Monday, July 4, 2011

Dried Salted and smoked Pig's Liver.

I know what you are thinking.... Not only is it Pig's liver, but you are going smoke it, then dry it?  Are you nuts.  I would have to say.... Maybe.  I have jumped in with all feet when it comes to Charcuterie as well as Offal.  It seems like we as a society have forgotten where we came from.  We have gotten so used to going to the store and finding our meat miraculously in a plastic and Styrofoam container.  I am done with that.  We need to get back to our roots, and have our food the way we were meant to have it.  It is a lot of damn work but guess what.  It is Delicious, and hearty and makes you feel good when you eat it.  The difference between getting a pork chop at Kroger, and getting a Heritage one can not be put into words.  Sounds like a good idea for a post, have the old Pepsi challenge with pork..  Note to self.  Any way I am getting side tracked.  I went to my friends restaurant the other day and he surprised me with some amazing pasta with grated Bottarga (click the word if you do not know what it is, then find it and put it in your belly, it is great) He and I started talking and he mentioned this salted pig liver thing, and doing something similar with it.  It turns out I just so happened to have a copy of Fergus Henderson's The Whole beast at home with a recipe.  And here we go.

First off I am not going to attempt any Charcuterie with out using the best ingredients.  I know it will cost more up front but the taste is what we are after.  So I got my livers from you guessed it, Newman farms.  If anyone ever read this blog they would have to start paying me for all of the plugs I am giving.  Joke..  Here is where we started.

One pound of Pig's Liver.  I purchased a whole liver.  Trimmed it and cleaned it then used two pounds for some Braunschweiger and the leftovers for this project.  I was amazed at how fresh the livers smelled. Very minerally and rich smelling.  I then made the following Recipe:

1 Pig's Liver
1 3/4 Cups coarse sea salt
2 1/2 Sugar
1 tsp Cayenne pepper (Have to have some heat to offset the sweetness and richness)
a handful of ground black pepper(to finish the livers, this will be done in the next step)

Here is the cure and the livers, and the bottle of Owen Roe Sharecroppers Cab that had to be consumed during the production of this recipe.  Good cooking and good wine go hand in hand.  Until you have had to much wine and you destroy your kitchen like a Viking.  Wake up in the morning like you had a bad stint in Tijuana and see what happened.  But that is for another meeting.

So I took the livers and tossed them with the cure mix.  Making sure that I got a good coat on them.  I then put them in a vacuum bag and divided the cure evenly amongst them. 
Within four days the cure mix had completely dissolved and filled the bag with liquid.  I then took the livers out of the bags.  Made another batch of cure mix and re coated the livers.  They will cure in total two weeks in the salt and sugar cure, then when they are firm, I will remove them and cold smoke them for a few hours.  I have not decided the type of wood for the smoking yet.  I am hoping to get some olive wood from a friend in California if not, I think oak would work well.  Then off to a minimum of three weeks in the cure chamber at 57 degrees F and 75%RH.  Stay tuned for the next post from this amazing Offal!!

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