Soppressata di Calabria – Step by Step Video Tutorial

Time for another salami recipe. This week’s recipe is no ordinary salami though, it’s Soppressata di Calabria.

So what makes this air cured sausage so special. Well for starters it’s not cylindrical like most salami. It’s oblong. This shape comes from the act of pressing the salami during the initial stages of processing and fermenting. Matter of fact the very name soppressata is derived from the word “soppressare” which means “to press or the act of pressing”. So a purist could argue that if it’s not pressed then it’s not sopressata.

There are many gastronomical wonders that come from the Calabrian region. This one could quite possibly be the most famous (nduja is right up there as well). The unique selection of Calabrian peppers in this soppressata give it a smokey and uniquely spicy flavor. Don’t try to use cayenne pepper or chili powder for this recipe if you want to call it Calabrian. It won’t even be close. You can get Calabrian pepper powder and Calabrian pepper flakes at your local Italian grocer (usually). If you don’t have one close by Amazon will be your best bet.

Another thing that makes this air dried sausage unique is that it’s fermented. Fermentation happens when the bacteria present in the mince meat begin to eat digestible sugars and release lactic acid. This process acidifies the soppressata (which is one of the things that makes it safe to eat) and at the same time gives it very unique flavor, aroma, color, and texture characteristics. The Italians who have been doing this for many many years already have areas where these bacteria are naturally present. Unfortunately we do not, so if we want to produce this sopressata safely at home we need to add these beneficial bacteria to our process. The one I’m using in this recipe is called T-SPX.

T-SPX is a great starter culture for beginners and experienced salumist alike as it is a slow fermenting culture. A slow fermenting culture allows the bacteria to slowly develop that rich flavor, incredible aroma, and beautiful color without acidifying your sopressata to much. After all sopressata di Calabria is not a tangy salami. It’s a mild, smoky, spicy, flavorful salami that will leave a lasting impression on your from the very first bite!! The best way to determine when your sopressata is ready is to monitor the pH during fermentation. With TSP-X you are looking for a target pH of 5.0-5.3. I highly recommend investing in a good quality pH tester as part of your arsenal. My personal favorite is the Apera Instruments PH60S-Z pH meter. This portable/handheld unit is reliable, fast, and has so many features that will help you product excellent charcuterie!

Enjoy the video presentation of how I make Soppressata di Calabria from beginning to end. If you have any questions or thoughts be sure to let me know in the comment section. I’ve added a printable recipe with adjustable quantities for your convenience.

Here are a few items we used to make this recipe:

If you want to see all the items we use in our projects like humidifiers, temp controllers, and all that stuff be sure to check out my amazon storefront. I have everything listed under it’s very own category. If you buy something from my storefront I get a very tiny percentage at no extra cost to you. This helps support the blog. It is greatly appreciated

2 Guys & A Cooler Amazon Storefront

Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Sopressata Di Calabria

A spicy "pressed" salami that is out of control!!
Prep Time2 hrs
Drying Time60 d
Total Time60 d 2 hrs
How much do you want to make? 2270 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Grind chilled pork (35F-37F) and half the fat through the 6mm plate and grind the rest of the chilled fat through the 10mm plate. (This will give you nice fat marbling)
  • Prepare all the seasonings and prepare the starter culture and set to the side. You starter culture needs about 30 minutes to "wake-up" before use.
  • Mix the meat, seasonings, and culture together till the mince is tacky and looks like it's fuzzy. You mince meat will be very sticky
  • Stuff your mince tightly into a 76 mm salami casing making sure there are no air pockets. Tie the end well to ensure that it doesn't come open. Weigh your salami and record the weight
  • Prick your salami to get rid of any air pockets and brush your salami with the prepared mold 600 solution (if you are using this)
  • Ferment your salami at 65F with 85-90% humidity for 48-72 hours (these parameters are for this culture, other culture require different parameters). Place heavy weights on your sopressata during this step to achieve that "pressed" look
  • Test the pH at 48 hours to see where you are at. You are aiming for a ph between 5.0 and 5.2.
  • Once you have reached your target pH place your salami in your drying chamber at 55F with 80% Humidity. Let it dry in this chamber until you have reached a 38%-40% weight loss.

