When it comes to dry-cured charcuterie we really believe salami making is the toughest art to master. This also makes it the most rewarding, we’ve been obsessed with producing the perfect salami for a while (and it will be a never-ending pursuit) and faced many a problem along the way. When your dry-curing whole cuts, you can easily end up with an amazing product provided the meat is good quality, whereas when you’re trying to make delicious charcuterie from offcuts stuffed into a pig intestine your craft is really the thing that’s going to make the difference.
The trouble is there are so many variables to control, and the quality of the final product is really directly proportional to the effort you put in to controlling them. Having said that you can achieve a really tasty salami with a DIY home cure, here are the basics to get you started:
Meat and Fat:
As with all charcuterie choose high quality meat, go to your butchers, we aren’t cooking anything so the quality of the meat is laid bare.
We are looking for a meat to fat ratio of 70:30, we wouldn’t recommend going any leaner than that, fat is flavour after all, and its presence slows the drying of your salami (meaning even more flavour development). Pork shoulder bought diced from a butchers will naturally possess the magic 70:30 ratio as traditionally salami was made of its off cuts.
When using other meats such as beef or venison use additional pork fat, it has unbelievable texture and flavour and is less prone to going rancid than the fat of other meats.
Salt and seasonings:
Salt the meat at 2.5-3% salt to the weight of the meat mixture, this is the sweet spot in terms of protecting against potentially dangerous microbes, and delivering the perfect salinity for our taste buds. You might also want to add additional seasonings to flavour; garlic, black pepper, rosemary, fennel, and chilli are all good choices as they have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, but go easy we want the flavour of the meat to shine.
Also USE NITRATES! Don’t be scared of them, they’re essential in protecting against harmful bacteria, we use 0.25% per weight of meat, be accurate in your scaling and you can’t go wrong. You will want to purchase Cure Number 2 online.
The salami will need fermenting, you will need to purchase a starter culture, this will ensure the microbes responsible for transforming the flavour of the salami will prosper in the conditions of fermentation. You will also need to decide on the type of fermentation and starter culture you want. There are fast fermenting starters, where you ferment at around 27c for 12 hours and achieve a tangy flavour, or slow fermenting where you ferment at 21 for 72 hours, achieving a more rounded flavour.
Most salami recipes work of a bakers % system, this means the % of your ingredients is calculated from the total amount of meat and fat in the salami.
|Ingredient||% of Meat||Quantity (g)|
|Sodium Nitrate (Cure 2)||0.25||2.5|
Salami making step by step guide
- Freeze your meat and fat
- Combine the meat, salt, nitrates, spices and grind (9mm is perfect) into a bowl
- Grind the fat separately
- Combine the meat mixture and fat and work till a tacky paste is achieved. This step should take longer than five minutes.
- Dissolve the starter culture in 10ml of water, and add the sugar, mix this into the meat mixture
- Stuff the meat mixture into a beef middle or hog casing (these should have been pre-soaked)
- Pierce the salami, and then hang to ferment at 80-95% humidity for the desired time at the desired temperature. Either 27c for 12 hours or 21c for 72.
- Hang the salami in the drying chamber or in an area. 70% humidity and an ambient temperature of 10-12c, till the salami, has lost 30% of its original body weight.