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Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  3,330 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
CHARCUTERIE—a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and prosciutto—is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking, and drying. In addition to providing classi ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published November 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company
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E. Kahn
Jan 17, 2014 E. Kahn rated it liked it
I got Salumi together with Charcuterie, by the same authors. This review will cover both books.

Charcuterie covers sausagemaking while Salumi is about dry curing whole cuts of meat. Both books focus heavily on the Italian styles.

The books contain a great deal of information regarding their topic (the word charcuterie encompasses sausages, cured meats and other foods such as pates and terrines). Unfortunately, some of this information is incomplete, misleading or simply wrong. For a full discussio
Jeff Kukral
Dec 27, 2012 Jeff Kukral rated it it was amazing
Christmas 2011 was what my wife called my meat themed Christmas. I got a meat grinder and sausage stuffer. And I got this book. I immediately started to red this book. I started doing my meat projects (and documenting them on my blog and I was fascinated. My first project was home cured bacon.

With my meat bible in hand (this book) I have taken off down the road of meat curing. I am even trying to start a business all do to this book. I found my passion.
Apr 08, 2015 Lynda rated it it was amazing
Well written and informative with recipes that are easy to follow, this is not a cookbook I would recommend to everyone. The corned beef that I made was delicious and time consuming. It took 5 days just to brine it. There are recipes that I will definitely use, but generally this book is aimed at foodies with the time to dedicate to the process.
Nov 25, 2015 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, reviewed
The book gives a broad introduction to curing meat with salt, smoking (cold and hot), fresh sausages, emulsified sausages, dry-cured sausages, pates and terrines, the confit technique, rillette, and some highlights of sauces and condiments which traditionally accompany charcuterie.

I am most familiar with the techniques and recipes for fresh and smoked sausages and enjoy their treatment here. Of the hard learned wisdom I've picked up over the past 10+ years, there were no major tips I found missi
Jo Schnittman
Feb 19, 2017 Jo Schnittman rated it it was amazing
The most comprehensive book on the subject out there.
Apr 23, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing
I don't read cookbooks cover-to-cover but I've trawled through this enough to get everything I can out of it until I need a recipe.

Cool book, very interesting topic. It's fun to realize that food preservation was once a matter of necessity, but that even with refrigeration, canning, freezing, vacuum-sealing, etc. we still continue to salt, smoke and cure things because it tastes really good.

Many of the recipes are a bit out of my reach, I don't have smoking equipment and my climate doesn't reall
Mike Echon
Dec 23, 2012 Mike Echon rated it it was amazing
After reading Michael Ruhlmans book I feel more confident to approach charcuterie production at home. It's an interesting read with many formulations to help the novice on their journey to creating artisan meats and sausages in a safe manner. Although, I somewhat dispute the claim that you must add ferment culture and nitrite/ nitrate to dry sausages. I know this from eating and also making Croatian dry sausages with Croatian friends for many years that the only salt used was Kosher or Sea Salt ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of preserved meat
Shelves: cookbooks, nonfiction
I received this book for Christmas and just finished reading it. I tend to skim many of my cookbooks, but this one I read cover to cover. I enjoy Ruhlman's writing (The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, etc) and in this cookbook he gives an interesting and informative, yet concise background on charcuterie. I wanted this book because I love eating charcuterie and wanted to try my hand at making some at home. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but Ruhlman states that they've been develop ...more
Jo Lin
Mar 22, 2009 Jo Lin rated it liked it
I decided to read this book more because I'm a fan of Michael Ruhlman in general, not that I actually wanted to make my own sausages.

As with Ruhlman's other books, this was a light, entertaining read. I'd have liked more detail on the technical/historical aspects of charcuterie preparation, but in all fairness that's because I wasn't reading this book as a recipe book per se.

That said, the recipes are easy to follow (kudos for adding pictures), and Ruhlman and Polcyn's passion for charcuterie
Great collection of information and recipes about an art that has fallen out of the popular conscience. I greatly enjoyed the narration and appreciated the resources in the back of the book. My only disappointment (and it isn't small) is in the complete lack of pictures. The choice could have been made for reasons of cost or convenience and either are valid. For me - pictures greatly enhance the experience and my desire to reproduce the author's creations.
Apr 28, 2011 Marleene rated it liked it
This is a very well written and comprehensively researched book. The illustrations, depicting cuts of meat or "how to" do specific tasks are very are clear and lessen the disappointment of not having photographs of the finished dishes. I probably would have given a 4 or 5 star rating - but I don't eat pork. This is essentially a compendium of pork heavy recipes and techniques despite the inclusion of some beef, poultry and vegetable recipes.
Apr 06, 2008 mj rated it liked it
Recommends it for: epicurians
Shelves: reference
I want to learn to dry and preserve meats, and was hoping this book would teach me how to do so safely. It was a 300 page book with about 5 pages of useful general information on preserving food, and 295 pages of fancy epicurean recipes for doing so.

Mostly I learned that wet, thick, air dried preserved meats need nitrates, while thinner, quickly dired meats do not need them as much.
Jun 22, 2009 Derek rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-cooking
This book is a great primer in how to get started curing, smoking and making your own charcuterie. It's written by Michael Ruhlman, of "Soul of a Chef' fame as well as cookbooks for all of the Keller eateries. Not only does it give you a great overview of the history and origins, but provides technique and great step by steps and starting points from things like confit to lardo.
Glenn L. Krum
Aug 03, 2014 Glenn L. Krum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun food projects

Fun food projects

A great variety of ideas and recipes to try. Written to accommodate the home cook and someone just trying to expand their culinary skills. Lots of recipes for "go bys" and lots of warnings on when and where to be particularly cautious during food preparation. Probably sells a lot of meat grinders and smokers, chuckle.
Jan 08, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it
A very informative and practical book, charged with honest prose and refreshingly unglamorous layout. With the probable exception of some vegetarians, those who believe that good food is about good food and is neither about photography nor about boring upper middle yuppies or stay-at-home mums looking for a fan base via blogdom will appreciate this book. I loved it.
Jan 28, 2009 Ahsin rated it it was amazing
Yeah, this is what I am talking about. It was fun buying 2lbs of pork belly from the Korean grocer, skinning it, salting it and hanging it for 2 weeks in my parents' basement. Best pancetta I've ever had.

