Mexican Salami – Fermented using Sauerkraut Juice

Making salami is a thing of beauty. The ability to utilize seasonings, bacteria, and time to create a product that is not only shelf stable but incredibly delicious (sometimes).

Under normal circumstances I use commercially bought starter cultures. They are predictable and turn out a great product, but I sure do like to experiment. Today we are making salami using the natural bacteria found in sauerkraut juice.

Sauerkraut juice much like any lactofermented vegetable will be high in lactobacillus bacteria. This family of bacteria is responsible for lowering the pH of your food making it perfect for long term food storage. It’s this lowered pH that not only keeps your food from spoiling but also delivers that delicious acidic “tangy” flavor when you eat it. Pickles, kim chi, sauerkraut, just to name a few.

The idea for this salami was relatively easy. I had some naturally fermented Mexican Sauerkraut that I had made and I wanted to build a salami around those flavors. Cilantro, cumin, chipotle powder, oregano, I think you get the idea.. One thing led to another and VOILA! Mexican Salami using Sauerkraut juice as it’s starter culture was born.

There are a few things that you will need to know if you plan on making salami.

  • You will need an area to ferment your meat
  • You will need a pH meter to test the pH of your meat
  • You will need an area to dry your meat

The area that you pick to ferment your meat needs to have controlled temperature and humidity. If your home or your basement is in the low 70’s that would work fine, just make sure that your humidity level is over 80%. If your humidity is too low then your salami will start to dry to fast and the bacteria will not ferment properly. Remember that where you ferment is less important than the conditions you ferment in. I personally use a smoker (when it’s off) to hang my salami, others might use an ice chest, or even place the salami in their oven with a tray of water. It doesn’t matter where you ferment, just remember temperature and humidity are paramount. That’s what you need to focus on.

Next you will need some way to test for pH. This is your guide to tell you when it’s finished. After 48 hours of fermenting you will test your meat to see where it’s at. I use the Apera Instruments PH60S-Z for my projects. It’s not cheap but if you plan on making salami with any level of consistency I would highly recommend investing in one. Anything below a pH of 5.3 is considered the “safe-zone” but with the particular bacteria found in sauerkraut I would target a pH range of 4.6 – 4.9. The lower the pH (4.6) the tangier your salami will be.

Finally you will need an area to dry your salami. Just like the fermentation stage above it doesn’t matter where you dry your salami as long as you can maintain the right temperature and humidity. The ideal environment for drying charcuterie is 55F and 80% humidity. Basements are often good places, caves work well also, but more commonly hobbyist will use converted refrigerators. If you want to read a post on how to build one for yourself you can check out my “How to build a salami/cheese drying chamber” post.

Here are a few things that you might need when making salami

With all of that out of the way let’s make salami. I have added a video for you to watch the entire process. If you have any questions be sure to leave them in the comment section below.

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Mexican Salami

A uniquely seasoned salami
Prep Time3 d 1 hr
Drying Time60 d

If you are making sausage adjust the servings to reflect the total weight of your meat and fat

Servings: 1000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • If you plan on using Mold 600 on your salami- rehydrate 1/2 tsp in a 1/2 cup of distilled or non chlorinated water.
  • Grind your chilled (below 35F) pork and fat on a 10mm plate. Rechill once finished
  • Mix in all of your seasonings and the sauerkraut juice. Once your meat mixture is sticky, stuff your meat into casings.
  • Prick out the air pockets, brush with mold 600 (if using), and weigh your salami. Record the weight and place in a fermentation chamber.
  • Ferment between 65-75F with 85% humidity for 48-72 hours. Test your pH. With this method try to target a ph of 4.9. Once you hit your target move the salami into it's drying chamber.
  • Dry this salami at 55F and 80% humidity till you achieve your target weight loss. I typically target 38% – 40% weight loss.

SPECIAL NOTES

  • If you want to use a commercially obtained starter culture I would suggest using "Flavor of Italy"  Keep everything the same in the recipe except reduce the dextrose to .2% and the fermenting conditions will be 75F and 85% humidity for 24 hours.  If you use a different starter culture your fermenting conditions will most likely change.  Leave me a message if you have a question.
  • The Dextrose in this recipe is the "food" for your bacteria. Don't leave that out..

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