I don’t think I’ve arrived at the peak of home curing but I’ve definitely leveled up with this air cured sausage: truffled saucisson sec. Who’d have thunk when I started making my own bacon a couple of years ago I’d end up turning a refrigerator in my basement into a curing fridge and making dried sausages. I think there’s some fine tuning to do but I’m pretty happy with the way this air cured sausages turned out (and so is Cheryl).
According to Ruhlman, this is one of the easiest dried sausages to make and it pretty much is except for a special curing salt you need, InstaCure #2/DQ Curing Salt #2, a.k.a sodium nitrate. The importance of using this curing salt when making cured sausages is that sodium nitrate kills bacteria, and does so over the course of drying. It’s a time released bacteria killer, especially the bacteria for botulism. Nobody wants food poisoning so if you’re going to make air cured sausages you need to use this. InstaCure#2 can be easily found on the internet from a reputable sausage making source. It’s not that expensive and you’ll end up with enough to make cured sausage for a looooong time. Other than this little speed bump, it’s a straight up sausage making process. Grind the meat, add seasonings, stuff casings, hang to dry, and monitor and wait.
It takes about three weeks to fully dry to the eating point where the truffled saucisson sec is firm enough and enough moisture has been released. As with all air curing, humidity, temperature, and air circulation are very important. You want your curing chamber to be around 60°F, 60-70% humidity, with air circulating around the sausages. I’d recommend hanging the sausages in your pantry for a day or two to finish them up. So how do they taste? Personally I think these have a little too much fat in them (can be adjusted) but they have a very subtle truffle and garlic flavor. Not overbearing but just enough to make them quite enjoyable with a glass of red wine and some cheese. Anyway, these are going to be great for snacking on while the snow continues to fall here in Chicago. I can really see myself experimenting with flavors on this one in the future!
Truffled Saucisson Sec (adapted from Charcuterie, Ruhlman & Polcyn)
- 4 ½ lbs pork shoulder diced
- 8 oz fat back diced
- 40 gr kosher salt
- 1 Tbs cracked black pepper
- 1 ½ Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp InstaCure #2/DQ Curing Salt #2
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 3-4 Tbs Truffle Gatherer Sauce
- About 10 feet of hog casing
Run water through the casings and let soak in a small bowl of water for 30 minutes or until you’re ready to stuff them.
Using the grinder’s large hole plate, grind the pork and fat back into a large bowls set in ice.
Add all of the ingredients into the ground pork and fat and mix well, either with your hands or with a mixer.
Stretch and push the hog casing onto the stuffer tube attachment, leaving an inch or two hanging off the end of the tube.
Stuff the sausage keeping one hand on the end of the tube where the casing is getting stuffed and help it along if it gets stuck. Don’t stuff it too tightly, you’re going to want to make sure there are no air pockets in the sausage for a uniform consistency. If it’s too tightly stuffed you may break the casing when massaging any air pockets out.
Twist the sausage into approximately 12 inch links and pinch off some space for tying the ends, making sure to tie a loop on one end. Need to hang it from a hook, right?
Prick the sausages with a sterile needle to remove any air pockets in the sausage.
Weigh the sausage and record the weight.
Hang the links in your curing chamber and allow to cure for about 21 days, they should feel stiff throughout and have lost 30% of their weight. Finish them with a day hanging in your pantry to really firm them up.
Slice and enjoy!