I love the delicate taste of a delicious dry cured piece of pork tenderloin. Coat it with a little Calabrian pepper and you’ve got a flavor bomb that will have everyone talking. Today I’m going to show you how to make this delicious charcuterie and I think you are going to love how easy it is.
Making dry cured meat isn’t very complicated. We first cure the meat then we dry it. It’s literally those 2 steps. The first step (curing the meat) is all about 2 things: preserving/protecting the meat from harmful bacteria and infusing lots of flavor. The method we will be using to cure our meat is called the equilibrium cure. I really like this method as it’s not only incredibly easy to do but it’s also the most reliable and safest way to cure your meat. This method allows us to perfectly season/cure our meat without any concern of over/under salting. What’s also great about this technique is that you can work at your own pace (meaning if you can’t get to the meat immediately and it needs to sit in the fridge a few more days you don’t need to worry about it becoming too salty or over seasoned). This method is contrary to the alternative method called “Salt Boxing”. Salt boxing simply means you take a bunch of salt and encase your meat in it. Salt boxing is very unreliable and often produces a piece of meat that is extremely salty. We can talk about the 2 techniques in a different post. Once our meat has been cured we begin the process of drying.
I do love making charcuterie in a dedicated drying chamber but I am excited to say that for this recipe you have 2 options for drying – A drying chamber or a home refrigerator. Using a dedicated drying chamber has it’s advantages when it comes to flavor development but you just can’t beat how simple this recipe becomes when all you have to do is dry this tenderloin in a home refrigerator. There are a couple things that you need to know depending on which direction you choose to go.
Drying in your home refrigerator
Drying meats inside of your home refrigerator can be tricky because of the low humidity and high air speed. Both of these factors are almost certainly going to produce an overly dried piece of charcuterie. The trick to making this happen is having a unique wrap around our tenderloin that controls the moisture loss. I have used lots of different product over the past 10 years that claim to do this and the one I like the most is The Sausage Makers Dry Aging Wraps. These wraps were developed for dry aging beef but in my experiments I’ve found that they produce amazing charcuterie as well without the need for any special equipment.
When you use these dry aging wraps, simply (and carefully) place the wrap around the spice coated meat. As you fold the wrap around the meat you will want to press out any air pockets. Once it’s fully wrapped place the netting around the meat, weigh it, record the weight, and place it in your refrigerator till you lose the appropriate amount of weight. I like 35% for this recipe. YOU WILL NOT BE PRICKING THIS WITH A SAUSAGE PRICKER.
Drying in a dedicated drying chamber
If you plan on drying your Calabrian Pork Tenderloin in a drying chamber you will want to wrap the cured tenderloin in a collagen sheet from the Sausage Maker. These sheets are just like your sausage casings but in a sheet form. They have micro perforations that allow your meat to dry at a slower rate which will allow the meat to really develop it’s flavor while keeping a soft and tender texture. These sheets are fairly large and should be cut to size so 1 sheet will do lots of tenderloins. Alternatively you can stuff your cured tenderloin into a casing but you’ll run the risk or scraping off all of your spices and it can be very messy.
Drying chambers are not very difficult to build and once you have one you can make all sorts of neat stuff like salami, cheese, wine, and the list goes on. To see the one I built you can check out my post: Building a salami chamber/cheese cave. In this recipe I’ll be using a drying chamber with a temperature set to 55F and 80% humidity. This is going to be a great place to slowly dry our meat nice and evenly.
I hope you enjoy this week’s video and recipe. If you give this a go be sure to let me know how your came out and if you have any questions ask away in the comment section below.
Here are a few things you might find useful when making this recipe
- Collagen Sheets (Use these is you plan on drying inside of a dedicated drying chamber)
- Dry Aging Sheets (use these if you plan on drying in your home refrigerator)
- #8 Netting for Tenderloin
- Butchers Twine & Dispenser/Cutter
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- Chef Knife – KOTAI
- Sausage Pricker
- Insta Cure #2
- Calabrian Pepper Powder
- InkBird Controllers Temp & Humidity (Only for Drying Chamber)
- Dehumidifier Eva Dry 1100 (Only for Drying Chamber)
- Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier (Only for Drying Chamber)
Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!
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Calabrian Pork Tenderloin
- 500 g pork tenderloin
- collagen sheet this is the wrap you'll be using if you have a drying chamber
- dry aging sheet this is the wrap you'll be using if you plan on drying this in your home refrigerator
For the Cure
For the coating
- white wine or sambuca
- Calabrian Pepper Powder enough to coat the entire muscle
- Trim your pork tenderloin and remove any silver skin.
- Weigh your tenderloin and type the weight in the box above. The box reads, "How much do you want to make?"
- Combine all of the "cure" ingredients and rub them onto your meat. Be sure to include 100% of all the cure spices. You don't want to leave any spices behind. Place the meat (and any spices that are left in the tray) in a bag and vacuum seal it (or a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible).
- Once your meat has been vac sealed place it in your refrigerator for 6 days. Be sure to turn and massage the meat daily.
- After 6 days your meat has been cured and you can remove it from the fridge. Wash off any excess seasonings, liquid, and blot dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the meat with a little white wine or sambuca then coat the tenderloin with Calabrian chili pepper powder.
- Place the cured/Calabrian pepper coated tenderloin onto a collagen sheet and wrap. Secure with elastic netting or butchers twine. Weigh the meat and record the weight. Finally prick with a sausage pricker.
- Hang in a drying chamber that has a controlled temperature of 55F and a humidity of 80% till 35% of the weight has been lost.
If you plan on drying this in your home refrigerator
- Follow the recipe above BUT DON'T USE A COLLAGEN SHEET TO WRAP YOUR TENDERLOIN. You will be using a DRY AGING SHEET to wrap your tenderloin. The dry aging sheets are more suited for making charcuterie in the refrigerator.Once you wrap your tenderloin in the dry aging sheets (try to get as much air out as possible when wrapping the tenderloin), place the net around it, weigh the muscle, record the weight, and place it to dry in your refrigerator. Make sure that it is on a grating or hanging so that there's air flow on all sides. With the refrigerator method you will not be pricking your tenderloin.
- Once you lose 35% weight your dry cured tenderloin is finished. Slice thinly and enjoy.
- Take your tenderloin and give it a vinegar or wine wash. If there is any mold on the surface you'll need to remove the mold. Once all the mold is gone and you've washed it well, place the tenderloin in a vac sealed bag in your refrigerator. It will be good for up to a year.
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