1st Attempt @ Semi-Dry Salami (unstuffed): Q-View, Method, Basic Recipe

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by forluvofsmoke, May 31, 2011.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey all, I'm back! This project was inspired by two fellow SMF OTBS members: the late, great RonP, and Bearcarver.

    It's been a few weeks since I tried anything new, so my new threads have been non-existent. Today, I wanted to share another adventure. My inspiration for this is two-fold: RonP got me started doing unstuffed cured/smoked salami about 2-1/2 years ago, and I haven't made much for the past year or so; then, along came Bearcarver with his smoked dried beef eye round. Well, I haven't yet had the opportunity to make Bearcarver's recipe (hopefully very soon), but part of his drying and smoking process (with certain steps omitted/modified) is actually incorporated in what I'm embarking on for this hard salami, only this is of much longer duration. So, there's the double-inspiration.

    I've been thinking about trying my hand at a dried salami for quite some time, and this weekend, the stars were aligned properly to make it all come together. I hunted around on the net and here on the forums for info on a process similar to this, but I'm gonna have to wing it, 'cause I came up with nadda. While I don't have the perfect environment for producing a traditional hard salami, I felt this process would suffice in bringing a fairly decent hard salami to the table without any of the expensive automated meat drying equipment (thermostat/humistat controlled), or temporarily moving to another continent for 3-4 months so I'd have the ideal conditions, on top of purchasing a stuffer and casings.

    I started this project when I knew I would have the time to get it dried and smoked shortly after it was cured, and this weekend was just the ticket I was waiting for to take a ride on yet another quest . I was too busy preparing for a triple-graduation party for the past several weeks, and now that all that meat smoking (Pulled/Sliced Brisket, PP, Loin Back Ribs (***forgot, we made about 100 ABT's onsite***) is finished and the party is over, it's time to slow down and smell the salami!!!

    I adore the genoa salami from the delicatessens at nearby grocery stores, and would love to be able to make my own. Getting the same tangy flavor may not be possible in my case, but a deep intense smoked beef flavor with an even chewier texture than a slice of genoa had me pondering this idea for awhile. I wanted a lightly seasoned, very dry beef salami with a really chewy texture...dry enough that slicing by hand would be a challenge. Here's what I came up with to hopefully pull it off:

    2.5lbs 80/20 ground beef (for reg salami I use 85/15)

    2.5 Tbls Morton's Tender Quick cure

    3/8 cup cold water

    1/2 Tbls freshly ground black peppercorn

    1/2 Tbls freshly ground garlic

    Mix all dry ingredients into water and pour over GB in a large bowl. Hand-mix well to incorporate the wet cure solution into the meat, triple-wrap in plastic wrap while forming into the desired length of loaf and refrigerate for 24-36 hours to cure.

    Unwrap meat and place directly onto smoker food grate;

    Begin drying in vertical smoker with dry water pan @ ~85-90* for 2 hours, then at the begining of the:

    3rd hour, add smoke wood(s) and maintain current temp;

    4th hour, increase temp to ~95-100* and continue smoking;

    5th hour, increase temp to ~115-120* and continue smoking;

    6th hour, increase temp to ~125-130* and continue smoking;

    8th hour, increase temp to ~135-140* and continue smoking;

    10th hour, remove smoke wood(s) and maintain current temp (at some point afterwards, get some sleep???);  

    EDIT: 21.5 hours, increase temp to ~175-180* 160-165*;

    EDIT: 23rd hour, increase temp to 175-180* to an internal temp of 160*;

    Remove grate from smoker and rest on a baking pan or similar resting place for approx 10 minutes to catch any drippings while it begins to cool, pat off any exterior rendered fat with paper towels/napkins, double-wrap in plastic wrap and chill  @ ~35* for 5-6 hours or overnight before slicing.

    *Note: I modofied the chamber temp increases due to a rapid climb in I/T from 124* to 131* in the first 30 minutes @ 180* to get a more gradual I/T climb into the finished temp. My theory is that this should give a better texture to the finished product regarding dryness and being very chewy.


