The Day of Salami

As we had a freezer full of pork we didn’t cut up a pig this year at Christmas-time, instead we made salami.

Before undertaking this I wasn’t clear on what salami is. It’s actually raw, fermented, cured, dried meat. That’s right, you stuff raw pork and spices, mixed with curing salt and helpful bacteria cultures, into beef intestines, let it ferment a day or two at about 80 degrees, and then let it hang for a month or so at 60 degrees.

And then you eat it. Really.

Here’s Josh grinding up the pork.

Grinding Pork

We used pork shoulder and fresh side from Avis Acres, a local grower of organic, pasture-raised pork.

Here’s me and Lisa mixing up the ground pork with spices and the bacteria culture.[1]

Stirring Pork

We made two different recipes [2] of 5 pounds each, so we ended up shuffling the batches between the big bowl Lisa is stirring in. It was the only bowl I had big enough to stir 5 pounds of meat at once.

Transferring Pork

Mmmm, beef middles.

Beef Middles

These are cow intestines, cleaned carefully[3]. They’re about 2, 2 1/2 inches in diameter when stuffed.

Stuffed Pork

The first salami!

More Stuffing

We stuffed them into links about 18 inches long. Here’s the stuffing crew hard at work.

Paul, Josh, and me.

After stuffing the salamis go into the curing chamber. This is what they look like after a week of fermenting, curing, and drying.

Curing Pork

It may be hard to believe, but that curing chamber is a homemade job! It’s our garage refrigerator with a small electric heater wired to a thermostat and a small humidifier. It actually works pretty well at holding the temperature at the 55-60 degrees it needs for curing.

Just another 3 weeks or so until tasting time!

1. The bacteria culture is Bactoferm T-SPX which according to “enhances the aromatic flavor and appearance of fermented meats”

2. The recipes we used are from the excellent “Salumi” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

Basic Salami
5 lbs fatty pork shoulder
2 ounces coarse salt
1 teaspoon DQ Curing Salt #2
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup chilled red wine
1 tablespoon Bactoferm T-SPX

Salami Picante
5 lbs fatty pork shoulder
2 ounces coarse salt
1 teaspoon DQ Curing Salt #2
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup chilled red wine
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon destrose
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Bactoferm T-SPX

3. We hope.

5 thoughts on “The Day of Salami

  1. I got the intestines from They come packed in salt and keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. And they’re pre-cleaned.

  2. It’s just amazing to me that you can simply order pre-cleaned, preserved beef intestines. Hope it turns out for you.

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