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Curing boxes or area, where and what?

 
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02 11 3:43 pm    Post subject: Curing boxes or area, where and what? Reply with quote

So i really want to be able to air dry/cure some of the more complex things that need to hang in some relatively controlled conditions, and i dont have a cellar/basement. What or where and how are you guys doing it? I prefer low tech and or able to build something. I have always thought it would be cool to hang hams and some other meats during the spring when some of the different pollens are in the air and might be able to contribute the "local" flavor. Am i wrong thinking about it in this manner?
I want to start small and then either add on or upgrade. Any links or pictures to current set ups would be awesome.
Thanks!
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SimonSmokes
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03 11 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a famous ham from a specific Italy region (a la proscuito) is hanged from trees, the ham put in a sort of wood box with metal grates (?) so little buggers cant get to it.

of course, with my super brain in the last week of the final semester of university, i can't come up with the name right now, sorry.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may need to build a simple curing chamber with environmental controls to meet the temps.humidity required for what you want to produce. Each region that is famous for certain products is only able to get those products due to their local molds, yeasts, and weather.

You can use an old refrigerator that still works, a small heater, humidifier, and exhaust fans to create the proper environment, and purchase bacterial starter cultures and molds to closely recreate regional products.

You should be able to have a curing chamber for less than $400.00 that will hold temps and humidity levels perfectly for what you want.

www.Sausagemaking.org has great info in their forum, as does http://www.wedlinydomowe.com in their forum and info pages.

There are temp controllers that plug inline with a refrigerator power cord to hold higher temps, you will most likely need to add humidity, and in some case maybe even add some heat to keep it from getting too cold.

I have seen some walk-in coolers for for ridiculous low prices lately, that would be the ultimate to have a 6'x8' walk in curing chamber!!
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
You may need to build a simple curing chamber with environmental controls to meet the temps.humidity required for what you want to produce. Each region that is famous for certain products is only able to get those products due to their local molds, yeasts, and weather.

You can use an old refrigerator that still works, a small heater, humidifier, and exhaust fans to create the proper environment, and purchase bacterial starter cultures and molds to closely recreate regional products.

You should be able to have a curing chamber for less than $400.00 that will hold temps and humidity levels perfectly for what you want.

www.Sausagemaking.org has great info in their forum, as does http://www.wedlinydomowe.com in their forum and info pages.

There are temp controllers that plug inline with a refrigerator power cord to hold higher temps, you will most likely need to add humidity, and in some case maybe even add some heat to keep it from getting too cold.

I have seen some walk-in coolers for for ridiculous low prices lately, that would be the ultimate to have a 6'x8' walk in curing chamber!!



A walk in would be awesome.
I think my wife musta been reading my mind. She came across a mini fridge at the Goodwill bins(place where Goodwill sells chit by the pound) for $7. I hope it works and if nothing else it is a secure insulated environment to hang some sausage. May be a few more months before i have everything but i have wanted to do this for so long.
Thanks for the links Harry i have looked at those before.
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tacklebox
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some info I found while looking into building one for myself:


http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2007/07/key-equipment-piece-3-curing-chamber.html

http://www.sausagemaker.com/tutorials/chamber/curing_chamber.html

http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5251
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember reading some tutorials on curing chambers ate a blog named
Sausage Debauchery" and another blog named "this little piggy" so look for those too.

I have heard of one guy using a plain, unmodified wine cooler/humidor right out of the box, he just needed to cover the glass door to keep sunlight out so the fat would not go rancid.

A mini-fridge may be difficult if you need to add heat, a saline bath in the bottom of the fridge should give you proper humidity too.

Typically you'll get too high of a humidity early on in the aging process, and then it will lower naturally. Some guys just open the door for a few minutes to get an air change to bring in drier air.

85% humidity is your target RH in most all procedures.
You may also need a fermenting cabinet, something that will hold 85-degrees for 24-72 hours to get the proper cultures started. A light bulb will handle that, but you'll need to block the light from shining on the meat or it could rancidify the fats . I find it amazing how quickly light can damage foods.
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Oregon smoker
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04 11 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will look for those Harry. Thanks!
Plugged in the fridge it gets juice but does not get cold. So i need to start looking for plans on how to used it as a curing box. I dont plan on doing a bunch at one time as i want to experiment with a lot of different recipes.
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herper



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PostPosted: Sun May 08 11 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am just starting to make sausages so forgive any rookie blunders. For small batches instead of an old fridge, would an aquarium with the sides covered to prevent light entering work? I used to keep snakes, and with a heat pad, water bowl and lighting you can keep and/or regulate humidity and temps. Also a small fan can be added for circulation of air. Screened tops are readily available as well as black and different kinds of lights. Tanks are also extremely easy to clean, fairly cheap and come in many sizes and shapes. Again just a newbies 2 cents, but it should work and is easy to get.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sun May 08 11 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Herp,

Light is your enemy when aging, it tends to rancidify the fats, so dark is best.

Depending on your local climate, you may need to heat or cool, or maybe do both during sifferent times of the day or week.

Basically you are trying to recreate the climate of the sausages origin in a very small area such as a fridge, basement, attic, cave, root cellar, Etc.

You may have proper temps, but the wrong humidity, or vice versa.
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