Tasso

Posted by DmentD | Recipes | Friday 3 October 2014 11:29 am

Dry Cure
The recipes below make enough for several uses and keeps indefinitely if stored in an airtight container. There are two recipes, one that uses standard sugar and one that uses powdered dextrose (typically found in the bulk/”health” isles of grocery stores, or at a home-brew store). They are both adequate, but the dextrose is preferred as it is less sweet and has a much finer texture, allowing it to dissolve more easily and provide a uniform distribution. The sugar recipe is being provided as a fallback in case dextrose is unavailable. Measurements are provided by weight for greater accuracy. Pink (or “curing”) salt can be found in the bulk/”health” isles of grocery stores, most likely the upscale ones.

These cures are perfect for what is called the “salt box method” of curing. This method means simply dredging the meat in plenty of dry cure on all sides, then gently shaking off the excess so that it has an even coating of cure.

Dry Cure – Dextrose (measurements by weight)
1 LB (450 GR) kosher salt
13 OZ (425 GR) powdered dextrose (aka “corn sugar”)
3 OZ (50 GR) pink salt (aka “curing salt”)

Dry Cure – Sugar (measurements by weight)
1 LB (450 GR) kosher salt
8 OZ (225 GR) sugar
2 OZ (50 GR) pink salt (aka “curing salt”)

 

Tasso

5+ LB pork shoulder butt
~2 C (450 GR) dry cure

Seasoning (measurements by weight)
3 TBS (30 GR) white pepper
1½ TBS (15 GR) cayenne pepper
3 TBS (6 GR) dried marjoram
3 TBS (24 GR) ground allspice
3 TBS (25 GR) granulated garlic

If using a bone-in pork shoulder, remove the bone and save for later use… great for adding flavor to a pot of beans! Slice the shoulder across the grain into 1″ thick slabs.

Add some dry cure to a shallow, narrow pan. Dredge the pork slabs in the dry cure, pressing into the cure to make it adheres to all surfaces, and shake off the excess. The surface of each piece should be coated with an even layer of cure. Add more dry cure to your pan as necessary, but dispose of any unused cure from the pan when done.

Place the dredged slabs into a deeper narrow pan in a single layer if possible. The cure will draw out a lot of moisture, so be sure your pan is deep enough to accommodate that without spilling over. Refrigerate, covered, for 4 hours.

Rinse the pork under cold water, brushing off any remaining dry cure, and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the seasoning ingredients in a shallow, narrow pan, mixing well. Dredge the meat on all sides in the seasoning so that the pieces are uniformly coated.

Hot-smoke the pork at 200°F to an internal temperature of 150°F. The tasso will keep for several weeks refrigerated, and for up to a year if vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer. It is recommended to divide the tasso into ½ – 1 LB portions before vacuum sealing and freezing for ease of use.

Tasso by itself will be very peppery and spicy, but it is not intended to be eaten as is. Instead, it should be used as an ingredient in larger “wet” dishes like gumbo, red beans, etc. Cut into small pieces, added to these dishes and allowed to cook for a while, tasso will give up a nice smoky pork flavor as well as diffuse its pepperyness into the mix, diminishing it to a nice, interesting tingle.

A general guideline for use is 1 LB of tasso per 2 LB of red beans, or 4-5 QT of gumbo.

These recipes are adapted from the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing, and are included here for my own personal ease of reference, as well as to add my own notes as I see fit.

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