This week I got a little practice trimming up some ham pieces that were left over from my last culatelli. I had frozen the pieces that would have been i fiocci, and I decided to cure them in the French way, instead, the small pieces of jambon di noix. I had ordered a meat netting cone from MeatProcessing.com, and a roll of #14 netting. The cone is 3.4 inches in diameter, and the maximum diameter of a roll of #14 netting is 3.5 inches. On Saturday, I got to work with my mise:
The only ingredients here other than the meat is salt (Sea Salt from Spain), and black pepper. The first step was to cut the meat pieces into relatively even squat shapes, and to tie them with twine before adding the netting. The meat had already been salted overnight, with just enough salt to stick to the sides of the meat.
The next step is to roll the meat in cracked black pepper, both for seasoning, and to keep bugs away. I find that cleanup is easier if I line my tabletop with some cling film, as shown below.
Once there is some pepper stuck to the meat, as shown below, it’s time to prep the netting cone.
I cut a piece of netting that was at least three times the length of one of the pieces of meat. I put the removable tip on the cylinder, and then loaded the net on, as you would load a casing on a stuffer. After all of the netting was on the tube, I removed the tip, as shown below.
At this point, I put the ham, knotted string side down, into the tube toward the net end, and pulled the ham through, allowing the netting to attach around the ham as it moved through the tube. I trimmed the end with scissors.
At this point, I repeated the process with the other ham pieces, and then weighed them to record their pre-drying weights. I used blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie. Not exactly pretty, but effective.
The next step was the cold smoking of these little jambonettes. Now it’s pretty obvious why they got called Ham Grenades. I think these three will be pretty small after drying, but they will be a perfect first course for a dinner, I think, or possibly a nice gift for a picnic.These were cold smoked (175 degrees F) for about 4 or 5 hours (along with some bacon), with maple wood chips. After they were removed from the smoker, they went straight to the downstairs curing chamber. In about four weeks, these should lose 25-30% of their weight, and firm up.