    Hours /  I/T

    5 / 86*

    6 / 97*

    7 / 99* plateau, which ran for 1.5 hours  ;

    9 / 104* (4-5* jump in less than 0.5 hour)

    10 / 108*

    11 / 111*

    11.5 / 114*

    12.5 / 117*

    13 / 117*

    21.5 / 124*

    Chamber raised to 180* @ 21.5 hours:

    22 / 131*

    Chamber temp dropped to 160-165* range to slow it down:

    22.5 / 135*

    Chamber temp raised to 175-180* range:

    23 / 136*

    23.25 / 140*

    23.5 / 142*

    24.25 / 147*

    25.25 / 151*

    25.75 / 153*

    26.5 / 156*

    27 / 158* (chamber temp was in alarm @ 185*...cracked it back to 182*)

    27.5 / 160* (shut-down smoker and left on grate to begin resting/cooling while I watch for carry-over peak temp and pat-down rendered fat)

    Carry-over temp: 161* after 6-7 minutes, then dropped under 160*;

    Rest time on open grate: 25 minutes, while patting rendered fat;

    Wrapped temp of salami / refigerator storage temp: 152* / 20* for 3.5 hours with top-to-bottom rotations of the loaf every 0.5 hours in my outdoor fridge, set-up to run as a quick-chiller;

    Transfered to -20* freezer with internal air fan for last 30 minutes of chilling with two top-to-bottom rotations of loaf;

    I started the drying/smoking process @ 9:30AM with the premise that it could take at least 26 hours...22 hours drying/cold smoking, and 4-6 hours to bring it to finished temp. Relative humidity is high today for our area ranging from the upper 60% range to the lower 70% range due to the stormy weather in the area. We've had cold rainy days and nights nearly every day for the past 4 weeks, and now the forecast is for no rain for the next several days, but being near the edge of a band of strong storms and all the soaked soil in the area is causing the humidity to be about 30-40% above normal. This will increase my drying time for the salami, somewhat.

    5.25 hours into the cold smoke and drying..I/T was 86*F when I stabbed the probe into the center of the loaf...not much happening just yet for color, as I just hit the 120* mark @ 5 hours (grate temp probe is in the lower R/H of pic just 1-1/2" under the gourmet's grate):



    I'm firing the gourmet with a propane torch stuck into a 1-1/4" hole I drilled in the side of the coal pan/outer pan early in it's life intended for using a turkey fryer propane burner. The torches of this type are available @ hardware stores and are intended for using on a 14 or 16oz disposable cylinder. I'm using it with a bulk-tank adapter and hose I had on-hand in my camping-gear stash. Temp adjustment isn't too bad...a bit touchy under the 100* range with 68* ambient temps when I started the drying stage. Once I got closer to the 120* range, temp adjustments were pretty easily achieved. The BTU output of the torch is unknown, but, probably 5K max. I stuffed the void in the pan with steel wool to reduce the chance of air entering into the side and creating turbulence and/or uneven heating between the opposing sides of the smoke chamber. The torch is getting it's oxygen from the center hole in the bottom of the pans.

    For those of you who may be new to seeing Que come from my modded gourmet, my lower intake mod is fully opened to reduce the humidity and the lid has a 1-1/4" hole drilled next to the handle, along with a foiled nylon rope for a lid gasket fitted just above the crimp on the lid for a fairly tight lid seal against the barrel. I have a coal grate resting on the inner lip of the charcoal pan level with the lower edge of the barrel. My smoke wood chunks are resting on that grate with the torch flame directed towards the grate center and the smoke wood close to the flame for a nice, slow smolder.

    Today's cold smoke generator...the first hour of smoke was with hickory only for a bit of sharpness, then I added cherry for the duration of the smoke for a deeper, slightly sweet smoke which should stand up to the (hopefully) stronger flavor of the dried beef meat mix...it should be a nice, simple overall flavor profile:




    A 10 hour (108* I/T) peek at the salami loaf through the hole in the lid with a flashlight revealed some welcome developments, so I decided to show 'em to ya...it's sweating out some moisture and rendered fat quite nicely now, and, turning a beautiful mahogany color:




    ***Internal Temp Log moved to just below the recipe/process section for ease of use as a guide***

    BTW: after 12 hours since I removed the salami from my fridge, I could still smell the aromas of curing beef in the fridge with several door openings to retieve a cold soda, even with a triple wrapped salami, so, I wouldn't store any delicate flavored items in the fridge at the same time or for many days afterwards. It may be a good idea to wash-out the fridge to deodorize it prior to using for those items. But I do love the smell of curing meats, and the little 4.2 cu ft fridge I use is exclusively for my thawing, brining and curing of meats, so I don't mind at all [​IMG]

    I'll have more as this progresses into the finishing chamber temp stage, but after a final smoker check for the night with stable temps @ 141*, I'm heading off for eyelid inspections.

