My name is Eric Pousson. I grew up in South Louisiana, deep in the heart of Cajun Country. I met my wife Cecelia in 1998 and we’ve been married now for 21 years. Together we have 3 awesome kids. Chandler 20, Keira 12, and Aidan 10.
I’ve always loved food. My mother is from Monterrey, Mexico and as far back as I can remember she would always find herself in the kitchen preparing something amazing. In addition to the Mexican food culture I was exposed to, my father was Cajun so there’s that. Food was everywhere. Gumbo, crawfish, fresh seafood, tamales, homemade tortillas, you name it. Unfortunately I didn’t learn how to cook from my mother (that skill was reserved for my 2 sisters). I had to teach myself how to cook. No training, no technique, just passion. It’s an interesting journey when you are not bound by tradition. It was this passion that’s led me to where I am today.
I spent 20 years in the corporate world of sales and marketing. Worked my way to the top and eventually arrived at that high paying job with all the perks and expense accounts. I wonder if someone ever climbs Mount Everest only to be disappointed at what’s on top. That was me. I had climbed to the top of the career ladder and the view sucked!!
It was one fateful day in Oklahoma City where I had just finished dinner (alone) and I had an epiphany. As I sat in room 207 I knew that my life would never be the same again. A moment of clarity and my path, albeit uncertain made perfect sense.
It was in that moment I had decided to quit my executive position and start my own business doing the very thing I love to do. Cook. Cecelia loved the idea and for the first time in our marriage we would embark on the most exciting and rewarding adventure of our lives. Starting a family business.
The rest of the story hasn’t been told but I can tell you this. If you kindly subscribe to this site you’ll get to experience it with us first hand. Thanks for hanging out with me. Talk soon
43 thoughts on “About”
Hey Michael. I’ll try to give you a call tomorrow. Will you be around?
Greetings from India and Happy Thanksgiving
I embarked on my sausage making journey about 4-5 years ago, guided by Michael Ruhlman’s book on charcuterie. Many failures, a couple of books and a lot of YouTube(have probably seen most of your videos)videos later feel I have reached a satisfactory level of making fresh and cooked including emulsified sausages.
I have recently moved onto the next step and attempted curing pancetta which did turn out nice. I used Cure#1 the first time and am curing with Cure#2 the 2nd time around hoping I can eat this uncooked (will watch the weight loss).
I am currently putting together equipment to build a drying chamber. As I am doing this, one question comes to my mind. Do I need a separate fermentation chamber or can I use the chamber I am building for both fermentation and drying. I do understand that the temp and humidity varies for both and also depending on the starter culture I use. Space and wife’s patience is limited(kidding, she’s been quite supportive of this hobby of mine), so can have only one chamber. Need your input on how I can manage one chamber for both functions. Thank you and have a great weekend with the family.
You can use 1 chamber for both. At least you can for the first time. As soon as your chamber is full of product you then have to wait till it’s empty again to use it as a fermenting chamber. To use your drying chamber as your fermenting chamber you’ll need to increase the temperature (depending on your starter culture) and have your humidity set to 85%. After it’s finished fermenting just lower the temperature to 55F and 80% humidity. That’s it 🙂
I’ll make a video and post on it so you can see the finer details.
Thank you for your response. I am just starting out on cured meats, so unlikely my chamber is going to be full of product very soon. For all practical purposes, I will be adding small batches of different products. I will most likely start with T-SPX which I think requires a temp of 70F for the fermentation with a 85% humidity over 72 hours. So if I already have some meats drying in the chamber at lets say 55F at a 70%-80% humidity, would it affect the meats already inside if I were to, like you have suggested, to increase the temp and the humidity for 3 days to 70F and 85%-90% and then bring it back to where it was before to continue with the drying process?
Also, do let me know once the video has been posted.
Once you begin the drying process you will not want to change the settings in the chamber. This will negatively effect your drying salami. You will have to wait till its finished to ferment a different batch. Let me ask you this what is the room temperature where youlive?
From now up until end of Jan, the temp will range between 70F-80F. Will then hit around 90F-95F in the summer.
OK. For TSPX You can ferment at room temperature if you temp is below 85F. To ferment at room temperature all you have to do is wrap your salami in cling film and set it on the counter. The cling film will keep the humidity high and the room temp will ferment properly. Looks like you can only do this until January though.
Thanks Eric, Working on limited time then!!!
Also, what about cultures Bactoferm F-LC and F-RM-52. Dont these allow fermentation at higher temperatures??
So, would it be safe to use cultures that allow fermentation at a higher temp even in warmer weather as long as I maintain the required humidity levels?
One more question Eric, see a few recipes for Semi Dry sausages(dried under a month)…Does this mean that these are safe to eat uncooked..or do they need some amount of cooking?
