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This book contains a very brief introduction to Charcuterie. The author gives you an outline of what it's all about, and then follows it up with a handful of intro-level recipes. He leaves out a lot of important details, such as the fact that there are two different kinds of curing salts, one containing just sodium nitrite and one containing nitrite and nitrate. Using the former can severely increase the risk of serious health concerns when making certain cured meats such as the salami sample recipe. I would have liked more information on using cultures and cures, and at least a little bit on what kinds of changes you are looking for in meats at different stages of the process. Also, when to use dry vs wet cures, and when do you want to pack something in salt like you would when making a prosciutto vs when to rub on a light coating of salt such as with Lonzino. If you buy this book, you will inevitably have a lot of unanswered questions and will probably just end up buying a different charcuterie book. I'd recommend this book if you think you might be interested in curing your own meats, but aren't really sure. If you know it's something you want to do, buy one of the following books as an initial guide first. Some suggestions: Rhulmans Charcuterie The Art of Making Fermented Sausages The Art of Fermentation (covers ALL types of fermented foods)
James Rockwell has put together that great (and sometimes rare) combination of interesting food history, and practical recipes.
I enjoyed his history of Charcuterie, even the name is intimidating, but he breaks it down into simple steps.
As much as the history of the meat preparation interested me, it was the recipes I found most intriguing. I recently bought a smoker and intend to use his recipe for bacon, then smoke it with applewood!
Everything is here, from building your own curing station to recipes that are laid out in step 1, step 2, step 3. The author's voice is very clear and the directions easy to understand.
Do not skip any of the chapters leading up to the recipes, especially the one on good and bad bacteria, this is super important and can be the difference between feeding your family or a 2AM trip to the ER.
Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, a butcher store, or online (like the pink nitrate).
The book has an excellent interactive table of contents, linking to each chapter and recipe.
The hardest thing for me will be finding a non humid cool enough place to hang the meat ... but this book inspires me to think of something:) I'm sure it will inspire you too.
*ETA, apparently there is a lot of controversy over the safety of this type of cooking involving nitrates. After receiving a well written thought out series of comments from R. Nichols I did a bunch of googling. Even Ruhlman's book on the subject apparently has caused controversy of the use of nitrates, cold smoking, and botulism. My best recommendation is to do a lot of research and decide which recipes/techniques you feel most comfortable and safe with.