When Old Major opened its doors in February, one of the features of the space was an glass-claded showcase curing room. The crew at Old Major led by chef Justin Brunson has commissioned meat pro Mark DeNittis of the now defunct Il Mondo Vecchio to write the plan for the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points to ensure food safety) permit.
Right now, the health department has a copy of the HACCP program and Old Major has been going over it with them. There is no specific timeline, but it should not be long until the green light is given for guests to enjoy the meats that are currently curing in the room.
Right now, behind the glass there is quite a spread of meats from lomo, loinza, coppa, and lardo to orange fennel salami, sopresata, Calabrese-style salami, nauja, and guanciale.
How do they make it all? It all begins with in-house butchery of whole pigs. For the solid muscle meats, a salt/sugar/spice mixture cure is chosen and applied based on type of meat. The curing time is based on the cut meat – smaller pieces take less time and larger pieces take more time. After the curing process is completed, the meat is hung in the dry curing room until it reaches the requirements for water activity.
To make the salamis, the meat is ground, seasoned, then fermented at 85 degrees and 90 percent humidity until the PH level drops to the desired level. That level shows that the right kind of bacteria is beginning to grow, which is when the meat goes into dry curing room. The temperature and humidity in the room are controlled-50 degrees and 70 percent humidity. In the process, the meat loses 45 percent of its weight. Once the water activity level is below .85 and meets health codes, the final product is shelf stable.
For now, guests can admire the cured meats from the dining room - no touching, no tasting! When the approval comes through from the city, Old Major will be able to sell and serve what is now just a show piece.
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