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Dry Cured Salami at Home

Written By Culinary Pen on Sunday, January 29, 2012 | 6:11:00 PM

A few years ago, my brother got me Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. It has carefully and patiently guided me through making bacon, pancetta, sausage, and all manner of pates. Today, it helped me make my first dry cured salami.
Dry cured salami is a lot like cheese making. You take a highly perishable product, such as raw milk or raw meat, then add salt to help create an inhospitable environment for any pathogens. To tip the scale in our favor, the product (milk or meat) is inoculated with a pH raising bacteria that raises the acidity of the food farther out of the range that's survivable to harmful bacteria. Then the product dries out, reducing the moisture and extending the shelf life.

So for this sausage making experiment, I mixed ground pork meat and backfat with just some simple seasonings of black pepper and garlic, along with the bactoferm bacteria to help raise the acidity of the meat. To help feed the bacteria and make sure it's the dominant organism in this sausage, we added dextrose, which is just corn sugar. Dextrose is easily metabolized by by the bacteria, which will use this sugar to produce the necessary acidity.
Now they're hanging out in an unfinished corner closet of our house, which is unheated and stays about 50 F at this time or year. I've installed a hygrometer and digital thermometer in the closet to make sure things stay in a healthy range. But so far so good! We'll see where things are in 2-3 weeks!
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