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
- Flavor of Italy
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- Digital Smokers (I use the model 4D WiFi)
- Bella’s Cold Smoke Generator
- MK4 Thermapen (Accurate Thermometer)
- Sausage Pricker
- Dry Curing Cabinet
- Kotai Chef Knife (for 15% off use discount code – 2guys )
- Sausage Stuffers
- Meat Grinder
- Meat Mixers
- Stuffing Horn Cleaner
- Butcher Twine & Dispenser
- Small accurate Scale for spices
- Large Capacity Scale (33 pounds)
- Drying rack and tray
- Custom Cutting Board
- Apera pH Meter with Bluetooth
- InkBird Controllers temp & Humidity
- Dehumidifier Eva Dry 1100
- Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Heavy Duty Kitchen Vacuum Sealer
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.
If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.