Skilandis

Today we get to make a Lithuanian cured meat that is off the charts!! It’s smoked, fermented, dry cured, and simply seasoned. The end result is out of this world.

The most important thing you need in order to make this salami is a place for it to dry. This salami is very unique in the sense that it will require a very long drying time. Mine too around 10 weeks to get to its target weight loss of 35%. A typical salami can take between 4-6 weeks to hit its target, so in 10 weeks a lot can go wrong. You will need an area to hang your salami where the temperature and humidity (as well as air flow) are nearly perfect. Salami was often hung in basements or cellars 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 (80%) 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 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 salami

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 Handheld 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 option allows you to use a small handheld 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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Skilandis

A Lithuanian Dry Cured Meat
Prep Time2 hrs
Drying time60 d
Total Time60 d 2 hrs
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • If you are using a hog bladder prepare by rinsing it out properly and allowing it to soak in cool water with a splash of vinegar in it.
  • 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 below 34f (1.1c). Grind chilled meat and fat through a course plate (10mm). Rechill after grinding.
  • Rehydrate the starter culture in distilled water for 30 minutes prior to using.
  • Add all of the spices, cure, dextrose, and starter culture to the chilled ground meat. 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.
  • Stuff the mince tightly into your casing, prick with a sausage pricker, and tie the top off wrapping the string around the bottom, then again at the top to create the classic skilandis look (see video). Weigh your salami and record the weight. Also record your target weight. For a firm salami I would target a 40% weight loss. If you like your salami a bit softer you can target a 35% weight loss.
  • Ferment your salami by placing them in an environment that between 75F (23.9c) and 85F (29.4c) with high humidity for 8 hours. You can achieve high humidity by wrapping your 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.
  • After the 8 hours of fermentation, cold smoke (under 85f/29.4c) the skilandis for 10 hours. Be sure to add a tray of water to your smoker to keep the humidity high during the cold smoking stage.
  • Once you have reached the target pH (this generally happens between 18-24 hours of fermentation) you can transfer your salami to the drying chamber.
  • The drying conditions should be set to 55F (13c) 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 35% – 40% weight loss.

If you want a deeper smoke flavor and better preservation (optional)

  • After you have placed the salami in the drying chamber for 1 day you can begin the additional cold smoking process. Every day for 3-4 days (during the coldest part of the day/night) cold smoke your salami for 3 hours. Keep a tray of water in your smoker for high humidity and as soon as you are finished cold smoking return the salami back to the drying chamber. The temperature while you are cold smoking should be below 70f and the humidity should be in the 80's.
  • After 3-4 days of cold smoking finish the salami off by keeping it in the dry curing chamber till you reach your weight target.
  • once you hit your weight loss target, slice thinly and enjoy

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One thought on “Skilandis

  1. george
    george

    5 stars
    you guys are extraordinary…it’s a pleasure to follow you

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