Yes you do!! Those 2 cultures you mentioned do ferment at higher temps. The FLC can go both ways depending on what you are looking for. Typically if you ferment at higher temps with those cultures you are making a semi dried/tangy salami… If you want a salami that’s more traditional European Italian you can use Flavor of Italy (Flora Italia) or BLC007. Both of these can ferment at higher temps very fast and give you a nice salami. Typically semi dried sausages are cooked
Thanks for all the inputs. Hopefully will have my drying chamber ready by end of the week. But don’t think I can get started until I get the ph meter(Milwaukee MW102 for food) for which is going to take at least 3 weeks.
Until then I shall dry the pancetta and the capocollo. I have cured the pancetta for 2 weeks in my refrigerator using Cure #2(wanting to eat this raw). The temp inside was around 37-40F. Y’day I rinsed and trussed the pancetta and hung it to dry in the pantry where the temp is in the range of 70F-72F with a humidity ranging from 80%-85%. It has been raining so the humidity does hit 90% on occasions. Will hang it for at least a month and then check the weight loss. Since I did not remove the fat cap, per your video a weight loss of 15%-20% should be ok. One thing, I have not covered the pancetta in a casing. Is that ok or should I cover it with a cheese cloth or something similar.
Capocolo has just gone into the vac bag with the cure, so will leave it in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.
70f is a little warm for hanging meat to dry. It will work but it will most likely begin to ferment as well as dry. You should cover the pancetta with some cheese cloth to help with the drying.. If your pancetta is very fatty (lets say 50-50) then 15% – 20% is perfect. If it’s very meaty then you’ll want to dry it longer..
Ok. I had read a few articles where it said that 70F was ok to dry pancetta. Hope it just works out for me this time. Once I have my drying chamber ready, the temp should not be an issue.
I did cover the pancetta with cheese cloth on Day 2 itself. As for the fat percentage, I would think it is 35% at best. Nevertheless, I will let it dry for a month and keep checking the weight loss on a weekly basis.
Eric, is there any way I can upload a few pics?
Greetings for the New Year.
After 4 1/2 weeks, have lost about 13% weight on the pancetta. Guess I will give it another couple of weeks to see where I end up.
I am looking to buy a water activity meter. Anything you can suggest that I can get on Amazon. Please do let me know. Thanks.
Almost there… No clue about water activity meters. The ones i’ve seen on amazon have been in the $600 range with mediocre reviews..
Hey Eric, good to hear from you.
Noted about the water activity meter. Would you say that a dry sausage with weight loss in the range of 35% – 40% would be perfectly safe to eat and “shelf stable” as they call it, without having to check the water activity of the sausage.
That is correct.
Hi Eric. When fermenting I’m my chamber do I need to separate hang each one ? Or can they be stacked on top of each other in a hotel pan ? Just wondering if the the temperature and humidity needs to surround the salami
If your meat is the proper fermenting temperature you can stack them on top of each other without any issues (although some might get flattened in the process). What temp are you fermenting at?
That’s a great story. How do you sell the product you make?
Thanks. I’ll normally put it on my web site and what ever is available usually gets scooped up pretty quick..
so…who’s the 2nd guy?
Recently purchased some collagen sheets to cure pork tenderloin in. So now I have these sheets and am wondering why you say NOT to use them in the home refrigerator curing process. Please explain the differences and the why. Don’t currently own a curing chamber.
Recently discovered you channel and thoroughly enjoy your programing.
You can technically use them, but you won’t get the best results. The collagen sheets are microperforated so the breath more than the “dry aging” sheets. What will happen is a noticeably thicker dry ring on the meat
Hi Eric! Just watched Celebrate Sausage SO2E01 – Boudin. Found out about your YouTube channel today and sure glad it showed up in my ‘Recommended’! We appreciate the way you say ‘Boudin’ 😁 We plan on making your Boudin Recipe. They don’t sell that up here in Alaska 😕 Been here since 2008, me and Robear and 7 of our 9 children. So I learned how to make us some Boudin 😋
Dem Cajun Alaskans
Nice!!! Great to heat that. How did it turn out?
I recently cured a capicola using your recipe, thought I cured it in my temp/humidity controlled drying chamber and stuffed it into a beef bung instead of using collagen wrap. I pulled this out yesterday right at 35% weight loss and it is fantastic! If anyone is contemplating making this, jump aboard, you’ll be glad and Eric makes it a straightforward process.
Thanks again for the inspiration and coaching Eric!
Excellent to hear!!! Congrats on your sucess!
Hi Eric, first off thank you for all the hard work! it is much appreciated! my wife and I have been watching your channel for about 2 years now. we live in Idaho and have access to a lot of different types of game meat and your channel has been a huge help in using and processing it so thank you again. I have 2 questions:
1. to make a brine, the directions on the instacure #1 from sausage maker says to use 3oz per 1 gallon of water. that’s 6 tablespoons on my my scale. this seemed like an awful lot of cure for 1 gallon of water. I’m brining a couple pork loins to smoke at low temps, around 160f, and probably finish in sousvide for lunch meat sliced thin. is that ratio of cure to water correct?
