier. And it is not just a plug and play thing. You cannot just take the wiring coming out the back of oven meant for 230 volts and wire 115 volts right to it. It must be analyzed and will need some rewiring of the internals. To get to 300 - 375 or so degrees and be able to preheat in reasonable time , hold temps and recover after opening door etc, requires one to use both top and bottom elements at same time when on 1115 volts - and in that case a good 20 amp circuit is needed depending on the original bake & broil element's combined wattages when adjusting for 1/2 voltage level. Going from 230 to 115 volts drops heating power of the element by 1/4. But with both top and bottom elements running you can still hit between 15 -18 amps current. Simplest way is to not use any of the oven controls and internal factory arranged wiring and just utilize an external PID controller and just control the element(s) directly through a relay. There are a number of them out there but one needs to ensure the temperature sensor on the PID is rated to take the heat - just cause the controller will do higher temps (say above 212 degrees) the sensors on the cheapest ones probably don't go beyond that before the insulation melts on the sensor wires. I use an Auber Instruments Universal 1/16 DIN PID Temperature Controller Item #: SYL-2362 and one of their Mini Power Relay SPDT 120V 30A Item #: R30A. The sensor to use is one of the PT100 RTD style with suitable temp range on the wire insulation or a Type K thermocouple with temperature suitable insulation on the wire. The controller can be set up for either. Put it all in a suitable “project” box, wire it up with electric cord and on/off switch with the PID controller switching the relay connected to a duplex socket. Then wire stout electric cords directly from each of the oven element(s) to plug into the controller. Put sensor in the oven in suitable place. Set up the parameters on controller and you are off and running. By doing it this way you can pick which element you want to plug in and if you want one or both. Usually the broil element is higher wattage. So now the oven is just an insulated box with heating the heating element controlled externally. As noted in a manner akin to using the external controller, one can rewire an oven with a mechanical thermo in a similar way. Just wire the elements themselves to the thermostat (following correct practices of the themostat and such) and then to the AC line feed through a switch. Again suitable electrical knowledge is needed to trace out the wires and perform a safe modification/rewiring. If you don't think you can do it safely with you knowledge and skills .... well then don't. I end with the same: Disclaimer & Cautionary Statement: The information provided above involves electrical skills related to lethal household electrical voltages and currents as well as high temperature heating elements. The information above is provided only as an illustration of concepts and ideas. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a detailed procedural guide. Improper or incorrect application or use of the above concepts can result in injury, death, or fire. The contributor takes no responsibility for this information as to accuracy or fitness for use for any particular purpose. As noted, one can wire the oven with a mechanical thermo in a similar manner. Just wire elements to the thermostat and to the AC line feed through a switch.
  13. Try this as a reset. Use choice grade and not a select grade brisket. Angus works nice if available. Trim fat as desired but don’t remove all fat. I mainly just remove the hard and knarly fat and tissue matter. To me the nice fat is a good and delicious part of a brisket. One can always remove fat off the served slice easily if they don’t prefer to eat it. Slather meat with yellow mustard. Just squirt on and use your hand. You really won’t get a mustard flavored brisket but it adds a nice undertone and helps hold the seasonings on the meat. Moderate to medium sprinkling of Montreal Steak seasoning all over is a simple and fast season approach. Wrapped in plastic and overnight in fridge. Touch up any seasoning as need when unwrapped for cooking. However, I often just slather and season right out of fridge and counter rest for a short time while Kamado is stabilizing if I got lazy the night before. Cook at about 275 on Kamado temp. Cook until meat probes tender with thermometer. That is usually around 203 to 205 internal. Remove. If compelled to inject before cooking, .. mix low sodium beef broth with some water and onion and garlic powder. As noted, the butcher paper wrap at the proper time also can help. I have done them with and without and have used the paper wrap on my last few cooks and liked the results. It is also nice for absorbing the excess fat. After it is done... Double foil wrap (over the butcher paper if used) and then overwrap in towel until serving. Only cut slices for needed for immediate serving. Wrap back in plastic or the foil until more servings needed. Brisket will dry out really fast on precut slices that sit around. Leftovers freeze well. I like to take leftover slices and heat and even brown a bit in pan with cooking spray or a touch of butter. Darn, now I have made myself hungry...
  14. As others have pointed out... I have found that prime rib and other beef roasts (especially the lean cuts) suck up smoke flavor more than other cuts of meat and I no longer add any smoking wood (or maybe just a very little like a pecan or even a touch of oak for a short duration) when cooking these cuts. You still get a good wood fired flavor but as an enhancement to the meat even with no added wood.
