Even though Charcutepalooza ended in December, the momentum carried me beyond the conclusion. Once you have a house full of casings, curing ingredients, and a finely-tuned curing chamber, it’s hard to stop making more charcuterie.
Since I finally managed to make decent salami, and I had enjoyed the first batch of chorizo I had made, I decided to combine techniques and try a dry-cured chorizo. Same tune, different key: starting with five pounds of diced pork shoulder, 50 grams of kosher salt, 10 grams of dextrose, and six grams of Insta Cure #2.
After mixing the pork with the dry ingredients, I passed it through the large die of my grinder.
I assembled the seasonings: 36 grams of minced garlic, 16 grams of pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika),16 grams of homemade ancho chile powder, and five grams of cayenne, along with 60 milliliters of water and 20 grams of Bactoferm starter culture.
After combining everything with the ground pork, I stuffed the mixture into standard hog casing, made 12-inch loops, and tied off the ends with strings. (Unlike quantum physics, in which strings and loops are mutually exclusive, charcuterie is a grand unification theory requiring both.)
I tagged each link with its starting weight and date, then hung them in the curing cabinet. Unlike the salami, no warm incubation period was required.
I checked the weight every week, waiting until each link had lost 30 percent of its starting weight. Although I had not added any additional starter culture to the casings, the cured chorizo picked up the mold from the salami hanging to the right (along with some bresaola and lonzino).
This stuff is so good I sent it out to friends. It’s smoky, salty, with just a bit of heat – more complex than the fennel salami. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a hearty rioja, and it can be used as a component of another dish. But that’s the next post.