33 thoughts on “Soppressata di Calabria – Step by Step Video Tutorial

  1. Anthony Marriott
    Anthony Marriott

    Love watching your video’s. I have Learnt so much from watching your video’s Of you making salami I just want to say thank you. I have a of cola and pancetta In my curing chamber at the moment. I can not wait to see what you are doing next. Thanks again for inspiring me to make salami. I live in Australia and we can’t get the stuff you guys get from the Sausage maker. I have email them but the Price of shipping is too expensive.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hey Anthony, Thanks for the message. I can’t wait to hear how your projects turn out. Sorry to hear about the $$$ to get sausage maker’s stuff. Keep in touch..

  2. Devon
    Devon

    Just about to make my first Genoa and soppressata di Calabria…
    I’m planning to use “taste of Italy” culture for both. Does that mean I ferment both at 75F and 90% humidity (Listed on the Genoa recipe) rather than the numbers above?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hey Devon,
      That is exactly correct.

  3. Phil
    Phil

    Eric can I use pork butts that have been frozen? These go on sale from time to time for.99cents a pound if I could buy them and freeze them it would save a lot of money

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hey Phil, Absolutely. Keep them in an air tight bag so they don’t get freezer burnt and when you are ready pull them out and have fun. It’ll be great!!

  4. Scott
    Scott

    5 stars
    Thank you for the great SOPPRESSATA DI CALABRIA recipe. I am making it and have a question. How long typically can you expect it to hang for? These have been my results so far…
    1810g on 11-09-2020(start date)
    1524g on 11-16-2020
    1454g on 11-20-2020
    1400g on 11-23-2020
    1352g on 11-27-2020
    It is slowing down to about 10 g a day. If that’s the case, it will take me 20 more days to loose 38%. What should I do? Let it ride? Or pull before the 38%. What happens if it is pulled sooner?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      What was the original diameter of your casing?

      1. Scott
        Scott

        I used the same casing you used. 3”

        1. Eric
          Eric

          OK. That size salami will normally take around 60+ days to dry to 38% (roughly). Yours seems to be drying a little on the fast side. No worries.
          What’s your humidity setting, temp setting, and do you have any extra fans in your chamber? If you want to chat send me your number (go to my contact us page) and I can call you right quick.

          1. Scott
            Scott

            Thank you. The temperature is 54 degrees and 82 percent humidity. There are a couple fans in there that run constantly. I am going to go to your page and send you a message.

      2. Scott
        Scott

        Sorry to reply again. The “start date” was the day in the chamber. After stuffing it weighed 1875g then pressed. After pressing it weighed 1810g

        1. Eric
          Eric

          That’s normal. The pressing will lose extra water weight..

  5. Martti
    Martti

    I have my freezer loaded with venison and I am about to try some venison salami. As not able to find any starter cultures here in Finland I ordered T-SPX and Mold 600 from Germany. Unfortunately the shipping took 14 days and I am now a bit nervous about the health of the bacterias. What is your experience on how easily T-SPX and Mold 600 gets unusable?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It should be fine. I ship my starter cultures internationally as well and it often take 10-14 days to get to me also. I just keep them in my freezer till I am ready to use them. I think 3 weeks might be too much but 2 weeks should be fine 😀

      1. Martti
        Martti

        Thanks Eric! That was a relief first and I was exited to prepare my first salami batch last Saturday. All went well and on Monday morning I noticed some white mold growth. In the evening when the fermentation had taken 52 hours I took my first pH measurement and it showed pH 5,69. The start pH was 6,21 so it looked that there’s something happening. But today (Tuesday) morning (+64 h) the reading had raised up to pH 5,73 on now in the evening (+74 h) even more up to pH 5,84.

        Now I’m wondering what could have gone wrong? In my curing chamber I have a pretty constant 20 degrees Celsius. Humidity 85-90%. I applied the Salami Lombardia recipe from the Marianski&Marianski book and was very careful to measure salt, cure#2, dextrose and T-SPX correctly. I re-hydrated T-SPX abt 10-15 minutes before mixing it into meat. What comes in mind first is that the T-SPX was not viable anymore and secondly that my fat content was pretty high abt 32%. Could the latter be that critical? Any clues what might have gone wrong and is there anything to do or is my first batch lost?

        1. Eric
          Eric

          ok. A couple questions. When is the expiration date on your starter culture? How much dextrose did you add (and to what quantity of meat). How much starter culture did you add and how did you measure it out (by weight or volume). Fat content won’t keep meat from fermenting properly so we can rule that out..

          1. Martti
            Martti

            The best before date of my T-SPX is in mid June 2022. I measured 0,7 grams (abt 1/2 teaspoon) to 5200 grams meat.