  15. Creative approach and nice result. Functional too!
  16. I really enjoy my chamber machine. Expensive and heavy but worth every penny for what we use it for. It gets used quite often. It especially gets a work out when I make sausage, bacon, cold cuts, and storing the pulled pork and brisket cooks. And for the leftovers from large meal cooks to have for a quick meal later on. Plus lots of other uses. Simple to use and great for items with a high liquid content. I also use it for vacuum marinading meat. After the initial cost of the machine, the vacuum bags for a chamber machine are a lot cheaper than those for a Food Saver style unit and are available in heavier gauges/thicknesses. A lot of the decision process (cost aside) is what the machine will be used for, how often it will be used and where it can be placed in the home/work area as a "fixed" unit versus a portable style.
  17. If you don't mind a few more potential voids in the finished product, use tall tapered mason jars and pack it well by hand and skip the pressure forming of the meat. I have done this in the past and it works. Final result might not hold together quite as well for slicing but still makes 'good eats' food. The mason jars seal nice for the sous vide and are easy to open to probe for internal temps. Also the smaller diameter jars take a lot less time in the bath to cook. The large rectangular larger shapes can take 6 - 7 hours and the round one 3 - 5 or so if I recall.
  18. Homemade Meat Press Molds for Deli Loaves (aka Ham Press) Background I have decided to shift some of my sausage making over to deli style meats and cold cuts for a number of reasons – I like them, they are getting expensive and by and large they are not the quality I am preferring (even on high end name brand), I am seeking lower salt and fat versions, I can make them my way --- and the family likes them. Plus it’s quite interesting and good eats, too. Deli type meats that are not emulsified into a paste and cooked in a loaf form (think bologna) are those that are called reformed meats also knows as “formed and pressed” meats and are generally a ham, chicken, or turkey loaf or round – or even the common SPAM product. Beef, bologna, & ham.... One piece of equipment that is necessary for producing the “formed and pressed” meats is the “ham press”. These meat products are made from pieces of well-trimmed meat bonded by the proteins in the meat and are meant to act and taste like the natural product but in a more sliceable and user useful sandwich style slice. One such example is a “chicken breast”. To make these, the meat (such as boneless skinless chicken breast, turkey, pork loin, lean beef, etc.) is cut into roughly 1 inch cubes, seasoned and “tumbled” with a liquid addition until the meat proteins exude from the meat. The resulting mix is placed (packed) in what is generically called a “ham mold” or “ham press” which has a spring loaded pressure arrangement that compresses the meat mixture during a refrigerator curing/setting up time. This is followed by a cooking session with the meat still in the press – usually by poaching or equivalent means. The final product is cooled, removed from the mold and available for slicing. One thing about this type of meat processing is that it does not require a grinder, uses ordinary ingredients, is reasonably quick to prepare, can be done with a sous vide setup or even just a pot of poaching water on the stove (175 - 180 degrees F for poaching - cook meat to 165 to 180 internal depending on the meat) and gives great results. I have even done baked in the oven versions of some of the loaves. Some good info found here https://www.meatsandsausages.com/hams-other-meats/formed THE SMOKEHOWZE APPROACH ON HOMEMADE HAM PRESS MOLDS (see photos at end of post) True commercial ham press molds are ridiculously expensive! So the trick is to build one or an equivalent. Web search shows some information but perhaps not as much as one would prefer to have. Thus, I set out to come up with a practical approach using readily available off the shelf items to making a “ham press” using available items that provide cooking flexibility not only in a poaching environment but also in an oven cooking mode. I wanted to be able to make a square shaped loaf as well as round loaves. Here is my solution for different sizes (capacities) and shapes for a “ham press”. Square shape: (~ 3 qt) roughly 4 3/4 x 5 inches about 4 lbs meat capacity Round Shape: (~ 2 qt) roughly 4 3/4 inch diameter about 3 lbs meat capacity Round Shape: (~ 1.5 qt) roughly 4 1/8 inch diameter about 2 lbs meat capacity NOTE: SEE THIS ATTACHED PDF DOCUMENT FOR A TABLE OF MY MEASUREMENTS & EMPIRICAL DETAILED DATA & SPECIFICATIONS OF THE VARIOUS CONTAINERS USED AS MEAT PRESS FORMS 0-SMOKEHOWZE HAM PRESS CAPACITIES (V3 4-1-18).pdf THE CONTAINERS The best containers are those that permit cooking in a poaching bath (such as sous vide) and even able to be used in the oven. They should also mechanically allow the cooked meat product to be easily removed form the form. Hotel pans and bain marie items meet these criteria and are readily available and inexpensive. Having many other applications in food preparation, serving and storage, the small investment goes beyond just this use as a meat form/press. 