    If this comes out anywhere near my expectations, it will be soooooooooooooooo worth waiting for...

    Thanks for peekin'!

    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks great! That's quite the McGuiver rig ya got set up there!
  3. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Really very gorgeous!!

    I am working on creating the perfect long-dry environment to use this winter (It pays to have a science teacher as one of your best friends. Having access to aW & pH meters as well as ambient hygros is awesome!) but am concerned about the availability of BactoFerm etc. That characteristic "tang" you mentioned... Could it be replicated in a short dry like yours with an imitator like Fermento?

    I have a BUCKET of Fermento, if you want to give it a try, shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to mail you off a few cups supply!

    Meanwhile.. please keep posting on this!! LOOKS GREAT!
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks awesome Eric! Great post as always!
  5. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking chub of salami you got there.

    I see your looking for the tang?

    Might try some ECA and mix in by hand.

    To get the genoa tang you may have to use some f-rm-52. But this is a whole nuther way.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Great Eric!!!

    I'm waiting for a couple sliced pics.

  7. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It looks great
  8. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looking good !
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking good Eric!!

    Thanks for sharing...

    I have a desire to make a curing cabinet.

    Am collecting the parts. 

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks everyone! I'll try to get some replies up in a bit, but I just raised the chamber temps and wanted to get this update posted.

    21.5 hours: internal temp @ 124*F when I raised the chamber temp from 141* to 180*.

    I/T jumped 7* to 131* in less than 30 minutes. Kinda spooked me that it jumped that quickly, so I dropped back to a range of 160-165* within 30 minutes of raising it...was 163* when I came back inside.

    When I first raised the temp, it wasn't even up to 180* yet, and the I/T had climbed by 3*...maybe 8 minutes, as I was turning open the gas valve just a bit every minute or so and watching the probe reading. I'll modify the steps in the original process later to coincide with any actual changes I make this morning to finish it all up. It may very well be that with the really long soak at the temp it was running, the initial shock of nearly 40* higher chamber temp was absorbed and transferred into the core of the chub of meat, and it would have settled in @ 135* or so for awhile, but I didn't want to take that chance and have it jump to 160* in just 90 minutes or so. Anyway, I'll ramp up the temps a bit more slowly with adjustment about every hour and see how that works out. Just want to make sure it slows down a bit so I get that really, really dry chew I'm hoping for.

    Back with more in a bit.

    Thanks again all!

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank-you Sir!
    Thanks, yea, I was considering a fermentation additive at first, but it complicates things for me due to not having the proper environment and no sausage stuffer. Maybe I'll get around to one these days, but I wanted to keep things as simple as possible this first time around to see how it comes out. Then, I may decide to either stay with this method if I like the sausage as is, or go a little deeper into things and explore the realm of fermenting. I guess it surprised me a bit that I couldn't find info on a non-fermented dried salami, but, I just had to take a few breaths and see what I may be able to come up with on my own. I have my fingers crossed and am paitiently waiting for the finished temps to come.
    Thanks Bear! You know, it's strange how some of these projects come about...little tidbits from everyone else's posts or threads can really make one's imagination run wild. Between yourself and our late brother RonP, jeez, look what you guys got me into here! LOL!!!

    Thanks Ahron!

    Thanks, brother smoker!

    Thanks Craig!

    Yea, there's a ton of different things a guy can acquire once you begin exploring all the different types of sausages. I'm trying my damndest not to go into it too quickly, cause I don't think I could justify it right now. This is just a tip of the ice-burg, so, I'm just going to take it nice and slow. If I had a stuffer would help a bunch...then build up a bit larger fridge with a aftermarket thermostat for more evenly controlled temps, a dehumidifier controlled by a humistat, ect. That would be a sweet set-up for me. Then, I would consider seriously exploring ferment/dried sausages, no doubt.
    Thanks James! Yea, I decided to let a little creativity flow yesterday morning. My Smoke Vault 24 was still over at the graduation party host's home from the night before and I would have wanted to clean it up pretty well before tossing a salami into it due to cross-contamination and off flavors from it's last smoke, being ABT's (had alot of bacon grease in the water pan). So, I just went with the flow...took me about 2-3 minutes to get the gourmet & torch all set-up and ready to fire. I ran a test firing for a few minutes, all the way from a very low flame to full open gas valve to make sure I wouldn't get any flame-out conditions due to reduced oxygen from the torch getting it's O2 from inside the smoke chamber...all was well, so in went the meat. And the rest is soon to be history.
    Thank-you, Princess! Oh, man, yea with the availability of meters, you can really go into some serious fermentation processes. I was a little spooked about the whole idea of fermenting awhile back, but I am keeping an open mind and getting more comfortable after educating myself a little at a time on the subject (when I get the inkling to so some research).

