Charcutepalooza - pronounced “shar-coo-ta-pa-loo-za”

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Sunday, January 30, 2011 11:41 AM

Once again, I have been inspired by Rachel and Tom over at Dog Island Farm.  Those two just never quit.  Following their progress has been and continues to be quite an inspiration.  I wish I could find the time to blog, log, and research as much as Rachel does. But alas, that good ol' adult onset ADD gets me every time.  "Oooooh... (insert bright shiny object here)..."

On their blog "A Year Without Groceries", Rachel has written about joining in the Charcutepalooza challenge.  It's a year of meat, exploring the craft of salting, smoking, and curing.  Simply put, she had me at bacon.

Here are the rules I need to follow:
  1. Celebrate the age-old talents and skills of charcterie with contemporary takes on techniques, flavors and presentation.  Hell yes!
  2. Agree to use humanely raised meat, sourced as close to home as possible.  From my own yard whenever possible, otherwise I have access to two local butchers who sell locally raised, sustainably farmed, humanely slaughtered meat.
  3. Write about the experience, not just how the charcuterie is made, but how I use it, serve it, and flavor it.  I feel a few dinner parties coming on.
  4. Buy a copy of 'Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing' by Michael Ruhman.  Ordered from Amazon along with a book containing 200 cheese recipes.  I must have a variety of cheeses to serve with all this wondrous meat I'll be making.
  5. Cook along as often as practical.  This should be easy as it's only one recipe per month.  Well, actually, there are two recipes/challenges each month, the Apprentice Challenge, and the Charcutiere Challenge.  But I only need to prepare one.  This might prove difficult if both recipes make me drool.
  6. Post about my experience on the 15th of each month.  Yes, that means I'll be blogging more often.  But I promise to blog about other happenings here on the homestead more often as well.  This will not be turning into a meat only blog.  Promise!
  7. Display the Badge on my website (optional).  Hopefully I'll be able to get that widget to work once I finish this post.  I was trying earlier but it wasn't working for me.
So, although I'm one month late to the challenge, I've decided to join in.  Luckily, they've indicated that everyone can make up for January by preparing the Duck Prosciutto sometime during the upcoming year.  Somehow, I think that will happen sooner than later.

The February Challenge is the Salt Cure.  Joining in on the Apprentice Challenge, I'll be making fresh bacon.  If successful, I will most likely be tempted at some point in the near future to try the Charcutiere Challenge and make panceta.  But for now it's bacon.  Good thing spring is coming and the egg production here at the homestead is slowing increasing.  I may just have to host brunch for a few friends.