The Process of Making Salami

From raising the animal humanely to preparation and eventually serving the meat, learn the steps by which salami is created.

  • “Campo Seco” at the beginning of the fermentation process (less than two hours old)
    Photo courtesy Sterling Publishing
  • “Campo Seco,” one week old (beginning of drying process)
    Photo courtesy Sterling Publishing
  • “Campo Seco,” mid-aging (about two weeks old)
    Photo courtesy Sterling Publishing
  • “Campo Seco,” 3 weeks old
    Photo courtesy Sterling Publishing
  • “Campo Seco,” almost dry
    Photo courtesy Sterling Publishing
  • “Cured: Handcrafted Charcuteria & More” by Charles Wekselbaum.
    Cover courtesy Sterling Epicure

Award-winning chef Charles Wekselbaum has written an entry-level guide to the dry-curing process for those who want to try it at home. In Cured (Sterling Epicure, 2016) which was inspired by flavors from Asia to Italy, you can learn the basics of curing salami, prosciutto, salmon, tuna, or even vegan options including cucumber and figs. Construct your own drying and fermentation chamber, arrange a charcuterie board, and learn some delicious drink pairings for the finished product.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Cured.

From Farm to Kitchen: The Process of Making Salami

1. Raising animal The animal is raised, preferably in a clean, open environment, with access to the outdoors. It eats a clean and natural diet and is ideally not administered any antibiotics, growth hormones, growth stimulants or promoters.

2. Sacrifice The animal is sacrificed in as low stress a manner as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, orderly and smooth transport, ensuring that no other animals are present, performing the sacrifice quickly, so any pain the animal feels is kept to a minimum. The most “humane” way of doing this today by “stunning,” which imposes instant unconsciousness unto the animal.

3. Butchering Butchering can be done in a variety of ways. Styles of butchering consistently vary from country to country and region to region. The important information to remember when butchering for salami making, is to a) separate the lean meat from the hard fat and b) make sure it is trimmed of its nerves, tendons, and silver skin. While certain cuts are better for making salami than others, any cut can theoretically be used, as long as the meat and fat are properly separated and measured out.

4. Chopping/Grinding This is where the coarseness of your salami gets determined. It also plays a vital role in how your lean and fat are visually defined in the finished salami. Lean and fat should be kept cold during this process, and handled minimally, to keep them from smearing, and to ensure that the lean and the fat maintain their definition as much as possible. It is important that the lean meat does not become covered in fat, which will prevent it from drying and can cause the salami to spoil.

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