1/6 SIZE RECTANGULAR HOTEL PAN (6 inch deep - 2.7 qts) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 4070669 Choice 1/6 Size Standard Weight Anti-Jam Stainless Steel Steam Table /Hotel Pan - 6" Deep $4.49 2.0 QUART ROUND BAIN MARIE (6.5 inch deep) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 92278720 2 Qt. Bain Marie Pot $3.4 1.5 QUART ROUND BAIN MARIE (5.75 inch deep) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 92278710 1.5 Qt. Bain Marie Pot $3.29 I got these containers from https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ along with other items on my order to optimize my shipping cost across the order. I provide the specific info to give you an appreciation of the items, should you care to use the information as a reference point. The capacities of these containers at various depths of fill both in volume and meat weight is given in the tables I included. This was determined by a combination of measurement and empirical results since these containers all have a slight taper from top to bottom. I use my sous vide setup for cooking the meats and therefore I do not fill the mold all the way up to the top with the meat. I like to leave at least a 1” freeboard so the sous vide water can come above the meat level to cook the meat but not overflow into the container. Weights for Compressing the Meat The simplest solution is to use commercial exercise equipment weight plates sized to fit into the containers. This is a simple solution which took considerable effort in searching for the right pieces and parts that fit. Other weight solutions could also work depending on what you have – even using stone or a piece of cast concrete but those generally do not have the same density to form factor relationship like the iron weight plates. Besides, the plates are relatively cheap and will go in an oven for high heat cooking when the molds are used for other types of meat products where poaching is not the preferred cooking method. After much research, as well as a good deal of trial and error, I finally found something that worked quite well. I ended up buying various weights from different sources to experiment. BTW, the manufacturer’s stated dimensions on such weight plates are often not precise enough to determine without having one in hand if such will fit in the molds – thus the reason I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error. Here is what I found that worked (these weight plates are 3.75 inches OD and fit all the containers above) CAP Barbell 1-Inch Standard Cast Iron (Round) Weight Plate, Manufacture # RP-001.25 Weight: 1.25 lbs Walmart Item #: 551214846 Price $1.50 each The best source of these plates that I found (especially because of the free shipping to the store) is Walmart. I purchased 8 of these plates to permit multiple molds being used at the same time. I have found that 2 or 3 plates on a mold seems to work and 3 plates is my current go to weight on the 1/6 hotel pan. Presser Plate To permit the weight plates to exert a uniform force on the meat, you need a presser plate to sit the weights on. For the 1/6 hotel pan, a perforated bottom or draining pan spacer plate works acceptably. It does not fit quite as close as one might prefer to the sides but its readily available and the weights sit in the plate turned upside down (flanges up) if you bend the flanges out just a bit along their length with pliers. An easy thing to do. The spacer plate also does double duty for other uses of the hotel pan when a draining spacer plate is useful. Alternatively, you could cut a suitable presser plate out of metal or wood. I wanted metal so that the pan could also be used in the oven. Here is the plate for reference: 1/6 Size Stainless Steel Steam Table / Hotel Pan False Bottom Webstaurantstore Item # 4070600 $1.59 For the round bain maries you can find useful ready to use presser plates by scavenging metal or even plastic tops off of various containers. You can get real close to perfect by hunting around. Or make some out of wood or metal. A poly type cutting board makes a great items to cut pieces from. I did just that with one that I retired from kitchen service Drill a suitably sized hole in the center of the presser plate if it is one solid piece aligned with the hole in the center of the weights as a place to insert your cooking thermometer into the central core of the meat block. Keeping in mind we are in water bath at 185 degrees or less when you hunt for materials, here are some examples of what works (and I have used). You will see that use of a cooking bag for the food isolates the food from the weights and the presser plate. I also wrap my weight stack in plastic wrap as I found that to be convenient in handling the stack. 4 in OD is perfect for the 1.5 Qt bain marie - this is the size of the plastic top off a sour cream container or equivalent 4 5/8 OD works well in the 2.0 Qt bain marie – a CD or DVD is 4.72 inches and will work in a pinch - but probably not an ideal choice or one I would necessarily recommend! If you happen to use a CD as a test you might want to put it in a ziplock bag because it seems to give off an odor when heated in the 180 degree atmosphere. Since the meat is enclosed in the cooking bag (see next section) this is not an issue in a practical sense. Use a Cooking Bag It is recommended (more like a necessity) for ease of removal of the meat from the containers after cooking to use a “cooking bag” in the mold as a liner. Since I already had an order in play, I bought these bags for this purpose as well as other cooking uses. They will fit the 1/6 hotel pan and the others – just a bit large. Otherwise just get suitable oven cooking bags at your local grocery. 4 Qt. Round PTL Pan Liner - 200/Case Webstaurantstore Item # 572PTL1215 $19.49 Summary So now you hopefully have a more comprehensive view on making a “ham press” mold. Yes, you can buy round ones on Amazon or E-bay, such as that from Madax Ham Maker. Based on the video they seem to work, but I did not care for the capacity (2 lbs), and I figured I could put together a solution that was higher capacity, multi-purpose and cheaper, too. Below are some pictures of the apparatus piece parts and also the hotel pan in use and the results from making a delicious formed chicken breast. That and other recipes will be the topic of separate posts. I bought 2 of each of the sizes, the false bottoms and the weights for just under $40 not counting the cooking bag liners or apportioned shipping costs. And with these items I have flexibility to use them for other cooking related tasks. I also bought the hotel pan and bain marie solid metal covers as they are reasonably cheap and handy. For the hotel pans using the metal covers, Volrath makes silicon sealing “steam table pan bands” (webstaurantstore - Items # 922N0006B or 922N0006G) that provide a liquid tight leak proof seal. They are however, not cheap ($6.89 ea). I got a couple of those for grins for other applications of the 1/6 pan and they work as advertised – and have been quite useful. Here are some photos of the apparatus and some results. Some of the Equipment A Chicken Breast Loaf Kneading the Chicken Cubes in the Mixer (about 10 minutes) Packed in the Press in Cooking Bag. Ensure tight pack and no air pockets! The Presser Plate In the Sous Vise bath with weights and Thermo probe Some of the results .. I plan post some recipes one these and other cooks... Beef Loaf (using trimmed chuck, salt, pepper, touch of smoke seasoning , Cure #1) Ham Loaf (using trimmed pork butt, salt, pepper, touch of smoke seasoning, Cure #1) A Pork Garlic Bologna (this was actually an emulsion meat mix in the food processor but used the round form instead of a casing) Son and I did this one on a whim one night... A final note - alternative approach using springs The weight approach is simple and works well. I wanted to also use a spring design and have an increased pressure on the meat. I have worked out a couple of approaches to do it with springs using the same pans. Some fabrication is required. With the spring approach I can get 10 plus pounds of pressing force. However, in the reality of things, the weight approach is simpler and more than adequate, so I will not include the spring versions in this write-up. Just want to let you know that is an alternative if you want to jump into a mechanical challenge project!.
  19. Yes, you could do that and the results would be close for a typical ratios of meat and the amount of water to cover. However, the base number must be that of the net meat weight = (total meat less [estimated] bone weight) + water weight. The equilibrium cure process starts with a more concentrated "pickling" solution that you mix because the solution additives are figured on the total water in the equilibrium system which is the cover water plus the approximately 65 - 70 % water in the meat. When equilibrium is reached the total solution arrives (after sufficient time) at the final desired concentrations for both the solution now inside the meat and that still on the outside. There is an exchange outside to inside and vice versa. Those factors you indicated in your post match up to the following: Need to use the net weight of the meat (total meat weight less estimated bone weight) + weight of the water (enough to cover the meat adequately) Thus for each 1 per LB of (net meat+water) 1 gram cure #1 is equivalent to 140 ppm nitrite (which is about mid-range) 6 grams salt per gram of cure based on (meat + water) is equivalent to 2% salt brine 3 grams sugar per gram of cure based on (meat + water) is equivalent to 1% sugar. Note 1: USDA immersion curing of meat and poultry (meat not intended to be traditional bacon) the nitrite range is minimum 120 ppm to maximum 200 ppm. Bacon has a lower max limit due to typical high heat cooking . Reference UDSA 7620-3 PROCESSING INSPECTORS' CALCULATIONS HANDBOOK Revised 1995. Note 2: I prefer to use about 150 -155 PPM in my cures as it tends to ensure a good cure flavor & color in the meat. Here are example calculations for comparison. Example (using specific calculations (USDA Pg 22 Method 2) where the total pickle weight is used which is the meat+water+salt+sugar weights in this case of no other additives) here are the numbers Given: 10 lbs net 'green' meat block weight 128 oz water to cover (1 gallon = 8.35 lbs) 140 ppm nitrite level using Cure #1 2% salt desired 1 % sugar desired Calculations: 