I have lots of products to tantalise the Home Meat Lover – but rather than list them all here item by item – why not just visit my Ebay Store.
I have lots of products to tantalise the Home Meat Lover – but rather than list them all here item by item – why not just visit my Ebay Store.
Just to highlight the benefits of Liquid Smoke, here’s a recipe for Easy Smokehouse Almonds. They taste great and are much cheaper than store bought types which are usually sold in small packs for high prices. Liquid Smoke makes these so easy to make – if you’re a lover of them you can make them and have them on hand at anytime.
I made mine in under 30 minutes and it’s so easy anyone can do it! Wait for them to cool completely before you try them, they are a little soft when they are still hot; but go crunchy when cooled. Try them – you’ll love ‘em!
The recipe is Here. Note that you can also use butter rather than the Olive oil.
If you have not yet tried my Liquid Smoke, why not order a Single 210 ml bottle – Post free safely through Paypal; for $17.49 below:
Or for BEST value – order 2 x 210 ml bottles and get the 2nd bottle for only $10 more ($27.49) – also Post free.
Come visit again – and I’ll show you how you can use the Smoke to make wonderful home-made Jerky.
You may or may not be aware that the Americans are super keen BBQers and along with that are really keen on meat smoking too? But perhaps you personally have never explored this level of what I call – REAL BBQ for yourself?
If not, then why not give it a shot? It is really rewarding – it tastes fantastic – you and your friends and family will LOVE it!
Please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to send you a FREE copy of my BBQ Secrets Ebook – filled with tips that I’ve learnt from the Americans. You see – a lot of what Aussies do – the Yanks simply call grilling – and we Aussies are only beginning to catch on to what full BBQ-ing and Smoking is all about.
If you’re looking for a brilliant tool to instantly get you started smoking or slow cooking – just about any sort of meat and even vegetables, – why not consider the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. This thermostatically controlled electric smoker now has a new and improved stainless front and sleek look with a glass window that lets you peek inside (internal lighting NOT included); saving valuable heat – while it continues to cook happily away. And because its electronically controlled it is pretty well set and forget (once you’ve mastered it).
The 78 Cm (30″) unit is designed in the USA and made in China to Masterbuilt’s exacting quality standards. It has been fully approved to Australian electrical standards and is priced at only $499 (+freight) – $40 to MOST major capital cities.
Right now there’s a fantastic deal available. For $499 you get a special bundled offer that includes:
**18 Month Extended Warranty
**Final 6 months of Warranty is for parts only.
This excellent unit gives you fully programmable electronic control of your meat HOT smoking. (Note that due to the LOW temperatures required for “cold smoking” (like for cheese, tofu etc.) this unit will require an accessory like the Amaze-n-Smoke generator) – contact me for more information on this subject or anything else about the unit.
The PDF brochure for the OLDER style unit is HERE – but please refer to the picture above; this is how they now look.
Here’s my email address again – if you’d like to learn more – or proceed with an order: email@example.com
Salami is among the oldest methods of meat preservation, second only to drying and smoking. The Italians are famous for their many regional types – this one; Calabrese Salami is one of the most well known among them. I just LOVE it – and hope that you’ll find it really enjoyable too!
Here’s a picture of the finished product, which was ready after only 14 days! Normally you would have expected it to dry in about 30 days and the fact that they dried out so fast, suggests that the humidity (I achieved about 70%) was still TOO LOW. (Low humidity = Drier)
I now believe that at 15C it should have been closer to 80% to avoid the risk of case hardening. But – in my case I got away with it – as you can see from the picture! There WAS the slightest hint of hardening around the edges, however this did not affect the eating at all; in fact it made it easier to peel the casing away!
The only reason I got away with drying in such a short time is that it has been very cold lately and my method of drying easily achieves warmth and 70%. From here on-in though it will get warmer and I’ll need to switch to my modified freezer to COOL things down to dry – and though its not impossible – I know from experience that it’s not as easy as salami making in Winter! This is the reason that many of my customers on Ebay get into fermented, dry cured sausage in Winter. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
So – how was it? Well – it has a nice clean aroma (I used Hansen’s FRM-7 culture) and lovely, mild salty flavour. Next, there’s the hint of aniseed from the fennel seed – followed by the kick of the chilli, which lingers for some time. Now this was not made to be extra hot, but was made based around a couple of traditional recipes that I had seen. If like me, you do like hot, then you could very easily DOUBLE the chilli that the recipe calls for – or perhaps use a chilli that you know to be really fiery? Personally – I like the recipe as-is though and would not change a thing!