          2. Martti
            Martti

            This morning (+86 h) the pH was 5.90, and I have to admit I lost my nerve and adjusted the curing chamber to 12 degrees Celsius. Do you think the sausages have even a small chance of surviving without acidity and only with salt, cure#2, drying and Mold-600 (which grows really well)?

          3. Eric
            Eric

            ok. How are you testing the pH?

          4. Martti
            Martti

            With a new pH meter. I’m mixing one part of meat to two parts deionized water. I calibrated the meter before the initial metering and calibrated it again yesterday. The meter is not a very fancy one, but I believe it’s somewhat accurate.

          5. Eric
            Eric

            ok. Last question how much dextrose did you add in grams..

          6. Martti
            Martti

            16 grams dextrose

          7. Martti
            Martti

            Hey thanks! I was busy the rest of last night and didn’t notice your offer to call me. I really appreciate that. But I’m afraid that I would not dare to communicate over phone since my spoken english is a bit limited 😀 Your Youtube channel has been my no 1 source for information on cured sausage making. And great thanks for all your efforts here to solve my problem. I think I will let the sausages cure in 12deg C and see what comes out. If they get spoiled the meat loss is not huge since I have still more than 100 kg venison in my freezers from the last hunting season. But I loose the work done and this leaves me in uncertainty with the T-SPX I have now. Is there any way to test it’s viability? The expiration date was ok and the powder was loose in the bag. And I don’t believe that it has been exposed to any severe heat during the 14 day transportation. Here at home it was waiting out in my mail box when the outside temp was -10 deg C. One thing that comes in mind now is how sensitive the T-SPX is to contaminants in the meat? For sausage, meat balls and meat loaf I usually use the worst bits of meat and our game slaughterhouse in the countryside is pretty rustic, but I have never had any issues though I tend to taste the minced meat raw (and often quite much 😉 ) for testing salt and seasonings.

          8. Eric
            Eric

            ok, There’s only a couple things that could have gone wrong (assuming your TSPX was kept in the freezer the entire time you’ve had it). Either your pH meter is giving you false readings. What was the PH of the water before you started as that can have an effect on your finial reading, OR you didn’t add enough starter culture. For home producers it’s not recommended to add starter culture by weight. It looks like you added roughly .0125% You should always add it by the spoonful. The weight measurement is almost always there for large batches. This means if you are making 40 pounds you should add 2 teaspoons of starter culture rather than 2.27grams. The reason is because you run the risk on not adding enough “culture” to the meat when it’s added by weight in very small quantitates.

            Now without seeing the sample and smelling it or touching it I couldn’t tell you if it was properly fermented but I can tell you this. If your finishing pH was 5.90 after 3 days of fermentation the meat sample would have the exact same feel and texture of raw ground sausage meat. 5.9 is basically the ph of fresh raw pork when it’s butchered. If it was fermented (and I’m guessing it was) the texture of the meat will be more solid, it will have a firm texture, and if you try to pull it apart it will “tear” off in strips. There’s a decent chance that everything is fine and you were just getting some faulty readings.

          9. Martti
            Martti

            Yesterday I reached four weeks of drying and the most dried sausage reached a 36,5% weight loss. The sausage felt pretty firm and I took it for tasting. And guess if I was excited. Cut up the sausage and it looked excellent 😀 And the taste! It exceeded all my expectations. I was a little hesitant about that all the meat was venison but it didn’t taste too much of the game. But some softness was still in the middle so I head for 40% weight loss. I guess it will take some 2 to 3 weeks to reach that with 45 mm casings. Half of this batch is in 60 mm casings. With the 45 mm casings the avg drying is now 35,5% and with the 60 mm ones 31,0%. It is interesting to see how the longer curing time with thicker ones affects the taste. Now I’m waiting to get more casings so I can make a new batch 😀

          10. Eric
            Eric

            Excellent to hear. I have a 190mm salami (7.5 inches) that’s been drying now for almost 5 months. At the rate it’s drying my guess is that it’ll be ready in another 8-9 weeks. Can’t wait to taste it.

  6. Guy Mickel
    Guy Mickel

    Hi Eric,
    I’m getting ready to make this this weekend. I have some “binder flour” I use in making kielbasa, will it substitute for the nonfat powdered milk?

  7. Eric
    Eric

    It should work. What specifically is the binder flour? What’s it called?

      1. Eric
        Eric

        You can use that with no problems…

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