Ready to try some Dry Curing!
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Ready to try some Dry Curing!
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Thread: Ready to try some Dry Curing!

  1. #11
    Hmm. I happen to know the hosting site is safe, its my NAS. I don't have a photobucket account. See if you can ignore the security error.
    I hooked a vinyl hose to the humidifier and snake it right into the fridge now. Also the fan isn't working, but the replacemebe should be here tomorrow. Need to get some air circulation going.


  2. #12
    At this point I think my current setup is a proof of concept. Finally added fans today to get some circulation. Still haven't drill exhaust holes, but from what I've read, a fridge will lower Relative Humidity values to 40-50% which is too low for dry cured meats, so I am wondering if the vents are necessary at all. One thing for sure, lots of condensate at 83% R.H. it is set at right now. I've been lowering it about 1-2 points after each 3 days, or at least that is the plan.

    Any luck on viewing the pictures? I am self-hosting on my NAS device.


  3. #13
    Dick, I had to add a security exception to be able to view the pics. I'd have to do that for each and every photo album you create.

    It really is much easier for everyone viewing if the photos were embedded into the post, because a lot of folks may not feel comfortable creating security exceptions.

    Another option is to upload them as attachments (insert image - from your computer). The only issues with this are 1) this creates more bandwidth overhead for the forum, and 2) Only forum members who are logged in can view attachments.

    Just trying to give you options to make your post easier to follow.

    Last edited by TentHunter; 02-13-2016 at 08:46 PM.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  4. #14
    OK Cliff! My first "photobucket" post!

    Soaking the fibrous casings. I selected 2.5" x 20" for these sausages

    Grinding. This went very fast.

    Mixing & Filling Stuffer

    Stuffing the last casing (that's my son helping)

    Into water bath fermentation. The temp had crept up from the set point of 68 up to 74 degrees by the end. I think was because the fermentation created heat and the immersion impeller running, but probably more of the added heat came from the cold weather and the heater running in the room.

    Into the dry cure chamber. They "conditioned" at room temp for about 3 hours immediately after the water bath fermentation lasting 4 days. The water in the bucket was kind of smelly and oddly colored afterward.

    Two shots of the humidification running. I read in my book that you begin R.H. at 85% but I think its probably best to keep at lower setting.

    Here is a admittedly blurry shot of the temp/humidity controllers running.

    The larger display is just a home temperature and humidity monitor with the remote sensor I normally keep on my patio placed in the fridge to verify the temp/RH readings on the controllers. I had to adjust the humidity controller which was off out of the box. working good now. haven't figured how to switch the temp controller to read Fahrenheit yet.

    A couple of things about this setup. The fan sandwiched between the fridge and the lower cabinet is unnecessary. It also doesn't work, the weight of the fridge is distorting the fan. It does act as an effective conduit however. What I have since done, is to stuff and tape a vinyl hose into the directional cap that rest atop the humidifier from which the water vapor exits. I've snaked the tube into the fridge. It would be easier to drill an appropriate sized hole into the fridge through which to snake such a hose, or even through the top of the fridge perhaps, eliminating the need for the cabinet.
    I've propped up fans in the base of the fridge, two 120mm PC case fans running on 9 volt battery. I need to wire a dedicated fan controller for them and find a more permanent mounting position. I and thinking to use the upper rack and mount one on left and the other on right blowing in opposite directions to create a circular flow pattern? Not sure what the optimal placement is. I had planned to install lighting to generate heat using 300watt Halogen bulbs with a dimmer to control the heat. This would permit heated fermentation when necessary or operation in cold environment. The temperature controller (an STC-1000 commonly available on Amazon) can do heating as well as cooling.
    Also, since I didn't realize the fan wasn't going to work, I had to get new ones. This took a couple of days. I am planning to wipe the casings with vinegar today perhaps as there was some mold growing, very minimal and white colored - not enough to distinguish of is the good powdery type yet. no other colors such a dangerous black mold. Until I put the fans in, there was significant condensate within the fridge. I'm planning to lower the RH setting to 80%, I think 85% is probably too high. I've read that you can inoculate the chamber with penicillin mold. I think I have a hunk of blue cheese I can use for this, and break a piece off to set inside!
    Ultimately, I will want to setup a microprocessor controller to operate the fans, humidification and temperature setting with data logging capability. I think there are standalone temp and humidity logging devices that are cheap and small available. I was planning to use an Arduino or and Arduino/RaspberryPi but I'm not much of a programmer as it turns out. This may be a long term project for me therefore.


  5. #15
    Very cool Dick! The combo of the pics and the explanation together in a single post makes it all come together very nicely!

    Question: How do you like the sausage mixer?

    I have heard very mixed reviews, some like them and some don't. One complaint I've heard is for smaller batches it's actually more work/time to clean the mixer than just mixing the sausage by hand in a tub.

    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  6. #16
    Yah. The mixer is great for making 10# sausage batches. I believe the model I have can do up to 20, though I suspect the sweet spot is probably someplace around 15#. I think to do less than say 8# would be problematic. In that case, I'd use my stand mixer paddle to mix. For a 5# batch, I think it is not worth the effort, but those same folks complaining about mixing a 5# batch would be in a different predicament doing a 10-15# batch. Interestingly, I had no instructions with mine, though I have since emailed and received them. I think that these type mixers are meant to be turned in ONE direction (CCW), and don't mix well in the other. I asked my son to mix and he did, but looked like it wasn't coming together. Then I tried it and had no better luck. Then I tried the opposite direction and it was like magic, the sausage came together like David Copperfield had vanished. It was physically more strenuous to turn the crank in the CCW direction. I'll tell you what though, I'd have had smearing to try the same in my stand mixer with this much meat.