The recipe is HERE
I had some spare time the other day waiting at the hospital for an examination. I had gone in – prepared for a long wait by taking in the book: Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages, by Stanley & Adam Marianski. The book is as big as a Bible, so there’s always plenty of informative reading. Anyway – I came across a recipe in it for Russian Hot Smoked sausage, that sounded so good – I just had to make it!
You know how it is when you go to a restaurant and read the menu – and it might say something like Confit of Duck; duck leg rubbed with salt, garlic and Thyme and marinated for 36 hours, before being oven poached for 6 hours, served with oven roasted garden vegetables.
The description just grabs you by the throat, so that you cannot help but order.
Well the Russian sausage recipe that I came across sounded equally wonderful. First off – it’s smoked, (always a good thing); but then it had wine and Pepper, Allspice and Cardamom. It was just so mysterious that I simply HAD to make it!
So – the very next weekend I tracked down some Pork and and a small quantity of Beef and made sure that I had FRESH stocks of the spices that the recipe called for. I had both Allspice and Cardamom, but both were getting a bit old and I did not want to risk missing out on the true flavours, so bought some whole Cardamom seed which I later ground fresh and also some new Allspice stock.
I also did a bit of research on the wine that the recipe called for – Madeira. Unfortunately the Marianski’s recipe did not specify exactly what type of Madeira and as you can see from this link, there are around 5 different styles, ranging from Dry to Dessert.
So for inspiration, I ended up at Dan Murphy’s online and wandered through their fortified wine list – almost purchasing this Topaque (like the word – Champagne – it seems that we are on the verge of no longer being able to call these wines Tokay).
Anyway, I ended up choosing an award winning Seppelts Muscat.
When got home, opened the bottle and tasted it – I really enjoyed the beautiful caramel/toffee/raisin type flavours – but it WAS fairly sweet, so I decided to reduce the quantity that I would add slightly; as well as halving the amount of sugar that the sausage recipe called for.
That weekend I made it – and being Hot Smoked it was ready within just a few hours and just required chilling before being edible.
So how was it? With the complex flavours of the Cardamom, Allspice & Pepper, it is very different to ANY sausage I have ever eaten before – but really enjoyable! If you are a bit of a connoisseur I would highly recommend that you try it for yourself? If you do – let me know what you think?
You can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The recipe is Here. Come back soon – my next planned sausage is Calabrese Salami; a well known and simply spiced; pork based Salami.
I have not made ANY salami, since my last temperature controlled incubator/fridge died a couple of years back – and I still have not yet set-up my replacement cooling freezer, (will do so in the next couple of months).
So, there I was – wondering what to make; to take advantage of the nice cold winter weather here?
If you’re aware of the processes in salami-making; you’ll know that the drying needs to be done at low temperatures (in the low teens Celsius). It’s been nice and cold here lately – and those that do – are busily making Salami and all sorts of dry cured sausage!
Anyway I located a recipe for a pure pork Hungarian Salami from the Marianski Bros. book Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages and – as I usually do – modified it just a bit, to suit my preferences and what I had available. The modifications were really just in adding chilli flakes, my own Cure 2 and Starter and Medium Sherry instead of Tokay (a wine that I did not have).
My batch size ended up at 4.25 Kg (9.37 Lb) – if you’re not yet using the Metric system, I can really recommend this fantastic FREE Conversion tool by Josh Madison here. It enables you to convert pretty well anything!
Actually; I STARTED OUT with 4.25 Kg, stuffed it into 3 x 70 mm Fibrous casings – each averaging about 1.4 Kg (weights were recorded and tagged) and then when back to my Office leaving them on the kitchen bench briefly.
Next thing Julie called out telling me that I was not going to be very happy – when I asked why; she told me that one of our dogs had eaten HALF of one of the raw Salami’s!
Now – I’m a Christian, so I don’t usually swear; but……, I was so angry at that little pooch!
But – then it was wonderfully fragrant meat – she’s a dog. What else did I expect? I mean she’s only four months old?
Nevertheless – I was NOT a happy chappy! And of course I had to throw the rest away; ending up with only two, out of my three Salami’s.
Anyway – onto the next step; which was a slower fermentation than I am used to; but was according to a traditional recipe and all smelled nice and aromatic, so I could tell in that way at least that lactic acid was being produced.
Then, (unusual for Salami) – the recipe called for Smoking – I was to cold smoke at below 22C for four days; BUT even my coolest smoke methods were still adding around 11 Celsius to the ambient temperature in my smokehouse, which often put me quite a bit above 22C.
