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Guanciale Project: Day 8. Hang Day and Innovation

12.18.10

Today was the day the plethora of guanciale was due to hang. They’d cured for a week, had released a couple tbsp maybe of fluid per, and a fry-up proved salty enough to proceed – not wanting to risk oversalting if we left them longer. So into a big clean sink of water they went, got a solid rub-down-rinse, then dripped dry. We then did up 5 versions: sage & thyme, bay & thyme, black pepper only,  applewood smoke only, and plain. Poked a hole near an edge, tied them, and hung them up for their long visit to my cellar. Wasn’t sure exactly how this would all go down, but it went smoothly. Now, we wait.

The new hanging setup. One more item to share. Last night, before going to bed, I had an idea pop into my head that I put into motion this morning. I had learned that tying many items to dowels above your head is uncomfortable and just plain annoying – especially when the string’s a bit wet and you’re trying to tie knots securely enough to avoid meat on the ground. Or perhaps  if you cut the string a bit short to begin with. Solution? Nylon coated galvanized strapping [Home Depot] intended for hanging pipes, with a plain old stainless S hook run through the holes. You can buy steel strapping – but for the $3 more I opted for galvanized [it's a wet environment = rust], and nylon coating for overkill. A happy surprise – the nylon coat provides a super-smooth slide on the dowel when moving items. This setup is exceedingly better than untying and retying knots, they can easily be assembled/disassembled, is overbuilt in the strength department, and inexpensive [$6 for 10' strapping, $1.28/4 S hooks]. Now when tying stuff to hang, I simply tie the item, and tie a loop on the other end. The loop gets hung on an S hook, and voila. Hang-time is no longer time consuming. Need to move stuff? No problem. Ah, simple pleasures.

6 Responses

  1. Brilliant… and before bed, you say… or while you were going. That’s what I like to see. A mind that never rests. Never.
    :)
    Valerie

  2. bc in France says:

    This is so fancy compared to the locals round here! I love all the photos of the details.

    Out here when you visit farms you find stuff hanging in all sorts of places, although it is more the older generation than the young French. My place has an ancient and decayed saucisson hanging amongst the giant armagnac barrels. Maybe the armagnac aroma added to the flavor? I haven’t had the courage to touch it.

    As another option, Ikea do excellent stainless rails super cheap and the hooks go straight on it, no need for the strapping. The tradition farm way would be hanging off baling wire. But hey, your solution looks neat and clean and you’ve been doing this for a while. I haven’t yet gone through the history of your blog to learn what you’ve been through.

  3. Good idea! we use plumbers tape for other things( besides plumbing) on the farm, bu this is a great idea. I’m working up the nerve to cure my pork jowls…

  4. Valerie – I hope the mind rests when we sleep, at least..
    BC – I hope that knowledge gets passed down from those old french folks! I think it’s hilarious that you ‘inherited’ an ancient saucisson. Hanging it from something practical like baling wire makes so much sense. I truly think nearly anything will do the job so long as common sense is applied. From there, it’s just refining the process to make it more enjoyable.
    TTC – so long as you can round up the cure, do it! I’m guessing you can find an appropriate hanging location at the farm.

  5. [...] over 3′ wide down the middle. You can see some detail on the dry cured meat hanging setup here. I do find it a tad cold in the winter, 3-4C this winter, now that the root cellar is functional [...]

  6. [...] little shipping tags from an office supply store, and they happen to slip perfectly onto my S hook hanging setup. They also happen to be very easy to read hanging on the hook, as opposed to tied to the string [...]

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