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Charcuterie [Hardcover]

Michael Ruhlman , Brian Polcyn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Charcuterie Charcuterie 4.7 out of 5 stars (9)
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Book Description

Nov. 22 2005
Charcuterie - a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages and prosciutto - is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking and drying. In addition to providing classic recipes for sausages, terrines and pates, Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn expand the definition to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olive and vegetable rillettes, duck confit, and pickles and sauerkraut. Ruhlman, coauthor of The French Laundry Cookbook, and Polcyn, an expert charcuterie instructor present 125 recipes that are both intriguing to professionals and accessible to home cooks, including salted air-dried ham; crab, scallop and saffron terrine; breakfast sausages; mortadella and soppressata; and even spicy smoked almonds.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Without the faintest hint of apology, Ruhlman and Polcyn present an arsenal of recipes that take hours, and sometimes days, to prepare; are loaded with fat; and, if ill-prepared, can lead to botulism. The result is one of the most intriguing and important cookbooks published this year. Ruhlman (The Soul of a Chef) is a food poet, and the pig is his muse. On witnessing a plate of cold cuts in Italy, he is awed by "the way the sunlight hit the fat of the dried meats, the way it glistened, the beauty of the meat." He relates and refines the work of Polcyn, a chef-instructor at a college in Livonia, Mich., who butchers a whole hog "every couple weeks for his students." Together, they make holy the art of stuffing a sausage, the brining of a corned beef and the poaching of a salted meat in its own fat. An extensive chapter on pâtés and terrines is entitled "The Cinderella Meat Loaf" and runs the gamut from exotic Venison Terrine with Dried Cherries to hearty English Pork Pie with a crust made from both lard and butter. And while there's no shortage of lyricism, science plays an equally important role. Everyone knows salt is a preservative, for example, but here we learn exactly how it does its job. And a section on safety issues weighs the dangers of nitrites and explains the difference between good white mold and the dangerous, green, fuzzy stuff. Line drawings.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Michael Ruhlman is the author of six books, including The Soul of a Chef and The Making of a Chef. Brian Polcyn is chef/owner of Five Lakes Grill in Michigan, USA.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the serious chef. April 27 2007
Format:Hardcover
The benefits of having a skilled writer and a passionate chef collaborate is evident in this text. It is detailed, easy to read, clear for even a novice cook and is full of excitement and reverence for the craft.

I have been barbecuing, smoking, curing meat, making sausage and brining pork and poultry for many years and yet this book offered new insights and fresh ideas I had not imagined possible.

Illustrations are used to advantage to explain techniques and easily replace the customary colour plates.

All aspects of the craft are fully detailed, recipes are well thought out and offer suggestions for variations. Ingredients, equipment and methods of work are all covered very well.

This volume will rest comfortably beside Rytek Kutas' legendary text.

Well done!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
To get started, you may have to hunt down some specialized supplies/ingredients (pink salt is a must, nitrate for the extended cures, a grinder for sausage). The salt cures can be a little tricky to secure in Canada, but definitely worth pursuing. Canadians can order cures from the States (suppliers listed) - just know that the s/h charges will probably exceed the product prices. Best to buy in quantity.

I've been making sausage for years, but never cured or fermented meats. Curing whole meat slabs is actually quite simple ... apply cure to meat and refrigerate. Some cured meats benefit from air drying (that's what your cantina is for!) ... regulating temperature and humidity is important, here.

Ruhlman recommends trying a home cured bacon to begin with. For bacon, you mix a basic cure of kosher salt, pink salt, and sugar, apply to pork belly, place in a ziploc bag and refrigerate. After 1 week, you've got bacon. Smoking the meat after it cures will enhance the bacony flavor. This was the first recipe I attempted, and it came out perfectly. Next time, pancetta!

Excellent recipes, with clear, concise directions. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great help to a beginner sausage maker Oct. 9 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great help to a beginner sausage maker, fantastic place to start making yummy meats. Once you try a couple recipes you'll figure out how to tweak them to your own tastes. Just watch the salt ... there's a lot of them in these recipes for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For the Advanced Cook May 29 2014
By ATC123 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a friend as a gift and then read it myself and I am glad that I did. It provided a good insight into what is involved with "prepared" goods and recipes it provides are worth the price of the book alone. If you like to make your own sausages, etc. and enjoy experimenting this is a great book. It is not for a novice or someone who is not prepared to pay attention to details but captures a wealth of information that unless you were a professional butcher, you would never know. This book is easy to read and is well worth the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource Jan. 7 2014
Format:Hardcover
This is a fantastic guide to the craft of sausage making, enthusiastically covering topics such as salting, curing and smoking. The authors go beyond typical sausage recipe books and include information on making cured meats such as bacon and pastrami and even venture into the realm of dry-cured meat.

The book is well written and well illustrated. The authors have an obvious and contagious passion for the topic at hand. Very highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you love meat... Dec 8 2013
By Dominic
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Then you'll definitely love Michael Ruhlman: Sausage king!
That sounds a bit off..... But in any case, "Charcuterie" is the book that got me started on an unhealthy obsession with cured meats. It's great for beginners and experts (advanced amateurs?) and has some great recipes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes Nov. 6 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is well written and easy to read. It is a must for someone who wants to make it themselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Home run! Aug. 8 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've tried a lot of charcuterie but this book represents the first time it has ever worked for me.

Ruhlman is an awesome food writer and he doesn't miss the mark with this excellent guide.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
Just starting to get into sausage making and this book is perfect for me. It goes into enough explanation about techniques and equipment so you understand the techniques and the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Beth Power
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful reference
This is a very useful how-to book for anyone contemplating making sausage or dry salami. This book explains step-by-step what you need and how to do it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Allan M. Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Ruhlman Charcuterie Review
Interesting read but disappointing as a cookbook....found recipes tough to follow and overly complicated.... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Smokin Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars Charcuterie
Well if you' like me are looking for an intro to international approaches to Charcuterie in English - here it is!
Published 20 months ago by Dr. Jochen Robert Moehr
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book on a daunting subject
Clear writing, makes me feel like i can make anything in it. I have already made Thuringer sausage, and am going to start on a pastrami this afternoon. Read more
Published 24 months ago by L. E. Debelser
5.0 out of 5 stars Charcuterie
This is a great book for the first time or experienced sausage maker. Great explanation of the binding process when mixing the meat and spices together. Read more
Published on July 12 2012 by Hoss
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but not perfect
I found this book quite interesting, informative and adequate about the theoritical aspect of things. I'm somehow sorry about many recipes, though. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2010 by erivest
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