This always makes me nervous, because high temperatures and low humidity can mean that you can dry the outside of the sausage too quickly; causing a dry layer that then prevents the sausage from continuing to dry properly (called case hardening). Case hardening is pretty well a sausage makers nightmare – it can ruin perfectly good meat!
Not wanting to risk this – I stopped smoking the Salami’s after just 8 hours.
Then – following on with the Marianski’s recipe I was to dry the sausages at between 12 – 16 C for 2 – 3 months @ 80-85% humidity. I chose 14C as a middle ground and my system of temperature/humidity control using a 1600 watt hotplate and water pan, gave me a nice 78% average humidity (close as I could manage with this method).
Now – I am also in the middle of another project – a Home-made Parma-style Prosciutto Crudo – using one of Len Poli’s recipes here. So for a particular stage in the making of the Prosciutto; I needed to “borrow” the smokehouse for 24 hours to dry it out.
So I took my Salami’s out of the smokehouse (temporarily) after only 28 days – but when I weighed them, to my surprise; they had already lost 35% of their weight!
This really concerned me, because according to the recipe I STILL HAD 30-60 days to go?
So – I decided to test one – by slicing into it. And I fully expected to see case hardening around the edges – but to my surprise it was dried, perfectly! It had lost 35% of its moisture in only 28 days – yet still remained a perfect eating salami!
Now – I really do prefer the accuracy of the weighing method for testing “done-ness” of sausage; you have much more of an idea of progress monitoring moisture loss by weight; than by using time only. If I had waited the extra time, my Salami would have been too dry and very possibly ruined, (in my opinion).
So – what’s it like? In a word – it’s just beautiful!
It has a lovely tangy salami taste that I know will improve even more when I de-bag them from the vacuum packs and place them into the fridge. I prefer to vacuum pack, so that they are stopped from drying further – then I store them in the fridge until I want them.
One thing – I like spicy, so I had added chilli flakes in equal proportion to the paprika. But they are STILL only moderately spicy to me – so you could easily double that if you prefer fiery hot?
The recipe is HERE.
No matter whether you want to ferment a batch of Salami, Mettwurst or Pepperoni, or dry cure or age those styles – or perhaps you want to slow smoke a cut of meat; at some stage you will find yourself wanting to control temperature accurately.
If you don’t have accurate control of temperature, you’re at the mercy of the weather (ambient temperature) and the time of day and year.
Commercial sausage makers have the advantage of professional smoke ovens with temperature, smoke and humidity control. I recently saw one listed new at $25,000!
I’ve had real successes with sausage-making; but also had failure directly attributed to temperature and/or humidity. This was because I tried to “wing it” – hoping to get away with it. Now – you may not have had issues? Perhaps you have a cellar that has been used for decades to produce Salami etc, but loss CAN still happen, for example if there were unseasonal conditions?
So – if you want to save yourself expensive meat and time losses, it really pays to invest in accurate temperature control. Let’s look at what sausage-making in particular typically involves – and why temperature control here is so important.
Fermented and Dry Cured Sausages
This category covers all of the Salami’s, Mettwurst, Pepperoni and other styles; any style that initially uses just raw meat and may lack any kind of “cook step”.
Starter Cultures are added (or should be for food safety) and held at a targeted temperature to assist with fast breeding of the friendly micro-organisms. These are bacteria that produce lactic acid as a by-product of their activity. The lactic acid quickly changes the environment inside the raw sausage making it less favorable for pathogenic (harmful) bacteria. Fermentation temperatures can be as low as 20C (68F) and can reach 45C (113F) depending on the culture used and type of sausage being made. Accuracy is very important; to give the starter bacteria the greatest chance of success at out-populating any “nasties”.
The next step in these styles is generally a slow-drying. The drying must be slowed to allow moisture from the centre of the sausage to come to the surface, otherwise a dried layer or thick skin can form on the outer surface, trapping the moisture inside. This is called “case hardening” and can easily spoil sausage because it remains wet inside. Sausage with a wet interior can not only be unpalatable and cause spoilage; but it can allow harmful bacteria to take hold – since one of the food safety hurdles in food preservation is drying. So drying requires proper control of both temperature and humidity, in order to happen gradually.
Once dry – these styles can be consumed immediately; often however they have been made in bulk – perhaps utilising an animal that was slaughtered or else a bulk meat purchase. In order to keep the bulk sausage at optimum, controlled temperature are also required.
Here’s a typical scenario for a few Kilos of Hungarian Salami I am making right now. The initial fermentation was 3 days at 20C (68F) Then the recipe called for 4 days of cold smoking under 22C – followed by 2-3 months at 12-16C.
