Meat service is back on the blog after a vegetable post last week! And not just any meat service but cured, dried, fermented salami meat service. Oh hells yeah! Salami di Felino is an excellent starter salami as its flavor profile is simply garlic and pepper. This is the kind of stuff I dreamed about making one day when I first went down the charcuterie rabbit-hole years ago. As you can probably tell from my enthusiasm, it turned out great.
Salami di Felino is a cured fermented salami from…you guessed it, Felino…which is near Parma. Notice how a lot of good things come from Parma? According to Ruhlman/Polcyn’s Salumi this cured fermented sausage is an equal mixture of beef and pork. From my research it looks like the original is entirely pork but for a first try I stuck with Ruhlman and Polcyn’s mixture of pork and beef. I did not stick with their seasoning amounts though.
This salami is supposed to have a good garlic and pepper flavor, but again, as I’ve said before (ranted even), the seasoning amounts given in sausage recipes are very tame. I mean come on, the recipe calls for 3 cloves (that’s CLOVES of garlic, not tablespoons) and 2 TEAspoons of black pepper. How in the heck are you going to taste either of those?!?!?!? Well thanks to my previous sausage seasoning experiments you can taste them now because I upped the levels dramatically.
This salami added another bit of sausage curing technique too. In addition to using some of the starter culture for fermenting the meat, I tried out something called Mold 600, which is a beneficial mold. It’s a commercial product which comes in a powder, gets dissolved in water, and applied to the outside casing. Over time it forms a white, powdery, film on the outside which acts as a protective barrier against bad bacteria. Mold 600 is good bacteria. The salami you see in the deli case with white stuff on the outside is probably made with this. It’s safe. As you can see mine did not turn white. I think I may have put too little on the casing but luckily it didn’t affect how the salami turned out.
And how did it turn out, you ask? Well, I don’t want to brag but…pheeeee-nomenal! Great garlic and pepper flavor, a good tangy-sour taste like you’d expect in your salami, and an excellent texture. It’s not over dried out so it is firm but not hard. Kind of like a summer sausage but maybe a little drier. I’ve been making salami sandwiches all week and have really put a dent in this one. Good thing the second one is still hanging in the curing fridge.
Now, while my Salami di Felino did turn out great I must confess it’s not perfect. When I first sliced into the salami I noticed there were a couple of very small pockets where I didn’t squeeze out all of the air when stuffing the casing. Very very small. Didn’t affect the flavor one bit, but it’s an imperfection. Of course only I would likely notice it. Pretty sure anyone sitting in my kitchen eating this salami with cheese and a glass of wine won’t notice anything but how good it tastes.
- 2 lbs pork shoulder, cubed
- 2 lbs lean beef, cubed
- 1 lb fat back, cubed
- 50 grams sea salt
- 4 Tbs ground black pepper
- 4 tbs minced garlic
- 1 Tbs dextrose*
- 1 tsp DQ Curing Salt #2 (Instacure #2, pink salt #2, NOT bacon curing salt which is DQ #1)
- 10 grams bactoferm (F-RM-52)*
- 2 Tbs distilled water
- ½ C dry red wine
- Mold 600* (optional)
- 2 Tbs distilled water
- Two 18inch hog middles
Mix the pepper, salt, curing salt and garlic with the pork, beef, and fat back.
Soak the hog middles in warm water for 30 minutes.
Grind through medium die into a bowl set in ice.
Add the dextrose. Mix thoroughly. Next, add and mix in the wine.
Dissolve the starter culture (bactoferm) in the distilled water.
Add to the meat and mix well. Make sure it gets distributed throughout the meat. Use the stand mixer if possible for this step.
Weigh the ground mixture and separate into two equal amounts.
If not already tied off, tie one of the ends of a hog middle in a bubble knot.
Squeeze out any water from inside the hog middle. Stuff one half of the mixture into one casing by hand. Spoon it in and squeeze it down to the bottom. When done filling the casing squeeze the casing from the open end towards the closed end like you would a cake decorating tube in order to squeeze out any air and push the ground meat together. You want a nice, snug, encased sausage.
Tie the open end off in a bubble knot.
Repeat with the remaining meat and hog middle.
Tie and truss the salami like you would a roast. Add some support ties up the sides so you have at least 4 strings running along the sides. Tie a loop off the top for hanging.
Prick the casings all over (and I mean all over) with a sterile needle or a sausage pricker to help let air out in the drying process. The casing will shrink and you want any air trapped to escape.
Hang the sausages to incubate for 12 hours at around 80°F and 80% humidity. I put mine in the oven with the light on and a pan of water.
Weigh the salami.
If using mold culture, mix according to package instructions and spray/rub onto the casings.
Hang in your curing fridge until the salami lose 30% of their weight. Mine were about 6 weeks (made them at Christmas)
*Notes: While I have tried to give tsp and Tbs equivalents, you really should get a kitchen scale if you don’t have one. Science-y things need more accurate measurements, especially when it comes to starter cultures.
If you decide to make fermented sausages you will eventually need things like dextrose, bactoferm, and Mold 600. There are many reputable suppliers where these are available. I purchased mine from Butcher and Packer. Craft Butchers’ Pantry also carries them. Both carry all sorts of things you’ll need when you’re ready to level-up.
All of the cultures you purchase can be safely stored in the freezer for 6 months. One packet will, according to the suppliers, work for 100kg of meat. Using half a packet for 5 lbs may seem like overkill but from my understanding the bacteria is contained in a powder and there’s more powder than bacteria so by using at least ¼ of the packet you are ensuring enough of the bacteria will get into the meat. You’ll see recipes for 5lbs of salami which call for 10 grams, 15 grams, and 20 grams (the packages I bought are 25 grams), so you will get a little confused. For this recipe I used the 10 grams specified in the recipe and it worked admirably.