2. for brines, is there a ratio for cure to salt? in other words if I typically use 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water would I add the same amount of salt if I am using cure in the brine? do I add less salt? no salt?
thanks again! please know that all your hard work is really appreciated!!
ok. brines are an interesting issue. What you need to do is weigh all the meat you plan on curing, then weigh the amount of water that you will be using (make sure it covers the meat by an inch). Record that weight. Let’s say the meat weighs 2270 grams and the water weighs 6000 grams. The combines weight would be 8270 grams. This is the number you will use to calculate your ingredients. If you are adding salt at 2% then you would multiply 8270 by 2% and get 165 grams. If you are adding curing salt and you want 156ppm of nitrites in your meat you would use the 8270 as your base number, add .25% curing salt (8270g x .25% = 20.67grams). Brines use a lot more ingredients as you are trying to create an equilibrium between the water and the meat.
The amount of cure that you add is completely depends on what you are making. If you are making bacon for instance, you would add .193% cure number 1. That will get you a 120ppm of nitrite. If you are making cured meats like corned beef, pastrami, you would add .25% of Cure #1. That will get you 156ppm of nitrite.
I personally don’t like that set of instructions on their label because it doesn’t really paint a complete picture. The weight of the meat needs to be taken into consideration when doing a brine. AND don’t get me started on injections…….
does insta cure 1 and 2 have an expiration date? I recently found some that is 4 or 5 years old.
Not that I know of. Should be good to go!
Your story is awesome, I am so happy for you that you found your dream job. I am even happier that you have developed a passion for sharing your skills, videos and the convertible recipes. You have swung the a door wide open that I had only cracked open buy purchasing a couple cook books and some basic stuff. Now I have 4 whole muscles curing in my refrigerator and am working on getting my dry aging chamber set up and have a big pending order on the Sausage Makers website.
Funny my kids understand this hobby but my wifes doesn’t. LOL
Thank you Eric
Jordan Olsen from Riverside California
Enjoy your videos and have made many batches of salami using your recipes. I usually use 20″x2.5″ manmade casings, but I would like to try my hog casings because it gets done faster. Will it be ok? I use m600 and would i be able to remove the casings after meat is ready? Thanks
Yes. I use natural casings all the time and removing the casing in no problem
Good morning Eric. I really enjoy your videos. My I ask what make and model smoker you use? Thank you
I am using the Model 4d Digital Wifi from Smokin it
So I followed your recipe for pemmican. I did use tallow from Chicago meat company. I did 3 batches, regular, apple banana, and blueberry. Interestingly I found the fruit based bound together better. The regular did not hold form as well and crumbled. This is after sitting in the fridge. It tends to crumble pretty easily.
Is this the consistency that it is supposed to be? Should tallow be more creamy or harder at room temperature? Think Crisco vs a brie. Did I make a mistake not making my own tallow?
The portions on the regular were 1:1 weight vs the fruit added 1:1:1.
I would appreciate your thoughts. I know you are busy.
Funny enough, so did I. The meat and fat version does have a tendency to crumble a bit more. To fix that you could always increase the fat content till you get to the texture you like. It’s not an exact science so you’ll have to play with it a bit.
Hi, Eric. I’m hoping to fuel a 450-mile hike this summer exclusively with pemmican from your recipe. Figure I’ll go through about 45 pounds of it. Which could get rather pricey! Wondering if you’d mind sharing what your per-pound cost is when you make it, and if you have any tips for keeping costs down?
It all comes down to the price of beef. Beef completely dried like I did for this video will lose 75% of its weight. So, if you start off with 4 pounds of beef at 5 bucks a pound (20 bucks), you will end up with 1 pound of powder worth 20 bucks. You will also add 1 pound of rendered tallow to that mix (not sure what that cost is but for me it’s super cheap as I can get it pretty easy). Let’s call it $5 a pound. Finally, as an optional ingredient you can add 1 pound of dried fruit powder. This can literally be anything you want. So the cost of the fruit powder is relative as well. Let’s call it $10. So as a very rough estimate, 3 pounds of pemmican might run you $35 bucks to make, not counting energy cost and time cost for processing. It all comes down to the cost of the ingredients though. I would look for the cheapest on sale cuts of meat that I could find. Leaner the better. Same thing with the fruit. No need to go premium if you are just going to dehydrate everything and turn it into a powder.
Eric I noticed in your videos there’s a considerable amount of pricking the casings. Makes sense on dry aged products, but curious if you could expand on this subject. Reading forums there are so many varying opinions on this subject. This year I’m looking at knockwurst, smoked polish, kabanosy, Italian, breakfast links, and potato sausage. I really enjoy your videos, great content! Thank you!
Funny you should mention that. This weekend I’m posting a video about that very topic on my You Tube channel. Here’s the long and short of it. If the sausage is made correctly you can prick or not prick and the end result is practically going to be the same.