Here we have the opportunity to verify the experience that our colleague Craig Dolick had when doing 2 tests with whole muscles using Koji.
Koji Bresaola test - Craig Dolick
Koji Bresaola From Inside Round beef30hr Cherry smoked salt, 3 weeks in Vacuum EQ cure then rinse w Red Wine and roll in Koji rice (Amazon.ca) and ferment at 68f and 85%rh for 48 hrs. No casing.
Hang to dry in chamber at 39F and 75-80%rh for roughly 90 days.Important note: I have posted this experiment elsewhere but this is updated to reflect the better comparison with a similar aged piece of beef.I had a run-a-way and missed my target of 38% loss and caught it at 46% loss.
Much faster drying than I am used to!Tasting notes: I noticed that I had another bresaola started on the same day, with a very similar cure but with the addition of only a few hours of cherry smoke. A worthy comparison. This is a recipe that I like and often do when I have beef to cure. The comparison was interesting. This Koji cure had softened the juniper that is pronounced in the non-koji, but the finish was not as bright or beefy.
A slight "jamminess". A sweetness. A slight jammy funk but not very pronounced. I'd like to really see this develop with time.I chose not to case this as I wanted the Koji to do it's thing with the meat and felt that the koji would grow thick enough to provide some protection. Next time I may case after rolling in Koji but am not sure I want that much growth happening inside the casing (?) With my chambers I do not experience any case hardening but with this I did notice a slight amount that I attribute to the lack of casing. It needs some time in VacPak to EQ and I'm happy to oblige. I'll revisit it in a year for a sample but would like to let it go for a couple years and see what I get.I'll get another one started soon and watch the drying time much more judiciously this time.
Normally a piece this size would hang for about 4 or 5 months before it would be ready for Vac (cased of course). 3 months is very fast for my chamber.I'm not unhappy with this project at all but understand that there is more to learn The impact from the koji wasn't very pronounced but in fairness my procedures need work. Full recipe in photos
Koji Coppa test
Recently I posted a Bresaola cure with Koji that went through a fermentation process and this one I did differently. Where with the beef it was cured first and then rolled in Koji rice that was blitzed in my spice grinder and hung in a fermentation chamber, this one although pork of course was cured simply (recipe in pics), rinsed and rolled in the same koji rice dust and cased this time and hung to dry. It dried with koji in contact with the meat. Once I met my 40% wl target I rinsed it in red wine and vacpak'd it for a couple months to EQ and tried it today.
Perhaps I better understand now the flavor that I'm looking to identify and maybe I need to do a side-by-side comparison, one with and one without (maybe adding a third using the fermentation method) but given the fact that this is commodity pork and not a lot of spices to add flavor I have to say that it is quite good and worth more ageing and another effort. This was rather small and when the day comes to crack it open I think I'll be disappointed that there isn't more!
I found a jammy sweetness with a subtle hint of funk that I'm hoping will develop over time. If there's somebody that can shed a light on the "proper" way to tango with koji I'd appreciate it because right now I'm just poking away at it using different methods. I liked this one though. Much more obvious to me than the bresaola. 40F 75-80%rh
Publication authorized by the artisan of cured meats Craig Dolick