    I'd have to check into fermento in more depth to be sure, but it's a possibility. I guess I'm not looking (hard-core) for that tangier flavor profile so much as I am a really dry, hard salami. Today's project will be a test as to wether or not it can be done without a cold, long-duration drying environment inwhich fermentation is in order to be safe. That does of course beginning with a very sterile work area and fermentation/drying environment. My biggest draw-back right now is not having a stuffer...just never got around to coughing up the coin for one yet, and I have limited space to work in, except in my outdoor kitchen area, but that wouldn't be a good place for grinding/stuffing meats...too high of risk for contamination, even if I were to sanitize everything properly, due to being out in open air (wind carrying dirt, insects...the list seems endless). Then, there's the problem of keeping it all cold while you work. A walk-in refer type work area would be great for this, but who could afford it without going into it commercially? Ah, I digressed.

    Thanks for the offer,  I just have alot more preparing to do before I go that far with this hobby. Man, it does have me thinking though...there are so many great sausages out there that one could replicate.

    Sheesh, I gotta be extra careful now. I've had a ton of new projects pass through my smokers, mostly with very successful results. I just want to keep it fun, so, slow and easy will be in order. Things can get pretty fast-paced with my new projects, and I can at times overlook the beauty of it all.

    Thanks again, Princess!

    More updates on the way soon...last check @ 24.25 hours, the salami was @ 147* with a 176* chamber temp...160* is coming...TIC-TOC, TIC-TOC...

  12. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is just crazy!  You have me thinking how to get something like that going now.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Man, this was a fun smoke! 28.5 hours from curing wrap to chilling wrap. The surface texture seemed pretty stiff compared my my regular salami, so I guess once it's chilled we'll get to see how the slices come out. I'll cut by hand since it's such a small batch and slicer clean-up takes so long. I updated the original post to include all the time/temps along the way, and took lineal measurements of the finished chub for reference...forgot to measure the size before drying/smoking, but it'll give you a good idea on the cross-sectional density of this one to compare with any you might make yourselves. With the time/temp chart, you'll have an idea what to expect, and that's the whole idea behind it.

    So, here goes...160* and smoker is down for the day at last...a little more rendered fat than there was last night...we'll take care of that after it cools down a little bit:






    Patted down in the grate-grooves as well...not much rendered fat left on the outside now:


    I wanted you to see this...collogen has melted away from the meat and was on many areas of the surface which was coming off in stings with the paper towel, and was very prominent on the bottom, which carried to the grates as you can see in the center/right of this pic...streamers between the grate wires...that was a super-long soak in the heat for a 2.5lb piece of meat, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me to see this, even coming from ground beef:





    I believe Mr Chubbs deserves a nap after that sweat-breaking 28-hr workout he just had...see ya in a few hours, buddy!


    So far, it feels, looks and smells fantastic! It'll be several hours to get it chilled before slicing (I didn't want to do an ice-water bath to shock it, as I want as little moisture as possible), so maybe about 7 or 8 mountain time this evening for finished pics. Gonna be kinda late for you east-coasters, but I'll hurry when I can!

    My oldest daughter has been following this at our house, and when she heard me come inside to grab the camera, cookie sheet and roll of plastic wrap, she headed straight for the door behind me. She loves my cooking...all of it, but she goes crazy over my specialty items like this, and today's no exception...LOL!!! She wants samples NOW, but I told her it'll still be here a few more hours. Wife is gone on errands or she'd be doing the same thing...beggin' for a slice..Ha-ha-ha!!!

