|Me and Jay still smiling after 7 hours of salami making!|
The pepperoni's contain Kosher salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, anise seeds, sugar, paprika, cayenne, chipotle and ancho pepper, and red wine.
Making salami is a precise process involving exacting science. I do not recommend making at home yourself, as if done improperly you can make yourself or someone else very, very sick or even die. Take a class or work with someone who has extensive knowledge of the science behind curing meat.
|This photo is from Lexi's food blog, www.lexiscleankitchen.com.|
One of the most important ingredients in charcuterie is salt. The world's oldest preservative, salt is essential to draw out moisture as the meat cures, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow. Since bacteria have no mouths, they need to dissolve their food in water to absorb it through their membranes--no water, no eating! And, salt also draws water out of the actual bacteria, which will kill them. Keeping all tools and work surfaces clean is also extremely important. Jay keeps a bowl of bleach water right on the counter and encourages constant washing of tools and hands. Watching the temperature of both your meat and grinding tools is also critical to discourage growth of "bad" bacteria.
|Spices added. Next comes the Fermentation agent.|
A Fermentation agent or culture mixed with a small amount of water is added to the ground meat. The Fermentation agent pre-populates the meat with beneficial bacteria so the "bad" bacteria (the ones that make you sick or can kill you) have less of a chance to grow.
Now you are ready to stuff the meat into pre-soaked casings. We used smaller intestines from a pig to make the pepperoni and larger casings from a cow for the salamis.
Once stuffed, the salamis need to be pricked so moisture can be released in the curing/drying process. The salamis also need to be brushed with a solution that helps form "good" mold. The mold helps prevent growth of "bad" mold on your salami.
Two knots are used to tie off the salami. First a square knot and then just above that knot a bubble knot (two half hitches). The second knot helps ensure that the knot doesn't slip loose resulting in your salami on the drying chamber floor. Some of our salamis weighed over 2 lbs.!
|Within 24 to 30 hours mold starts to form.|
It will take the pepperoni about 4 weeks to cure and the salamis will need 6.
Jay is also curing a 20 lb. piece of Proscuitto, which takes 18 to 24 months to cure! It will lose 4 lbs. over that time, but 16 lbs. is still a lot of Proscuitto! This will be a good exercise in patience. Proscuitto comes from the back leg of a hog that is both salted and air dried.
All in all a great experience and one I hope to repeat!
To learn more about the art of charcuterie go to Jay's Facebook Page: Arizona Charcuterie Club.
Christmas is behind us and next time I will share
some of the recipes from our feast!
Tune in again soon for another episode of...
|From my first salami adventure.|