Introduction: Whisky, Sage and Chili Cured Beef

Hey everyone ! I finally made my own cured meat and it is quite delicious. I suggest you try it !

It is nothing like the possum jerky I once saw here...

Here are some ideas and tips about how to make your own cured meat. The good thing about curing your meat yourself is that you can customize everything to your liking, be it the meat or the spices you use in the marinade, the saltness, the dryness... The bad thing is that you can get botulism. We'll go back to that later.

WARNING : EATING RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEAT IS AMAZING but don't be dumb, it can also be dangerous. Exert common sense.

If you like it, please consider voting for me in the "snacks" and "some like it hot" contests! :)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

... I mean ingredients :

A beautiful piece of meat of your choice

Coarse salt

Sodium or potassium nitrate

Spices and stuff for marinating : I used whisky, sage, chili rub, salt, pepper, a carrot and pine honey

And last but not least, a dry, cool, ventilated place to let the meat dry for a couple of weeks.

Step 2: Choosing and Preparing the Meat

You can use beef, pork, duck... As long as it is a chunky and delicious piece of meat of know origin and age.

You can also hunt your meat. I live in a city and I don't eat humans, dogs, rats or pigeons. Sad. I therefore had to go to a professional meat seller.

The best course of action if you're not sure for the first time is to ask your butcher advice, he will be able to help you if you tell him what you want to do.I chose, with the help of mine, a piece of beef with as little nerves and fat as possible : it is important to remove as much as you can of what isn't muscle for they can make the meat go bad faster. (With the exception of dried ham, duck breast, or any cut near with the skin in which case the fat is a uniform layer that you cant to keep.)

Step 3: Salting / Desalting

This step is optional. To reduce the curing time of the meat, you can do a quick salting / desalting process, which consists of first rubbing the meat in salt and leaving it there for a couple of days so as to get some water out of the meat and then letting it soak in a big volume of fresh water to remove the excess salt, without rehydrating the meat, thanks to osmosis.

I mixed in the salt an amount (0.1% in regard to the mass of salt) of potassium nitrate, which I bought in a professional food supplies store for very cheap (La Bovida, in France). The potassium nitrate slowly releases potassium nitrite which helps prevent bacteria (especially Clostridium botulinum) from growing.

I put a large amount of that salt mixture in the bottom of a terrine and rubbed the meat in some more of it. I used coarse sea salt, some people prefer mine salt to prevent the iodide taste. I don't think it matters that much and iodide happens to be an antiseptic, which can only be good in preventing bacteria to settle in your meat.

This will sit in the fridge for 12 to 72 hours depending on the size of the piece of meat. I did 24 hours for an 800 g (about 2 pounds) piece of beef.

I then covered the meat with more salt and sealed the whole shabang in a plastic bag to prevent the moisture from the fridge to make everything taste like fridge. Once in a while, check for an excess of water and remove it from the terrine.

After 24 hours in the salt, I rinsed it with a LOT of running water and let it soak in a sealed tupperware in fresh water, changed regularly, for 12 more hours.

Step 4: Marinating

This is where you get creative! Choose the tastes you like.

I made a marinade from Glengoyne 10 years single malt scotch whisky, a non peated highland malt, a shaved carrot, pine honey, sage, thyme, different chilli rubs (some of the delicious Slap Ya Mama rub), salt (not too much!) and pepper.

I mixed everything thouroughly and put the meat and marinade for 72 hours in an air-free ziploc bag in the fridge, massaging it once in a while by hand to homogenize the mixture and maximize meat exposure to the marinade.

You can replace the whisky by wine, tequila, vodka if you're curing bison, probably beer...

Step 5: Drying

After 72 hours of marinating, I got the meat out and let it drip then dry in air. I covered it in a mixture of pepper, some chilli salt and ground dried sage leaves. I put it in the garage (Dry, cool, ventilated. You need all three for efficient drying). I went to check on it and massage it once every two days the first week and then once a week, so as to make sure it would dry evenly. Once it's lost between 30 and 45% of its original weight, it's done! It took about three weeks for mine. I like it quite pink in the middle and "fresh" so you can probably dry it more, once again, to your liking.

Cut it very thin because it's better, don't forget to share it and don't "taste" the whole thing at once, it's so easy to eat half of it in one go...

To preserve it, I keep the uncut chunk tightly wrapped in a towel. You can also cut slices and vacuum seal them if you've got a vacuum sealer, which I don't. But it's definitely the best way to preserve it.

NB : Some mold may develop on the surface. From what I've read and discussed, as long as it's not black or hairy white stringy weird shit, it should be fine. You can see white and green mold on all home or small batch made dried meat, it's not something to be afraid of. I refer you to the excellent wrightfood blog that has a page about meat curing safety for more insight. His blog is generally full of great knowledge and is really helpful.

Comments

author
Vazgi made it!(author)2016-04-27

How long did it take from start to finish?

