Now that I have a big ol' creepy and dank basement I have been continuing my adventures in home dry curing (along with my usual general sausage making and other meaty pursuits). I seem to be having a bit more success as of late (there have been assorted disasters in the past). So when some dear friends were having a little party that required some snacks I thought I would lay down a portion of my accumulating projects.
As a side note, all of this stuff is made from your average supermarket meats. Although I think I have progressed from hack hobbyist to journeyman producer of dry-cured meat, I still am a bit wary of practicing my craft on high test meat. I would feel pretty bad if I had to bin a 5 pound batch of off salami made out of local, pastured, heritage pork. Once I have total confidence in my abilities I intend to move on to "happy" Upstate New York meat and distribute the fruits of my labor to friends and associates as a sort of public service. Wouldn't it be nice to have a little pocket of indigenous charcuterie production? I have a mind to develop a local salami variety as well. Upstate NY does excellent pork and beef. We also have excellent garlic but I am not sure what spices really express our homeland... Any suggestions? Maybe some Utica Grind red pepper...
In any event I thought I would give a bit of a run down here of the stuff I have been working on as I know everyone likes an occasional dosage of gratuitous charcuterie porn.
First we have the all beef summer sausage that I previously posted about. Not a dry cured item, but still tasty and I thought I would throw it on the platter.
Here are some small soppressatas. These are all pork (shoulder and belly) seasoned with red pepper, garlic, peppercorns, and wine. I used Bactoferm F-LC for the culture in all the items here as it is a good general use sort of product.
I was very pleased with these little chubs. They had nice meat/fat definition, a good coloring, and just enough tang and heat. This is probably the sausage I am most pleased with.
Here we have a Polish type salami flavored with some mustard seeds and marjoram. This was probably my least favorite. The texture was a bit off. I attribute this to a relatively low fat to meat ratio. Also, this was made from the contents of my "trim bag," i.e. the bag i keep in my freezer to toss in all the odd bits and ends I hack from various meats on an ongoing basis. It wasn't bad, just not my favorite.
I really liked the below pictured guy. This is a mixed pork/beef small diameter salami flavored with fresh ground coriander and mace. I made about 5 foot and a half lengths of this stuff and I am excited to have so much. This is a quintessential "cheese and crackers" salami as well as being a good portable snacking sausage.
Next I have my all-beef (brisket) snack sticks that I call "Slim Davids." These are aggressively spiced with red pepper and cayenne and not much else (some garlic and wine too). The Slim Davids seemed to be a crowd favorite with my friends.
Very good meat/fat definition in these little guys too.
Nothing better than a giant platter of salami, is there? I was happy to be able to provide such a bounty of salty meat to my friends.
I always like to take a picture of the "meat table." You can also see a very attractive country pate that a friend brought. Also, Meatloafy the Whale is lurking in the background (right next to my friends sweet red 70s shorts).
Anyhow, I will continue to update with dispatches concerning my meaty experiments.