Mint Salami

Salami making can be a beautiful way to express yourself creatively. I personally see salami making as a blank canvas and through different proteins and spices we can create edible art! Today’s salami was inspired by the idea of food perception. I wanted to create a salami that looked and smelled like a peppermint candy but once eaten delivered a culinary plot twist that would have people talking. I think we achieved that 😁. This salami is not only beautiful but extremely delicious! On a charcuterie platter it is completely unique and pairs well with a classic white wine, a nice cheese, and a little fruit (grapes and melon).

This is going to be a beef and pork salami using a 70/30 lean to fat ratio. I will be using pork back fat to satisfy the fat portion of our recipe. There are a few unique ingredients in this recipe. The first is Insta Cure #2. We use Insta Cure #2 to protect our meat against harmful bacteria (botulism) and because the processing time will be longer than 30 days to dry. We are also using an ingredient called Titanium Dioxide. This food grade additive is used to “whiten” our salami and finally we will be adding a bacterial starter culture called Flavor of Italy.

Flavor of Italy contains several different family groups of lactic acid producing bacteria (much like sauerkraut or pickles). These bacteria (during fermentation) eat sugar (dextrose) and release lactic acid. It’s this very process that starts to acidify your meat, lowering the pH. When it comes to salami making the “safe zone” is a pH that’s under 5.3. Each start culture is slightly different but for Flavor of Italy our target ph will be between 5.2pH and 4.9pH.

The absolute most reliable way to test the pH of your salami is with a pH meter. If you plan on getting into this hobby you’ll want to get a reliable pH meter. This isn’t something that you want to go cheap on. A good quality pH meter will last you a long time and offer you the peace of mind of knowing that you are producing a safe product to eat. We use the pH meter from Apera Instruments PH60S-Z. This Pocket pH Tester has blue tooth capability, can be calibrated for extreme accuracy, and is very easy to use. They also make a (non bluetooth version) PH60S. The great thing about pH meters is that you can use them for all sorts of things other than salami making. We use ours to make beer/wine, cheese, fermented foods (kim chi, sauerkraut, hot sauce), kombucha, and gardening/hydroponics. There are many different styles of pH meters but if you stick to the ones that I linked above (the swiss spear units) you can do everything i mentioned without a problem.

The last thing you need in order to make this salami is a place for it to dry. Salami was often hung in a basement or cellar as the temperature was typically cool with a fairly high humidity. If you have a basement or cellar that’s not very drafty and has an average of 55F (13C) with a high humidity (85%) then you can hang your salami in there with no worries, but for the rest of us the best option is to have a drying chamber. A drying chamber chamber provides a controlled environment so that your salami can dry evenly.  Building a drying chamber is relatively easy but if you don’t want to build one and have some rainy day money laying around buying a drying/curing chamber is even easier.

Follow basic salami preparation practices when making this sausage.
  1. Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment.
  2. Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (below 35F) during the grinding process
  3. Rehydrate your starter culture (in non-chlorinated water) for 30 minutes prior to use.
  4. Mix your very chilled mince meat, seasonings, and starter culture till the mince becomes very tacky
  5. Tightly stuff the mince into casings and prick out any air pockets
  6. Record the starting weight and the target of each salami link
  7. Brush with protective mold culture
  8. Hang the salami to ferment for 18-24 hours (these parameters are for Flavor of Italy starter culture)
  9. After the pH target has been hit, hang the salami to dry till the weight loss target has been achieved.
  10. Remove from the drying chamber, slice thinly, and enjoy

Here are a few things you might find useful when making this sausage

How do you store your salami when it’s finished

Storing your salami properly is just about as important as making your salami. You’ve spent so much time patiently waiting for your salami to dry properly the last thing you want is to have it ruined by storing it incorrectly. In all my years of salami making the advice I’m about to give is from personal experience.

I have found that the best way to store your salami is by vacuum sealing it then placing it in your refrigerator till you are ready to eat. This method will keep your salami in “stasis” for as long as a year! By vacuum sealing your salami will keep it from losing any more moisture and as an added bonus the time it remains in the refrigerator will help equalize the moisture that inside and allow the salami to “age” which will develop it’s flavor. It’s a win win!

Can you freeze your salami? Technically you can and many people do BUT freezing your charcuterie (salami or whole muscles) will affect the texture when it’s thawed and eaten. As the salami thaws moisture crystals (that were frozen) will be released changing the overall texture. I don’t personally recommend freezing but if you don’t mind the texture change it is certainly an option.. If you are looking for an affordable vacuum sealer consider checking out the Heavy Duty Kitchen Vacuum Sealer from the Sausage Maker. This vacuum sealer is versatile and really does a good job. It has lots of features and really makes a tight seal on your meats (which is what you want). A more economical option for more short term storage is this Hand Held Vacuum Sealer with Zip Lock Bags also from The Sausage Maker. This is a great option for fast convenient vacuum sealing especially if you plan on taking slices off your salami frequently. This options allows you to use a small hand held sealer with special bags that can be reused time and time again.

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

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Mint Salami

A unique and different salami experience
Prep Time2 hrs
Drying time61 d
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • If you are using a mold culture prepare at least 2-3 hours before you start processing your meat. This will give it a chance to "wake up"
  • Clean your meat of any sinew or silverskin and cut the meat and fat into small chunks (small enough to fit into your grinder)
  • Chill your meat to 32f-34f. Grind chilled meat and fat through a course plate (10mm or 8mm). Rechill after grinding.
  • Prepare the casing by soaking in luke warm water and prepare the starter culture as it needs to rehydrate for a least 30 minutes
  • Combine the cure and the spices together and set to the side. In a small container weigh out the titanium dioxide and mix 1-2 tablespoons of cool water in it.
  • Once you have everything ready add the cure, spices, and the starter culture to your mince and begin mixing. Mix well until everything is thoroughly incorporated. It should feel tacky and stick to your hand if you turn your hand upside down, when finished.
  • Add the titanium dioxide liquid and mix for another 20 seconds till everything is well mixed
  • Stuff the mince into your casings, prick with a sausage pricker, and if you plan on using mold this would be a good time to brush it on. Also weigh your salami and record the weigh.
  • Ferment your salami by placing them in an environment that between 75F and 85F with high humidity for 18-24 hours. You can achieve high humidity by wrapping you salami in cling film. This locks in the moisture. A good place to ferment is in your oven with the light on but the oven off. (EVERY STARTER CULTURE IS DIFFERENT. THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOR THE FLAVOR OF ITALY STARTER CULTURE). The goal of fermentation is to reach a pH between 5.2 and 4.9.
  • Once you have reached the target pH you can transfer your salami to the drying chamber.
  • The drying conditions should be set to 55F and 80% humidity. Leave it in here till you lose 30% – 40% moisture loss. The more moisture that is lost the harder your salami will be. I personally like 38% – 40% weight loss.

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