December 19, 2010


Sometimes, the most amazing things happen in the world of Twitter.

It’s a quiet Sunday morning. I’ve got holiday baking all wrapped up. There are other special things I’ll be cooking between now and the first of the year, but it’s a much more relaxed pace in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen today.

boudin blanc with rabbit and veal

So, over a second French press pot of coffee, I was chattering with friends on Twitter – talking charcuterie, cool garage spaces, and so on – and somehow the idea emerged – let’s make charcuterie together.

the start of duck confit

I’m hereby declaring 2011 The Year of Charcuterie. What Kim called #Charcutepalooza11 (note the hashtag, Twitter users!)

We’re going to start with Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman.

It’s a great book (and if you order it through my blog, I’ll actually get some Amazon credits!)

And for January, we’ll be making Duck Proscuitto. (pp54-55)

some mad butchering skills, right?

It’s an 8 day process. Requires duck breast, either fresh or frozen. And somewhere to cure the proscuitto where the temperatures hover between 50° and 60°F. My garage is perfect for this. Buy a thermometer if you’re not sure.

If you want to play along, please post your experiences on January 15th and send me a link. I’ll do a round up of all the posts in the week following the 15th.

pork rillette

Are you game? (haha – little pun there) I think it will be great fun. We can spend the year making cured meats, sausages, jerky, terrines, pates and all the other tasty goodies that Ruhlman outlines in his book.

In the meantime, I’ll try to figure out all the details of a year long project like this.

52 Responses to “a year of charcuterie”

  1. Jill

    I will be interested to see what happens in the upcoming year.
    BTW The link for the book isn’t working.

    Reply
      • Stacy

        What is the name of the book? I see no link. And I’m in too. Will have to find a way to maintain low temps – I’m in the west too.

        Reply
        • Cathy

          Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman – odd that you don’t see a link. It seems to be working on this end.

          Reply
  2. Lynda

    Sign me up! I have been itching to make my own prosciutto, however in CA my garage is a FAIL in terms of a consistently cool temperature. Perhaps I should find a wine cellar…

    Reply
    • Cathy

      Sean at Punk Domestics is fiddling around with a cabinet and humidifier. He said he was going to do a post about it. I was thinking a small wine refrigerator might do the trick. I’m going to do a little research and put together a follow up post about materials. Glad you’re in, Lynda!

      Reply
      • Warner aka ntsc

        A small wine cooler works perfectly, I hung two hams in one. I removed the last at Thanksgiving and will hang a ham again in it in May. In the mean time the new ham will cure and hang in my 55 F basement.

        I will be doing this or YM is going to cut the other hand.

        Reply
  3. tom hirschfeld

    I used to teach Garde Manger and Meat cutting at the culinary school where I taught. It makes me so glad to see this. Have you started making bacon? I really like Ruhman’s book and if you can find the old version of the CIA Garde Manger book you will find lots more information in there too.

    Reply
    • Cathy

      Oh that’s great, Tom! We need you on this team, for sure. I’ve been making bacon (wait, that sounds dirty) for a couple of years and there is just nothing like the homemade stuff. Already thought that would be a good February challenge. Just in time for a Valentine’s Day breakfast, right?

      Reply
  4. tom hirschfeld

    Word of warning with your duck. Much of commercial duck in stores is already brined in a 10% solution which will keep it from curing properly and it will be overly salty. Make sure you find an all natural duck.

    Reply
  5. Polly

    I’ve been carting Ruhlman’s book around for over a year now, and have made NOTHING in it. I just moved into a house with a basement – specifically chosen for meat-curing and cheese-aging value – and am totally in for this.
    (and for those with no basement: I have been successfully using a wine fridge for cheese aging for a couple of years, it works pretty good).

    Reply
      • Cathy

        Sally – you know this means I have to come learn about cheese from you. In order to get a proper charcuterie & cheese platter. I’ll get in touch after the first of the year. Glad you & Mr. Can are *in* for Charcutepalooza11!

        Reply
  6. Robin Cohen

    Great idea! I am working on an article on Charcuterie featuring some great Boston area chefs and their offerings and tips. Will share when done. Also, love to see ideas on mustards and pickles and other charcuterie companions.

    Reply
  7. The Mom

    I love that book! I’ve made a variation on the bacon already and have a long list of things I want to make. Will have to add duck breasts to the coop order for this one. Looks delicious!

    Reply
  8. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    It is funny how a thought can so quickly become a reality…well, it takes someone like you to help make it so by taking that bull by it’s horns, and maybe some duck too, huh?

    Exciting to learn something led by an expert that I know!

    Reply
  9. Elycooks

    Will watch from afar happily and hungrily. I’m afraid my skills in this area stop with a smiple pureed chicken liver pate

    Reply
  10. Jamie

    How exciting! I just started making sausages and bacon out of Ruhlman’s book about a month ago. I’m itching to try the duck proscuitto. Count me in!

    Reply
  11. SallyCan

    I’m not the Charcuterie Dept. in the household, but I’m signing us up anyway!
    We’re there!

    Reply
  12. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate

    What a fun idea! Both sausage and bacon are fun and easy to make. I’m impressed about the duck prosciutto, I’d never thought to make it. Hmn… I wonder if I can “harvest” the meddlesome Muskovy ducks that terrorize us in the river behind our home? If anyone wants to try to make Culatello di Zibello, I’ve got great process pictures from the master himself. Unfortunately, in Florida, we don’t have the climate in which to make it. It needs FOG.

    Reply
  13. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    Neil and I are SO IN to this!!! We have the book and have already emailed friends to ask if they can get duck for us to pick up the day we return from Mexico! It was one of our resolutions to work a little bit more from the book in 2011 so this is perfect!

    Reply
  14. Meg Rosenberg

    Hi,
    want to sign up!

    no blog site but will post if anything comes up. have you used jane grigson’s charcuterie book? i have only made a few things but they all turned out great and i love her prose.

    Reply
  15. Mrs. Itazura

    Ok, so I know I’m pretty much too late for the blogroll inclusion, but can I still play along?? I just found you guys less than a week ago, go the book and am beyond excited!

    Reply
  16. Rand

    I just signed up to this site. I have started to get involved more in charcuterie. I am a personal chef who works out of my home as a hobby. I have already made bacon, pancetta, italian sausage and hot dogs with great succes. I have just hung my third batch of soppressata and have had no luck so far. I have followed the recipe and directions in Michael Ruhlman book but I end up with green and hairy mold. This time around I have decided to rub my product every couple of days with a brine to see if that helps. I have also started my proscuitto. After three weeks in salt I have it hanging. Hoepfully I can get some tips on the dry aging process. Glad to be aboard.

    Reply
  17. Jerry

    Well, I am one year late but better to be late then never joining, right? Time to check few local farms and make room in our unheated garage!.

    Reply

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