Our daytime outside temperatures here are currently around 14C (57F) while the nights can drop to around 4C (39F) and above. So I have had to heat to do the fermentation and slightly heat the smokehouse to do the cold smoking; but will probably rely on a mix of ambient temperatures and refrigeration for the final drying stages.
Just in that example you can see how temperature cannot and should not be left to chance?
The picture below shows the Digital thermostat I’m using to switch my heat source; and a Hygrometer to keep an eye on the humidity. It is switching a 1600 Watt single electric hotplate, with a pan of water providing humidity.
Cold Smoked Sausage
While there is some discussion on the exact temperature range for Cold smoking – it generally falls within 12-32C (53-89F). Actually generating the smoke itself causes heat – and ambient temperature adds to that heat, but in the cooler months or cooler climates and especially at night you CAN still cold smoke temperature sensitive items like cheese.
One product that I can recommend for this is the Amaze-n-Pellet smoker – shown below. The Maze shaped device can be filled with pellets or the right type of sawdust and it can burn for up to 11 hours, while it is not controllable – it does produce very little heat. It is made of high quality stainless steel – so will last forever! Click here for a US demo video.
Aussies – buy the Amaze-n-Pellet Smoker – post free – here:
Depending on what you’re making – in the depths of winter in Australia, it may also be that you need to add extra temperature – if so this will need to be controlled; otherwise you could cease cold smoking and end up cooking the product.
Warm & Hot Smoked Sausage
Once again there is discussion on the temperatures; but these basically pick up where cold smoking leaves off and end up around 60C (140F). Much higher than this and you enter the range of BBQ slow cooking – not in the scope of this article.
Precision temperature control can be achieved two ways, either gas or electric. Gas is less favored because it requires specialist plumbing to set up and connection to home gas supply or bottles. Thankfully; electronic control is simple enough for non-tradespeople to do – really accurate and very low cost, both in initial outlay and also running costs.
The following picture is of an analogue (dial) thermostat that I sell that has a temperature range of 0-40C. It is wired for Australian households only – and will switch up to 2000 watts.
But Thermostats that switch HEAT ONLY can have their limits (for fermentation and drying) once the temperatures begin to rise in Spring and Summer. This is because you’ll need to ferment and dry sausages at lower than ambient temperature – so fermented sausages can be off the menu! That is UNLESS you can control the temperature by cooling – which IS possible – thankfully!
It is possible to purchase ANOTHER Thermostat that will switch a cooling appliance like a freezer (or fridge) – OR better still buy ONE UNIT that does either task when required!
The Digital unit below fits this bill; it is fully programmable – and can be switched between heating control in Winter and cooling control in the warmer months. In Spring & Summer the idea is that you would have a dedicated sausage freezer or fridge and install a very low capacity heat source (like a small lamp) inside it to warm the interior slightly. You then set the required cooling temperature on the Digital unit – it will then switch the freezer on to cool and maintain the set temp!
NOTE THAT THE THERMOSTATS ARE AUSTRALIAN MADE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN 240 VOLT SYSTEM. THEY HAVE A FULL 12 MONTH WARRANTY – SERVICE IS AVAILABLE ON THEM SHOULD FAULTS ARISE AFTER THAT PERIOD. READERS OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA SHOULD NOTE THAT THE UNITS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE TO AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS – FEEL FREE TO CONTACT: help(at)bbqhq.net – the email address shown at left will need (at) replaced with @.
Tags: cold smoking, hot smoking, meat fermentation, Pepperoni, Salami, Salami drying, Sausage drying, sausage fermentation, temperature control meat, temperature control sausage, Thermostatic temperature control, Thermostatsstevegask , 06.07.2012 Comments Off
Here’s a very handy tool that gets some bad press! And the bad press most often comes from people who post on BBQ Forums or similar, I know – because I’ve seen it!
Why is this? Well – you see, Liquid Smoke is easy – and it makes adding smoke flavour easy – without the on-your-clothes and in-your-hair aroma that normal smoking gives! Some people see anything that makes adding the flavour easier – as cheating!
Look – I LOVE the smell of regular smoked meats; even smoked chillies etc, but sometimes you have other things to do on a weekend than tend to a smoking smolder? So sometimes it’s just easier to add Liquid Smoke to the marinade or baste to achieve that!
And Liquid Smoke is still very natural – it came about many years back, due to concerns that smoked foods may be cancer causing, due to chemicals that are often left on the surface of meat etc. Industry sought a way of capturing the flavours and aroma of smoke; while leaving those compounds behind.
