“Send a Salami, to your boy in the Army” that sign still hangs over the meat counter at Katz’s deli. Only in New York could those two words rhyme. I love salami, I love its texture, its fatty mouth feel and its subtle flavors. A good salami is dry cured and hung for weeks until it is a wrinkled shadow of it former self. Then and only then should it be sliced and enjoyed with a nice spicy brown mustard.
Of course for the home cook a dry cured sausage of any sort poses several hurdles. The first is obtaining the curing salts and bacterial cultures that ensure you don’t feed yourself botulism toxins. The second is having a dark spot that stays at 80% humidity and 60 degrees for 3 weeks. Perhaps in June I will go score a small fridge from the students vacating Unit 2 at Cal but until then I have to get my sausage fix differently.
Enter the hot smoke. A process of cooking at very low temperature (about 220 F) using wood smoke. You can also do the same thing without smoke, in Kansas City its called BBQ. I am trying two things at once, making an Italian style salami using a small amount of pink salt to preserve the color and give it that distinct cured flavor and also using a hot smoke cooking method (albeit without the smoke) to bypass the long curing process.
I had been wanting to make some more sausage for a few weeks, but was stymied by my inability to find a good source of beef fat. I had been to a number of meat markets with no luck, but then decided to go to the main branch of a local grocery store chain where they have a good supply of fresh meat. I asked one of the butchers and he was happy to supply me with about 4 lbs of beef trimmings and that yielded a little more than 2.5 pound of good clean diced beef fat. The best thing, no charge for the fat.
Recipe after the break
2 lbs of diced beef
1/2 lb diced beef fat
1 tb dry cure mix (1 part salt, 1/2 part sugar, 1/8 part pink salt)
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/8 tsp ground cayenne
1 oz red wine
Dice meat and fat. Mix seasonings and then mix into diced fat and meat. Put mix and all grinding equipment in the freezer for 20 minutes. Grind mixture into a cold bowl, then mix with a stand mixer for 30 seconds to combine and improve the texture.
Place back in freezer for at least 20 minutes and then feed through a sausage stuffer tying off links as you go.
Place fresh sausages in a 225 F oven on a wire rack and cook until the interior temp comes up to 150 F.
Allow to cool, keep chilled and enjoy sliced thin.