When we started raising these fabulous Red Wattle Hogs, we were immediately drawn to the idea of making charcuterie at home. Charcuterie is the age old practice of dry curing and aging meat in a controlled environment resulting in an intensely flavored meat that is simply unlike anything else. The thing that always stopped us from giving charcuterie making a try, was the fact that to properly age the dry cured meat, we would need a temperature and humidity controlled environment and the fridge was just not quite right. Not to mention, having an uncovered piece of meat hanging out in the fridge for months on end would likely result in contaminants getting all over the surface. Life went on and we put the idea of charcuterie to the side; considering it to be a “someday” activity. Someday happened last spring!
Jim joined a Facebook group that was full of people from all across the world that were making their own dry cured meats. Over time he noticed how often people mentioned using “UMAi bags” to dry cure and age meat in their fridge and the fabulous results they were getting. He was intrigued! He bought a few kits and spice blends and was ready to give it a go.
The first thing he tried was a pork shoulder cut that is called a “coppa”. A coppa comes from the prime set of muscles in the upper part of the hog’s shoulder. Our butchers generally take the coppa out and make cured bacon for us. If you have had our “Cottage bacon”; you have had a wet brined, cured and smoked coppa. When you dry cure and age a coppa you end up with what is called capicola. Sliced thinly, it has such an incredible flavor. The higher amounts of fat in the shoulder meat make for a silky smooth texture in the finished capicola. I don’t have any pictures of Jim’s first attempt, but I can assure you that it came out perfectly and we have enjoyed it immensely. We also learned that our old bargain brand meat slicer was not a joy to use (though it did work!) and that we could certainly stand to upgrade it a bit.
We have made several more charcuterie items over the last several months. In addition to the capicola, we have taken a center cut pork loin roast and cured it as a lonzino. A beef eye of round roast was turned in to a bresola. We like that variety so much that we took a boneless New York strip roast and trimmed it up so that it is mostly fat free and used the remaining bresola spice kits on it (pictured above after trimming and spicing). We also have the other half of that beef loin roast packed in an UMAi bag and aging in the fridge (unspiced) so that in 30 ish days we can have a couple top of the line, dry aged steaks for dinner. Next up will be a variety of dry cured and aged salamis.
In an effort to help our customers easily connect with these cool products (the UMAi bags and spice blends), Jim contacted the company about being a retail dealer for their products. They said “yes!” and now Jim is an UMAi dealer. What does that mean for you? It means that we have a supply of UMAi kits, spices and bags on hand that we can sell to you directly with no waiting on shipping. Just let us know what you would like and we’ll make sure to get it to you. We also have several suitable pork cuts and even a few beef cuts in our freezers ready to be turned in to your first (or second or third) charcuterie project. All you need to supply is a good kitchen scale so you can weigh out your spices and curing salts accurately. We’ve been using this kitchen scale from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXXBQWD
If you would like to give your own charcuterie project a go, just drop us an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org