    Frankly, some things are fun to do as a hobby, and some things are practical to do for eating right. Making pepperoni is really more of the former. I'm willing to take some time wasting inefficiency to do it. I think I'd have done only 5# if I didn't have the mixer. Most recipes I think call for 10# and I think that the mixer I have does well with 10# batches.

    Well, there you have it.

    Today I placed some blue cheese in my chamber and cleaned off the mold on the casings wiping them down with vinegar and paper towel. I reset my RH to 79% and hasn't dipped below 80% since resetting the fans, now on ac/dc adapter to power them. They ran out of juice overnight. The issue with this is that the condensate accumulates at the hose outlet near the bottom and the RH sensor is at the top so it becomes inaccurate without air circulation. The bad smell is going away too. I hope the blue cheese will dominate my chamber and become the dominant culture of mold. I'm sure there is a more formal way to do it, but this is what I did.

    This ^^ picture is with the blue cheese and fans running and that I've cleaned off the casings... There are pieces of blue cheese here and there. The bottom of the fridge is covered with a piece of press-n-seal.

    This ^^ picture shows the controllers better. The manuals for operating them aren't the best but it gets the job done. You can see my mug shot in reflection on this one too!


  7. #17
    Thanks for the update!

    I've not heard of that blue cheese trick before, but it makes sense. I might try it in the fridge I use for all my charcuterie stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyDick
    I'll tell you what though, I'd have had smearing to try the same in my stand mixer with this much meat.
    Yeah, every sausage maker I know who's tried mixing with a stand mixer ends up not recommending it because of fat smearing.

    I mix ten pound batches quite often by hand, in a tub, without any real trouble. To keep my hands warm and the meat cold, I don a pair of cotton gloves with nitrile gloves overtop (the knit cotton hot gloves that big poppa sells - love 'em!).

    I keep thinking I'd like a sausage mixer for bigger 15 - 20 lb batches. Then I can see the benefits outweighing the extra cleanup time for the mixer (tubs are just so easy to clean), but I don't do batches that size often enough to justify the cost. Maybe one of these days...
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  8. #18
    Thanks for the tip on hand mixing! Sometimes it' a pain to haul out all the gear for making sausage. Love those fibrous casing though. Hopefully this winter is chilly here in Florida and I'll get more opportunity to use my gear. I might even risk an occasional hot weather sausage - the #22 throat makes fast work of even ten pounds, if I precut into big chunks up to 2-1/2 to 3" depending on the plate size, you're done grinding in under 5 minutes for ten pounds of meat. For the coarse plates, it grinds as fast as you can feed it into the Throat.

    I keep updating the thread as the drying progresses.


  9. #19
    I'm growing suspicious of my "water bath" fermentation method. I read about it in a book as a viable method, but I suspect that it was a gateway for contamination. I have a new layer of whitish mold growing. I read that "powdery" is good, and "fluffy" is bad. Frankly, I can't really tell if its fluffy powdery slimy or anything other than white mold. What is worse however is the smell. It doesn't smell very appealing to me. I am going to be out of town for a few days, and will have a good sense when I return if this batch is destined for the circular file or not. All in all, not so upset about it even if I do dump. I keep waiting for the aroma to improve and start to smell like something I'd eat rather than burn. I did learn some things and I now have the chamber all prepped. I think I might read up about inoculating the chamber with good mold before I begin a second batch, but frankly, now that I've finally committed and its operational, I'm thinking that I won't wait so long to try more. I think that you can burn sulfur candles and spray down with bleach to eradicate the bugs in case I need to go that route.


  10. #20
    Yep. Dumped. Smelled terrible. Found a fruitfly in my chamber too which I'm not sure how that guy got in.

    Before next effort, which will be next week, pending delivery of some smaller diameter casings, which I figure will be easier to work with, allow gifts, and be less prone to hardening. Will do 70/30 pork beef on next round. Will NOT ferment in water bath! Will SEAL the dry cure chamber and add air fan exhaust vents to permit drying with fans attached - since these are exhaust, they will not let fruit flies past fan blades spinning though I am considering some screen material to seal. Also going to bleach it all down, and inoculate with Bactoferm 600 (a good penicillin mold) and also likely to spray the casings too to stave off the fluffy mold, which is what I discovered mine was - yellowish and fluffy and smelled terrible. I don't think my blue cheese experiment worked by the way. I think I am also going to find a plug for the huge fan hole since I discovered a <1inch hole works fine with the vinyl tubing. I'm thinking about taking a piece of hard plastic drilled in multiple spots to permit more even delivery of the water vapor throughout the chamber. last of all, I might also add the lamp heat source to add heat to the the chamber in the fermentation stage. The temp controller can do both heat and cooling control and I already have a lamp base, actually two. For the fermentation I might go with some incandescent bulb(s) rather than hassle with the Halogen I plan to ultimately use - worried about the high humidity and the exposed terminals on that unit.

    I am thinking also about doing a simultaneous Landjager batch, but I think that needs to be pressed a day before fermentation. I think the pressing action into flattened links will help it to dry faster too.

    Sort of sad to see wasted meat, but better safe than sorry. I think also that I had no initial airflow and that gave the bad mold a jumpstart. Headed to Vegas tomorrow so I didn't want to return to a biological contamination site when I got home.



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