Monday, January 25, 2010

My first salami

My Spanish chorizo was so successful I decided to try making a salami. My brother's father-in-law put me onto the place where butchers buy their sausage-making supplies, so I checked out their website, rang them up with a list and my credit card number, and the next day I got a box at work.

For some unknown reason New Zealand butchers cannot access any natural sausage casings bigger than ~38mm. That's a pigs intestine. What we do with our beef intestines I have no idea - maybe we export them. This meant I had to get fibre casings for my salami, and I got some synthetic casings so I can have a go at making luncheon sausage (aka polony or fritz in Australia, or boloney in America) for my grandkids when they visit after Easter.

I also ordered 100 yards of 38mm pig intestine which arrived in a big hank, a bit like knitting wool, packed in salt. I decided to sort it into lengths so I don't need to untangle it every time I make sausages, and boy, what a task that was. Salted pig intestines smell extraordinarily like wet dog!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I recently bought both The Art of Making Fermented Sausages and Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing from Amazon, and the salami I decided to make is a sort of a cross between several of the recipes in each.

I minced about 1.5kg pork leg and 300g beef blade steak (both almost frozen) through the large plate in my mincer, then added about 4 cloves of minced garlic, some ginger, some white pepper and 60g of salt (including some nitrite and nitrate, the equivalent of 1 tsp Prague Powder #2 except home-made by me with lab chemicals). I used much less fat than any of the recipes said (trying to be a bit healthy), so I hope it doesn't come out too hard.

After mixing it well and nearly freezing my hands off I re-minced it through the small plate …

… packed it firmly into a bowl, covered it with plastic, and let it cure in the fridge for three days as per the instructions in Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing . I think the purpose of this is to select for the bacteria that can multiply in a cold salty nitrite-y environment, i.e. the good ones, as I'm not adding any culture to the mix and have to rely on what comes naturally on the meat. The recipes in The Art of Making Fermented Sausages all have added culture, and don't have this curing process.

Tonight I started shovelling the sausage meat …

… into the fibrous casings, using a jam funnel …

… and the poker-downerer from my juicer to pack it tightly and get rid of as much air as possible:

The finished (wet) product is one large tube of meat, and another which has been tied in the middle to shape two smaller ones. One to taste, and one to gift if the taster is good.

The string tied around is as per the instructions in one of the books, which says to tie several loops of string around it to produce "that stuffed look". We'll see what it looks like when it's dried. If it dries properly. I'm a bit concerned that I can't get enough moisture in the air for it to dry at the proper slow and even pace; I have it hanging over the guest shower with water in the bath underneath, but I think I might have to mist it a bit for the first few days.

On a less carnivorous note, I thinned some of my carrots:

They're those multicoloured heirloom ones, it's quite interesting seeing what comes out of the ground.


  1. are you talented or adventurous? Probably both!

    hey... do show pics of your garden!

    I so so love watching 'River Cottage Spring' series right now!

  2. Ha - you don't want to see my garden, it's a mess. Full of weeds and parsley mostly.