This post is not specifically wine related but wine was included in our age old family tradition and recipe, of which I am about to share! Here are all of the steps in our process to making fantastic salamis, these will taste great in the end and bring your family together for a weekend of hard work and fun. Proper temperature and humidity control are needed in order to cure the meat properly, this is a serious endeavor so please take all of the necessary precautions to ensure this is done properly, remember, these are not store bought and do not contain nitrates, sulfites and/or starter cultures.
Step 1: Clean the intestines. The best method to do this is to rinse 2-3 times right side in and then do the same inside out, you want the inside of the intestines to be on the outside of your salami’s, for obvious reasons. Once turned inside out, leave the intestines in a bowl of water and add squeezed lemons, limes and oranges, you don’t have to be specific with the ratios, this is meant to diminish the odor. For salami’s, cow’s intestines are preferred due to their size, pigs intestines are more suitable for sausages.
Step 2: Choose the right amount of pork leg and pork shoulder, fat is important in salami’s, too much is not good. I personally used 2 pork legs and 2 pork shoulders, this yielded me 72 salami’s in total. If you do not have a grinding machine, your butcher should be able to do this for you with little problem.
Step 3: Pick fat, this is an important step. You do not want to eliminate good fat, these pieces are easily visible to you, small oblong pieces of fat are acceptable, these will cure into flavor in your meat. What you want to do here is pick out pieces of bone, fat strands, cartledge, veins and any noticeable pieces of meat that are blood stained.
Step 4: Season your meat, mild and hot recipes are as follows, remember that salt is the most important ingredient, it is easiest to make 1 kilo piles to ensure you have seasoned appropriately:
Mild (per 1kg of ground pork): 1-3/4 tablespoons of salt, 3/4 tablespoon of fine black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1/4 cup of white wine (Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio of course)
Hot: (per 1kg of ground pork): all of the above, plus 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes
Step 5: Mix your meat, this is an important step as it helps bind the seasoned meat together. You basically want to knead the meat the same way you would dough, to the point where it is becoming a paste and is sticking together in large clumps, if you do not do this properly you may see holes in your finished salami’s, they are still eatible but it is not visibly appealing. Once this is complete, cover and let you meat stand over night before you begin casing.
Step 6: Begin casing your meat in the intestines. The important jobs you will need here are: a) a stuffer pushing the meat into the machine b) someone taking the meat into the casings c) someone tying the ends of the salami’s, arguably the hardest job d) someone to tie the salami’s into 2 pieces per string and pin the meat, pining the meat will help the salami’s breathe, a safety pin is more than acceptable, you want to make sure there are no air pockets at this stage:
Step 7: Let your salami’s cool over night, preferably in the place where they will ultimately be hanging them.
Step 8: Hang your salami’s, the most optimal temperature of 1-6 degrees Celsius, the most optimal humidity is between 70-80%, I would recommend a thermostat and humidistat, these can be found at your local hardware store. You will need electricity in your cantina/cellar or other storage area, this will operate your humidifier and oscillating fan, air movement is very important.
Step 9: After 5-7 days, press your meat, this can be done with plywood and any type of weight (steel weights, cinder blocks, etc.), you want to help the meat congeal at this stage by putting pressure on it, I use 250-300 pounds of weight. Temperature, humidity and air movement must be maintained during this step. Pressing should be done for another 5-7 days.
Step 10: Hang your meat again for 5-7 days.
Step 11: repeat step 9 for 5-7 days, you can slightly increase your weigh, I would not do so by more than 25-50 pounds.
Step 12: rehang your meat, this is the final step and the waiting game, you will be able to feel when your salami’s are done based on how hard they are, the firmer the better. This step should take another 60 days on the low end to 90 days on the high end. If you see white mold, this is completely fine, if black mold arises at any point those salami’s should be discarded.
Step 13: Wash your salami’s with red wine (I use Rocca della Macie) to clean to outside casings, vacuum pack and store in a cool area. I put mine back in the cantina and have never had a problem. Once I open a salami and do not go through it, I put the remainder in the fridge until it is used next.
Happy salami making, I would gladly answer any questions should they arise. Make no mistake about this process, it is a lot of work, but if you make the most of it with a group of family and friends, it can also be a lot of fun!