Sunday, January 24, 2010

Done curing

After a week of curing, it's ready for the next step. Basically the way you tell that it's done is that the meat should be relatively firm - you can still squish it but it's not floppy or anything. You wash the cure off at this point. I've put it on a drying rack which is sitting in an old cookie sheet and it goes in the fridge for yet another day. This lets it dry out a bit and form a nice surface to take the smoke when I smoke it tomorrow.

There are toothpicks in the one on the left so I can tell which is which later (I used two different curing recipes). The one on the left also looks much fattier because of which side happens to be up in this picture - that's the side that used to have the skin.

Interestingly enough it has no scent at all - no hint of not being fresh, but also it doesn't smell like maple at all.

More Monday after it's been smoked and I've fried up a test piece. If it's too salty you can blanch it, otherwise I'll slice it up and probably freeze most of it. That timing should work out well since Tuesday I have a shoot scheduled and I'd hate to be trying to keep one eye on the smoker and the other on a beautiful naked woman!

(Update - the smoke went fine, I'll try frying some up tonight. I'll blog it Tuesday since as it turns out I'll have more time then - the potential model was getting less and less responsive and I don't know if she intended to come or not but I finally had to pull the plug on the shoot. I just can't be confirming with babysitters if I'm not confident that the model's coming, and this is a pattern I recognize with first timers who are getting cold feet. Basically if you're a first timer and you're interested in this kind of modeling you have to have some basic communication skills or I'm just going to assume the worst and move on to the next person in line. Speaking of which I'll go ahead and schedule somebody else for the studio in the next week or two and then in mid-Feb if it's warmed up a bit I'll see about arranging some of the outdoor shoots I have candidates lined up for. On the plus side the portrait folks have been absolutely wonderful lately, no complaints there.)

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