My one beef with the book--how can you possibly write a "definitive book" on charcuterie and only make passing reference to Spain? Huh?
Jul 04, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it
As noted by others, a good primer on sausage making, including bacon, terrines, etc. The real genius behind this book is Brian Polcyn. If you ever get a chance to see Polcyn in action (Youtube, TV, etc), do so. A really handy book with excellent, helpful illustrations. Everyone should make their own bacon; so easy...
Jun 18, 2011 Shiva rated it it was amazing
This is the first "cook book", if you can call it that, that i read from cover to cover. The content is informative and useful, but also entertaining. Its opened up a whole new and really exciting cooking style for me that I have been putting to use with great success, my friends and family can attest to that.
Natashya KitchenPuppies
Feb 21, 2011 Natashya KitchenPuppies rated it really liked it
I have made the tasso ham, peameal bacon and fermented sauerkraut so far.
How wonderful to be able to make cured meats at home!
Accessible to the home cook and DIY enthusiast. Some recipes are more complicated than others, or require more in the way of specifics - but there are plenty of recipes to choose from.
Aug 06, 2009 Dale rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking-food
It would be hard to find a book on this topic that is more comprehensive, approachable, and delectable. My friends, get ready for all manner of dry cured sausages, prosciuttos, pates and confits from the Weeks and Wheeler kitchen!
Angela Boord
Jan 07, 2012 Angela Boord rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbook
Fun book just to read. I've been making my own breakfast sausage using "Da Bomb" ginger-sage recipe and it really is "Da Bomb"... much better than buying the sugar-laden, MSG tainted stuff at the store... and easy, too, if you start with ground pork!
Jul 14, 2012 Scotty rated it it was amazing
Actually 4.5, only because the preservatives (like bactoferm) are overstated for what I am sure are legal reasons. Your first batch of some things will not make you happy. Check the label and other sources. YMMV.
Apr 15, 2011 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
First cookbook I've gotten in a long while that I've started on page one and read straight through. I find it difficult to give the 5 stars because I haven't made one thing from the book yet. Soon though, hopefully soon.
Nov 22, 2009 Patrick rated it it was amazing
This is the result of Ruhlman meeting Brian Polcyn while Polcyn was taking the Master chef's Exam. It is a fantastic read and I highly recommend this for anyone in the field or hobbyists that love food and are willing to try some advanced preparations and cooking techniques.
Sep 06, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
There's a lot here and it's going to take me awhile to go through these recipes. So far I've tried the Pastrami recipe and it was great. Never worked with curing salts before, never made my own sausage but it's time. Mmmm, meat ;-)
Angela Randall
This book is a large part of the fuss behind Charcutepelooza movement. Probably worth a read!
David John Gray
Oct 03, 2016 David John Gray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading

This book is essential just as a back up or on its own also has some very interesting recipes and full of hints and tips
Apr 15, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it
Very interesting and thorough. I'm expecting a lot of fun experiments and techniques will come of this.
Jul 22, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
I can't even get through a page of this book without my mouth watering. Great descriptions and instructions on meat preservation. THE manual for anyone interested in charcuterie.
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I made the merquez this weekend and decided that pork back fat, ground lamb, and sheep casings need to be in my life forever.
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Michael Ruhlman (born 1963 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American writer. He is the author of 11 books, and is best known for his work about and in collaboration with American chefs, as well as other works of non-fiction.

Ruhlman grew up in Cleveland and was educated at University School (a private boys' day school in Cleveland) and at Duke University, graduating from the latter in 1985. He worked a se
More about Michael Ruhlman...

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“grams kosher salt 2 teaspoons/14 grams pink salt 1⁄4 cup/50 grams maple sugar or packed dark brown sugar 1⁄4 cup/60 milliliters maple syrup One 5-pound/2.25-kilogram slab pork belly, skin on 1. Combine the salt, pink salt, and sugar in a bowl and mix so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the syrup and stir to combine. 2. Rub the cure mixture over the entire surface of the belly. Place skin side down in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag or a nonreactive container just slightly bigger than the meat. (The pork will release water into the salt mixture, creating a brine; it’s important that the meat keep in contact with this liquid throughout the curing process.) 3. Refrigerate, turning the belly and redistributing the cure every other day, for 7 days, until the meat is firm to the touch. 4. Remove the belly from the cure, rinse it thoroughly, and pat it dry. Place it on a rack set over a baking sheet tray and dry in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. 5. Hot-smoke the pork belly (see page 77) to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F./65 degrees C., about 3 hours. Let cool slightly, and when the belly is cool enough to handle but still warm, cut the skin off by sliding a sharp knife between the fat and the skin, leaving as much fat on the bacon as possible. (Discard the skin or cut it into pieces and save to add to soups, stews or beans, as you would a smoked ham hock.) 6. Let the bacon cool, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze it until ready to use. Yield: 4 pounds/2 kilograms smoked slab bacon A slab of pork belly should have equal proportions of meat and fat. This piece has been squared off and is ready for the cure. To cure bacon, the salts, sugars, and spices are mixed and spread all over the meat. The bacon can be cured in a pan or in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag. SMOKED HAM HOCKS” 0 likes
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