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-27

A bit less than a month

author
Mihsin made it!(author)2016-09-30

Armenians are masters of pastrami where I live. Good job, I'll start on it this week.

author
stewartalsop made it!(author)2016-06-05

This looks fantastic,a must for me to try in the Fall. Should make a great Christmas gift!

author
babybayrs made it!(author)2016-04-29

I favorited and voted it by just looking at the first image. I'll come back and read it later. The best looking meat/food/snack I have seen in many years!

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-05-03

Thanks!

author
MaidenMoonshineGrace made it!(author)2016-04-28

Whisky, Sage and Chilli Cured Ancestors

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-28

They very much did. Merci pour ce trait d'esprit.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-04-27

Looks delicious my friend, you did a great job out here. Of course, it's not me who's gonna taste it and it's not me who's gonna judge it, but it's definitely me who's gonna drink that whisky instead.

And, thanx for that patch btw. Did you know 'patch' is my best boose ever? Patxaran. You can survive on it..

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-27

Thanks man. You live in belgium right ? Isn't that far from le pays basque ?

The trick is to drink the whisky with the meat. It's a good snack after school.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-04-27

I don't live in belgium anymore, we share the same country now ;) Le Pays Basque is my second home for over 20 years, also. Many places to love, you know..

author
GaharietM made it!(author)2016-04-26

Hi and great job! The marinade step happens within the fridge or just at room temperature?

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

In the fridge!

author
GaharietM made it!(author)2016-04-26

Thanks, maybe you should specify this, since the first pre-marinate (only salt) step you mention it's in the fridge, but not the second one (with all additional herbs).

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-27

Edited!

author
GaharietM made it!(author)2016-04-27

Now it's very clear, thanks! I asked because some marination and fermentation processes require room temperature, and it wasn't clear.

author
stoobers made it!(author)2016-04-26

Which of the above steps involves the use of the "pink salt" (the nitrate salt)? Do you put it on every time you mention "salt", or only the very first stage?

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

I just mix it with the coarse salt for salting, one gram per kilo sea salt

author
stoobers made it!(author)2016-04-26

Hello,

The question is, how often? Every time you say "salt", do you mean "table salt plus nitrate salt". You had one step where you packed the meat in salt to shave off some time. was that step table salt or table salt plus nitrate?

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-27

I'm sorry I was unclear : the only step in which I used sodium nitrate is when the piece of meat is in the terrine with a lot of salt (step 3 : salting). That's it. All other mentions of salt are just regular "uncut" sea salt.

author
Ph0b0s made it!(author)2016-04-26

Super tutoriel ! Je pense que je vais tester ça rapidement. Tu as utilisé quoi exactement comme morceau de viande ? Tu as une idée du temps de conservation ?

Encore bravo !

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

Merci ! J'ai acheté une pièce parée, sans doute de la noix mais demande à un boucher, il saura.

Le temps de conservation, je dirais au minimum plusieurs semaines voire mois une fois sèche si tu la gardes en un seul bloc, et elle continuera à sécher. Si tu en fais des tranches il vaudrait mieux les garder dans des sachets sous vide, jusqu'à plusieurs années je pense!

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

Si t'es sur Grenoble je te ferai goûter :)

author
Ph0b0s made it!(author)2016-04-26

Merci pour les infos, et pour la proposition, mais je travaille en Suisse et vis sur Paris, pour le coup Grenoble c'est pas la porte à côté ;)

author
shambuda2000 made it!(author)2016-04-24

Interesting. When I lived in Spain, it was extremely common to see jamon (cured pork leg) hanging practically everywhere. Your recipe and preparation is very similar, Nice job!!

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

Thanks, I haven't tried pork yet I think the next experiment will be duck breast.

author
pastormick made it!(author)2016-04-25

Spectacular :)

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

Thanks ! You should make some :) It's quite easy and rewarding

author
kleetus92 made it!(author)2016-04-25

What is pine honey? Literally honey from bees servicing pine trees? If that's the case, I've never heard of such a thing. I would assume it has a more aromatic flavor, not exactly pinesol, but more gin/juniper berry in nature?

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-26

Hey, I'm glad you asked actually! Pine honey differs a bit from other honeys in that the bees don't harvest from flowers but rather harvest the honeydew from aphids, which they then turn into honey. Pine honey has a very dark color and tastes much stronger than pale honeys, like some mountain or dry area honeys (chestnut tree, briar...)

author
That+Redhead made it!(author)2016-04-25

Delish!

author
mike_skinner made it!(author)2016-04-24

Excellent! Looks amazing- thanks for sharing!

author
Edbed made it!(author)2016-04-24

This looks absolutely delicious. Great instructable.

author
deluges made it!(author)2016-04-24

Thanks!

About This Instructable

30,709views

453favorites

License:

Bio: I'm a French student of chemistry who enjoys woodworking, tiny crafts and tinkering as pastimes.
More by deluges:Leather Tool RollLeather and Waxed Cotton Motorcycle SaddlebagLive Edge Boxwood Tea Spoon
Add instructable to: