It's done! My first round of home cured salami is done and ready to eat. I cut one down last week and tried it, with no ill effect. So now I feel much more comfortable eating more and giving it a thoughtful evaluation. All-in-all, I'm pleased. Part of me is totally thrilled that this worked at all, and I've turned raw pork into something edible and delicious. Well, pretty delicious. I think it has a nice flavor, but it's clearly a beginner's start. The texture is what needs the most work, and I think to improve that I need a proper sausage stuffer. It has a nice mix of fat and meat, but it feels a little overworked and "pulpy."The issue I have is that my Kitchen Aid meat grinder/sausage stuffer works the meat too much. After grinding it, I have to rechill the meat, then pass it through the auger and a mixing paddle again to stuff it into the casings. This kneads the meat too much, which I think makes the texture suffer. A proper sausage stuffer just pushes the meat right into the casing, without and further mixing of the meat.
But for a first time, I'm really happy this worked. The salami has that savory taste of cured meat, with a bit of a bite from the garlic and black pepper. So while we still have cold temperatures, I'm trying one more curing project. This time I'm curing a whole muscle; a section of a mangalitsa's ham, complete with fat cap and skin. I've cured it for several days in a mix of salt, sodium nitrate, bay, juniper, black pepper, and coriander.
The adventure continues!