It became apparent reasonably soon that a curing chamber or location was essential. The winters are long in Melbourne but not by European standards. The suns are extremely hot with temperatures unknown by Europeans. It is not unusual to have a week of temperatures over 40°C and often peak temperatures of 44°C with overnight lows of 30°C.
How can one hope to cure raw meat products over a 6 or 12 month period in such extremes? I tried in the cellar. It was too humid. I tried in the laundry. It was too dry. I tried in the refrigerator. It was far too dry. I tried on the veranda, up high under the eaves. When the sun came out it was too hot.
It just would not work.
The epiphany was the wine refrigerator. It represented that temperatures would be set and controlled between 12°C – 18°C – ideal for meat curing. It also represented that humidity was similarly controlled; although parameters were not provided.
I rang the manufacturer as it instructed me to do so. I described the problem. The answer was very clear. The product is not designed for fresh (raw) meat and should not be used to cure raw meat, let alone keep it for any time at all. I explained that I knew what I was doing (sort of) and that I would take full responsibility. The answer became more insistent, more formulaic and utterly unresponsive.
My questions about how humidity was controlled (such was the representation) were ignored. I decided that I needed to speak to the adults.
After much resistance and some words of power (misrepresentation, misleading and reliance) I spoke to an adult. I was informed that whilst the manufacturer could not and would not take any responsibility for such actions, it was quite common and indeed worked quite well.
I decided to take things into my own hands. As described in A Charcuterie Diary it works.
I now have two wine refrigerators.