Some types of Smoke have additives, like Caramel to make them appear darker and to brown the exterior of your meat, but the Liquid Smoke I sell, contains only Smoke, Water (the carrier for the smoke) and Food Acid as a preservative.
So don’t let the Smoke police put you off this product – it has its place in every serious BBQ-er’s toolkit. Aussies you can buy the quality BBQHQ.net Liquid Smoke in 210 ml bottles in my Ebay Store – Here.
Over the Queen’s Birthday weekend I decided to try another popular style of sausage – Cold Smoked Polish Sausage – or Polska Kielbasa Wedzona. I modifed a recipe from the Marianski brothers very slightly; just to suit the time I had available. However because I have only altered things like the low temperature hang time – the recipe is still that of the authentic old style Cold Smoked Polish Sausage.
From what I’ve read online – most of what we buy today that is called Polish Sausage – or Kielbasa (click for Wikipedia) is so far removed from the original Polish recipes so as to make them totally alien to the original styles; yet this one from the book Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages is true to type, with the original simple specifications – just Pork, Salt, Cure and Spices – and the original Cold Smoking method.
Most Polish Sausage today is mass produced – and like any mass produced product the intention is to make them as fast and as cheap as possible. There is no real issue with this goal; because it gives us the food we like at reasonable prices – but in most cases the penalty is that we lose the original home style flavour. I have access to one among several brands here in Victoria, Australia that is called Polish Sausage and while it is reasonably priced – it has a taste that I find quite unpleasant?
As you can see this was only a small batch – (target weight 1.65 Kg or 3.6 lb) – because as I’ve mentioned before I am diabetic and must limit my fat intake; so I really make sausage for pleasure and frequently give the sausage to sausage loving friends.
So – how did they turn out? Well they look, smell and taste fantastic – but I must be honest with you – there is a defect!
Because I could not get my cold smoke – cold enough – (I had to leave my smokehouse door open), and still could not get below 27C or 80F. So I had too high a temperature and probably too low (drying) humidity. So they ended up drying too quickly on the outside (called case hardening), leaving the inside quite moist! If I had been able to locate my hygrometer I would have been able to detect that the cabinet humidity was too low (should be 75-85% or higher) and added water via a pan or spray bottle.
But all is not lost – I have already sourced a better cold smoking option for myself and my customers and will have that option in a few days.
Meanwhile, my sausage has gone into a cold water bath to both drop the inner temperature and wash any carbon particles from the exterior of the sausages. Then – the plan is to wrap them in a couple of paper bags and place them into the fridge.
Ever noticed how any salami or pepperoni you leave unwrapped in the fridge dries out? That’s the drying action of the fridge pulling moisture from the sausage – I’ll be using that to assist the drying of my Polish Sausage; the paper bags will slow it, so that hopefully the interior will dry out too.
But I really recommend the flavour of this sausage – go ahead, give it a shot yourself, but keep your smoking temperatures as low as you can – and use a hygrometer to keep an eye on the smokers internal humidity; here’s a peek at one Dick Smith have – but you can also get them at great prices on Ebay. The recipe sheet is Here.
When you think of Aussies and food, realistically we do not have what you would call a gourmet reputation – like the French, Italians, Germans or Asians for example?
For a long time in fact most of what we ate in Australia was a variation on the English diet; so we had “Meat and Two or Three Veg” – e.g, lamb chops and mashed potatoes with peas or Sausages or Rump steak with vegetables etc. This was pushed along for many years by the advantage we had in Australia that our meat prices were really low – man has that changed.
But our diet has changed too; thankfully! We’ve been rescued from that hum drum, oh so monotonous pattern.
And the change was brought about by immigrants – immigrants who brought with them their particular cuisines – which we Aussies – though somewhat hesitant initially, eventually did adopt. Now most Aussies eat any combination of Italian or Chinese, Thai, Greek or Middle Eastern foods – any and every day of the week!
But one long held tradition in Australia – is the Aussie Meat Pie see Wikipedia for the history.
While we Aussies claim it as our own; the truth is that it too, has its roots in our British origins – being based on their Steak Pie. Origins aside though; it has come to mean so much to the average Aussie that one could scarcely imagine a week where we did not consume at least one – and many Aussies (much to our G.P’s concern) – eat them daily!
They are available absolutely everywhere! From petrol stations to takeaway stores; at the Football, Beachside cafes, Supermarket freezers, Delicatessens, Milk Bars – if you need a meat pie you can get one!
So – enjoying cooking as I do; I just had to look at making some at home! What follows is a recipe that has BOTH a Fast and a Slow Cook option for making your own at home! I’d simply love to hear your experiences and feedback too – the Aussie Meat Pie recipe is here.