Save the meat
Before refrigeration became widespread, charcuterie was used as a solution to preserve meats. Charcuterie is still prepared today because of the flavours brought out in the meat during the preservation process.
In France during the 15th century, local guilds regulated tradesmen in food production, and those that were in charge of charcuterie were known as charcutiers. The meats used varied depending on the region, and consisted of products such as pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon and more.
Not exclusive to pork
The term charcutier translated to “pork butcher,” but charcuterie is not limited to pork products.
Don’t hold the salt
Salt serves a variety of purposes in charcuterie making: osmosis, dehydration, fermentation and denaturing proteins, which shifts the structure of proteins similar to cooking.
Charcutiers use two main types of curing salt mixture. The first is 93.75-percent sodium chloride and 6.25-percent sodium nitrate, and known by many names, including “tinted cure mix,” “pink cure,” prague powder” and “insta-cure #1.” The other is known as “prague powder II” or “insta-cure #2.” As with the first salt mixture, it is pink in colour, but produced from salt and sodium nitrate, and is best for dry sausages.
Since salt is so prevalent in cured meats, sweeteners and other flavouring agents are necessary to combat the salt’s harsh flavours. Dextrose, sugar, corn syrup, honey and maple syrup are among those used in addition to spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, mace and chilies. V