10 lbs net meat weight + 128 oz water + salt + sugar = 8524 grams = 18.77 lbs Cure #1 @140 ppm = 19.1 grams Added Salt @ 2 % brine = 117 grams (not counting the 17 grams salt in the cure) Added Sugar @ 1% = 67 grams Note 3: If one desired a 155 ppm nitrite level the amount of Cure # 1 in this example would be 21.1 grams. By way of comparison, USING THE FACTORS PROPOSED in the discussion above we get for 10 lbs net meat +8.35 lbs water = 18.35 lbs): 18.35 grams Cure #1 ( 1 gram/lb of net meat + water weight) 110 grams salt ( 6 grams/lb of net meat + water weight) 55 grams sugar ( 3 grams/lb of net meat + water weight) The critical factor is the PPM on nitrite. The problem with simple rules of thumb is that people don't necessarily perceive the underlying critical science/safety aspects such as for the PPM and often will change the numbers just because. So if you state this as a simple set of factors it must be made clear that the factor for the Cure #1 is chosen to be in the safe range and should not be amended without some level of knowledge. Adjustments of salt and sugar in this case affect taste. Adjustments on Cure #1 can affect safety. However, the factor used sets the PPM of nitrite somewhat below mid-range which provides a certain safety margin. It is however, a bit low for attaining the more typical 150-155 ppm level of nitrite needed for good color and flavor. For reference , the 200 ppm level would equate to 1.4 grams Cure #1 per 1 lb net meat+water weight. There are, as as been noted in this thread, some calculators on the web that suffice for figuring the Cure #1 level (and some also do the salt and sugar) and do it with the underlying formulas (such as USDA) and will more closely match the amount of Cure #1 to the desired results. I would suggest the calculators referenced in this thread be used for the Cure #1 for best taste and color results in the cured meat as well as for the safety aspects. As noted, 150 -155 ppm tends to be a good value that balances all the objectives. But 135 -140 ppm can also be workable which is what the proposed simple factor gives. One additional note is that the salt and sugar levels might be somewhat low at 2% and 1 % respectively. Up to 4% salt and up to 4% - 5% sugar is used quite a bit. It's a matter of the taste profile one is looking for.
  20. If you add the water weight to the meat weight that caculator is OK because it reflects the total solution of all the water and the meat and the other additions. He even says that in his text write up. It tracks with my personal spreadsheet based on US FSIS meat inspectors calculation handbook. If you inject 10 % by weight of the solution in the meat with a reasonable uniform distribution you can probably get by with 14 days in immersion especially if it not a huge ham. It may be tempting to do more but you will end up with soggy meat. I typically figure about 10 days per inch ( which seems to a rule of thumb number) with no injection on my pork bellies. Additional note: With skin on you need to inject and the cure rate may be slower than 14 days. Some further internet research may be needed. Everything I have done has been skin off and just meat or meat with a heavy fat layer on one side. Temperature matters 38 degrees for typical fridge is about perfect . Too cold and the cure rate slows way down. Also you should allow at least a day or day and a half or maybe two in fridge uncovered out of solution and rinsed for equalization.
  21. Venison makes good summer sausage. And snack sticks...they won’t last long once folks get eyeballs on them and smell the aroma.
  22. John I am in Japan and do not have my info database handy as it is on computer at home. Let me pull some data for you - see below. . I may see if my son can access my spreadsheet and get the calculations done. Key info needed: What is the weight of the ham and approx max thickness to bone and an average thickness. ? And how much brine solution will take to full immerse it? And what % salt and sugar do you want? Those are the critical numbers to calculate the right Cure #1, salt and any sugar. 156 ppm for the cure is a good value. It may take, even with injection which is a key thing to do, two weeks at least. You would inject the brine solution which starts out more concentrated and eventually the non brine water in meat and the cure solution both injected and external exchange with the meat water and each other and attain equilibrium to the final percentages. Thickness drives the time it takes for the exchange and equilibrium. That is why injection helps as it is inside out and outside in working together. You have the right idea on the calculations concept but numbers may be off. The Digging Dog Farms calculator will get you close. Just use total meat and water weight in the caculator if doing equilibrium. Here is link https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/universal-cure-calculator.124590/
  23. To paraphrase the famous movie line ...I think you’re gonna need a bigger grill. That is a significant and wide ranging seafood cook. I will have one of each.
  24. I have a take out container ready to be filled. Looks delicious. I can even smell the bread.
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