Charcuterie is a hot topic in the food world right now. Cured meats of all kinds are showing up on restaurant menus, in specialty shops and even large grocery stores. Salami, prosciutto, coppas, lomo, and the like are even seeing a resurgence among home charcuterie makers. For this simple cured and smoked goose breast, no specialized equipment (beyond a vacuum sealer) is needed. It's a great way to break into curing your own meat at home.
The secret to safely curing meat is to correctly figure the amount of Cure #1, also known as Pink Salt, Curing Salt or Prague Powder. The sodium nitrite contained in the blend will cure the meat, keeping harmful bacteria at bay.
A digital scale is helpful when figuring the amount of salt and Cure #1 needed for a recipe. I like to keep my scale set to metric measurements to make figuring the amounts a breeze. For this recipe, you will need 2% by weight kosher or sea salt, and .25% Instacure #1. This doesn't seem like a lot, but it will be. Just remember that too much cure can be as harmful as too little.
While the steps in this one are simple, the amount of time the breasts take to cure may seem a bit daunting. Total time, from start to finish, will be about three to four weeks. Don't worry, the vast majority of that will be time for the meat to cure and dry, it isn't hands-on at all.
5-7 Canada goose breasts
Sea or Kosher salt
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Start by weighing the goose breasts. Figure the amount of cure by multiplying the weight of the meat by .25%. Do the same for the sea or kosher salt by multiplying the total weight by 2%.
Add the goose breasts to a vacuum sealer bag. Mix the salt and curing salt together and sprinkle evenly over the meat. Add the peppercorns and seasonings to the bag and vacuum tightly. Place the breast in the refrigerator for 10 days, flipping and massaging the package every day or two to make sure the meat is evenly coated.
Once the meat has finished curing, rinse it under running water and pat it dry. Smoke for two to three hours at the lowest temperature your smoker will go. For me, that is about 140 degrees. The meat is cured at this point. You don't need to cook it. The smoke is more for flavor.
Once the breasts have finished smoking, lay them on clean cheesecloth and wrap tightly in a long bundle, tying the cheesecloth off between each breast. If the weather is between 40 and 60 degrees, hang the package in an unheated garage. If it is much cooler or warmer than that, stash the breasts in the fridge. Total dry time should range from 10 to 14 days.
Slice the breast into thin slices and serve on a cracker. I like to top them with a slice of cheese and a jalapeno ring. Experiment with your favorite toppings, mustard, pickles, you name it.
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