Smoked Italian Cacciatore Salami Recipe
Besides the ingredients listed below, you will also need a few things before you start:
- A humidifier, or a place where the humidity can reach 85 %
- A place to hang your sausages in this humid environment.
- A place to hang your sausages after the initial ferment, preferably a place with humidity about 80 % and about 55ºF
- Hog casings, which are available at any good supermarket (ask the butcher) or in a butcher’s shop.
This recipe makes 5 pounds, or about 20-22 eight-inch links
4 Pounds of pork or wild boar
1 Pound pork fat
40 Grams (about 3 tablespoons) kosher salt
20 Grams (2 tablespoons) sugar or dextrose
6 Grams (about a teaspoon) Instacure No. 2
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tsp caraway seed
1 Tbsp ground coriander seed
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 Tsp ground chile
3 Tbsp sweet paprika
20 Grams (about 2 tablespoons) starter culture T-SPX
¼ Cup distilled water
¼ Cup red wine
Chill the meat and fat in the freezer for about an hour. You want it close to frozen, even a little crispy cold.
Chop the meat and fat into 1-inch chunks. Remove as much silverskin and gristle as you can from the pork.
Put about 10 feet of hog casings into some warm water and set aside.
Mix all the spices, salt, curing salt, and sugar with the meat and fat. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
Grind through the coarse die on your grinder. If you are using trim from a boar — meaning there’s a lot of silverskins, etc — you’ll need to grind the sausage finer. Grind first through the coarse die, then again through the fine die. If you need to double-grind, chill the meat in the freezer between grindings for 15-20 minutes. Clean up the grinder while the meat is chilling. When you finish cleaning it, submerge everything in ice water to quickly cool it down.
Meanwhile, run warm water through your hog casings. This flushes them and will show you any leaks in the casings. Set them back in the warm water when you’re done.
Take the temperature of the meat: If it is warmer than 40ºF (4ºC), put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes and check again.
When the pork is good and cold, get your starter culture ready.
Gently mix the starter culture with the distilled water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Take out the meat and put it in a mixer bowl with a heavy paddle attachment.
Add the starter culture and wine, then mix everything on the lowest setting for 60-90 seconds. You will see the meat change texture. You are looking for a good bind, where the meat is beginning to stick to itself.
Put the meat into your sausage stuffer and stuff it into the hog casings. Twist off into links of about 8 inches. Tie off each link with kitchen twine.
Hang the links on a drying rack — a wooden clothes drying rack is excellent for this — and find a needle. Heat the tip of the needle over a flame until it glows to sterilize it. Prick the casing anywhere you see air pockets.
These are not usually smoked but, since they are typical Italian hunter’s salami, I decided to give them a good 4 hours of cold smoke, just like the German hunter sausage Landjaeger. Never bothered to flatten the sausage like they do with Landjaeger.
Now you need to ferment the sausage. You will want to tent the hanging sausages with black plastic from some garbage bags, or some other plastic sheeting. If you have one, put a humidifier under the sausages. You really want them to stay moist.
Let the sausages hang for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours. Every 6-12 hours, spritz them with a spray mister to keep them moist. This is the fermentation stage, the stage where the starter culture you are using defeats any bad bacteria in the sausage.
When the sausages are ready, hang them in your drying chamber. I use an old fridge with a temperature regulator and a humidifier in it. Hang the links at about 70-80 % humidity for at least 2 weeks before eating. You can let them go for as long as 6 weeks.
Store in the fridge, or vacuum sealed in the freezer.
Fermenting at 80º F for 24 hours, 95-97% humidity. After that, they will hang at 70-80 percent humidity and 55º F for three to four weeks.