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After eating at Luke's Gastronomy in Kingston last weekend, I just can't get charcuterie out of my head. I was already somewhat interested in learning the art of curing and smoking meats, but after tasting his selection I was sold. I have to learn this art. I would love to serve guests some charcuterie and respond to the question "where did you get this?" with "I made it".

Has anyone played with this art?

I'm looking at this book as a starting point.

http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298

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Sharing a charcuterie and cheese plate with some tasty vino is one of my favourite ways to dine.

I would love to learn the art, but I don't think I have the kitchen to do it. I have a bunch of Italian buddies who make salami with their family every year. It's tasty stuff and a nice, annual, family tradition.

Mike- Is Luke's Gastronomy that place with the kid as the chef? I think I read about him a few months back. I hope to check it out some time on my way through K-town.

I just got back from Scottsdale tonight and I ate at some pretty great places. The Fairmont had a charcuterie starter that was all cured game meats. Yummy stuff. We also shared a side dish of lobster, truffle mac and cheese that kicked 10 kinds of ass. We also had some California Zin that was paired amazingly with the game meats.

Plus, the amuse bouche was french fries cooked in duck fat with a bunch of different aioli. It seems like truffles are everywhere in "Modern American" and Steak House style restaurants, but I'm not complaining.

God, I love traveling and eating!

I've been wanting to go to Black Hoof for a while, but it is a bit of a pain. No resos and cash only. I make it to Toronto so rarely lately that I usually have somewhere to be so I like making reservations that mesh with my evening plans. I might have to make a special trip.

Cheers to food!

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AcidNintendoOrgan:

Question 1: What are the absolute essentials in terms of equipment/gadgets/doodads that one might need to start off in the home kitchen???

It all depends on what you want to focus on (pâtés, terrines, bacon, sausage, rillette etc.) as there are many different areas of charcuterie, but here goes my list for home...

1. A spare fridge and small chest freezer.

i) it is way more economical to buy whole or half animals than it is to buy individual cuts. With some careful packing I can get 2 1/2 hogs (cut and dressed) in my chest 21 cubic foot chest freezer. Contact an animal share CSA in your area for pricing. I can probably put you in touch with one in Ontario. Since sanitation with curing, drying and smoking as with all food preparation is paramount, having a spare fridge to thaw your meat is way better than having it drip on the veg and beer.

2. Non- Reactive containers, large plastic bags

i) think plastic totes, food grade bags or tupperware of varying sizes. Salt and metal do not mix and will turn the meat rancid!

ii) varying sizes due to the fact that you want whatever you are curing to stay in contact at all times with the cure itself. As the salt and sugar suck the water out of the meat, that moisture will take the solids with it in a larger container.

3. Meat Grinder

I bought the grinding and stuffing attachment for my kitchen aid stand mixer. Although it is only the 300watt mixer. It does the trick. Do not waste your money on those "home" meat grinder from the likes or Waring Pro...the have no guts and the fat never grinds uniformly into the meat creating addition frustration and delay. A good old manual grinder, cleaned up works well too.

4. Smoker

Uhm...there are tonnes. You can get some great ones from Crappy tire (Bradley etc.) that are electric for around $350. It is important when buying electric to get something with programable thermostat for hot and cold smoking. I have a charcoal chamber smoker for home (I use a modified bread proofer for commercial projects), which I got from said tire store that can double as a BBQ. Great for hot and cold smoking for around $230. Or, MacGyver(sp?) one up with some bricks, or one of those shitty picnic table tents and some plastic wrap with a fire in the center.

5. Bleach and rubber gloves

Again the sanitation thing. At home when I was my pans, grates, utensils etc., I always add two cap-fulls of bleach to the dish water to ensure all the nasty bacteria is gone. The gloves are great for handling raw meat, sanitation and mixing BBQ sauce into pulled pork.

6. Vessels

Whether they be creme brulée type ramkekins, or pâté molds like cast iron enameled terrines, certain products do require certain cookware. I will add a link at the end that I order stuff from. Also a nice piece of wood is nice for a lot of cocktail party presentaions.

7. Good quality meat. This should probably be number one but it is pretty obvious. If a farmer has taken the time to set up an aforementioned CSA program, they probably have great heritage breed meat. A bit of research and you weill find it.

That's pretty much it! I hope that helps.

Charcuterie Wares

Vessels and things

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AcidNintendoOrgan:

Question 2: Top 3 books, in your opinion, for learning the craft.

I have these and they are great:

Pork and Sons

Terrine

In addition to the book Bouche mentioned above.

Also a notebook is essential. Learning from your mistakes (and successes), although cliché, is accurate. Write everything down including ingredients, temps, durations, weights and measures for future reference.

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After eating at Luke's Gastronomy in Kingston last weekend, I just can't get charcuterie out of my head. I was already somewhat interested in learning the art of curing and smoking meats, but after tasting his selection I was sold. I have to learn this art. I would love to serve guests some charcuterie and respond to the question "where did you get this?" with "I made it".

Has anyone played with this art?

I'm looking at this book as a starting point.

http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298

Why not take a run over to the Rideau Chapters and buy Canadian. :)

They are showing 2 in stock.

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