    I guess days like these are part of the reason why I haven't bought a stuffer just yet...too many ways to get around the expense of one if you know the ins and outs of making chubs. And the smoked chubs always have such a nice thin bark...even my relatives comment on that...they seem to prefer these sausage chubs over stuffed sausages. It's a visual and textural thing.

    Definitely more to come!

    Thanks again everyone for joining in on the ride so far!

    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LMAO! Yea, it may seem that way, but I'm one of the kings of crazy, weird and just down-right unbelievable when it comes to outdoor cooking...got a knack for tinkering and playing the odds, I guess. Anyway, in a few more hours, I'll have some slicing action goin' down. If the texture comes out like I think it will, it should make for a good base-line for future salami drying. With the amount of collogen that was showing on the outside, it may have gelatinized quite a bit of the interior, and if it's well-chilled, that should make for a good amount of chew, which I want. The part I'm not sure about yet is wether or not the crust formed too early as I started building chamber temps up. If it crusted too early, the moisture I wanted to get rid of may have been trapped inside, and this will make for a more moiost and tender chew than I wanted. That's were a fermented/cold-dried sausage would be the better route to go...it just complicates things too much for the beginner, having to acquire the additional equipment.
    Thanks for the link! I haven't researched on equipment for this for quite awhile now, and that controller is pretty sweet...nice price, too. Book-marked it so I don't loose track of it.

    Yea, space is killin' me here, too. I have a 21 cu ft upright freezer and a 26 cu ft side-by-side in the kitchen. My outdoor set-up has a 12 cu ft upright freezer and a 25 cu ft side-by-side, so I'm taking up a good sized foot-print with refer gear already.

  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Slices!, slices!, slices!!!!!!!!


    These are even looking better now than earlier.

    Thanks for putting the ruler on---It was hard to tell how big they were!

    Kinda like seeing one deer or one bear a ways off in the woods, without anything to compare to.

    Thanks for a great thread---Again!

  17. Wow what a ride Eric...As always your posts are some of the finest most detailed here!!! You hit a home run again!!!! Looking forward to the sliced photo's...[​IMG]
  18. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Indeed. It's like looking at wrapped package on Christmas morning awaiting to see what lurks within!

    nice job on the smoke & photos!

  19. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ah, at last! I give you sliced salami! I've been waiting for this moment since I started this project 3 days ago.  

    Slicing was a breeze with a freshly straightened chef knife. I opted for the deeper (stiffness) but thinner (reduced binding while making deeper cuts) type blade for better control to get through the tougher crust and keep it straight on target all the way through the loaf...must have been a good decision.

    My salami, and it's destructor...er...creator of it's final destination?..LOL!!!:





    Overall, here's my take...I asked myself a few questions while I was uploading pics...those which I would probably be asking if I were looking at the monitor from your seat:

    Flavor: Very mild smoke (milder than my reg salami), very deep beef flavor (deeper & stronger than my reg salami), with just a very slight hint of the garlic and pepper (almost null), just how I wanted it. The meat's flavor is intensified from the drying as I expected, similar to snack sticks, or mildly seasoned ground beef jerky. There's no mistaking it for anything else...it's all beef, with that nice hint of tang from being cured. Not a heavy tang flavor like a genoa salami...I knew that wasn't gonna happen, so I didn't set myself up for any disappointment.

    Texture: not quite as chewy as I want, but getting that true hard salami texture would likely come through much better with a coarser grind of beef and fat. As you can see by the photos, the fat is quite fine and has rendered out possibly 50% of it's original content, so this appears to be about 90% lean after reaching finished temps. I meant to get a weight on this before slicing, but with the anticipation, it slipped through the cracks...OOPS!!!

    Aroma: somewhat subtle, and almost decieving when compared to the flavor. It was surprising to smell the sliced meat for a moment while trying to make a judgement on it's character, then, take a bite and begin to savor what it had to offer the senses of the mouth. Very interesting contrast, to say the least.

    What I would change (excluding the use of fermentation additives): Course grind for the meat/fat mix (this was store-bought hamburger grind...should grind my own next time). Spend a bit more time kneeding the ball together after mixing to break out more of the air pockets (had a few stay in the center of the loaf after forming...it happens). This may also improve the texture somewhat, as cavities would translate into a bit softer chew, IMO. That's where having a stuffer would be much easier, but would take away from the purpose of this process to some extent. Just don't be bashful about using one if you have it and want to dry some stuffed salami.

    Baseline process/recipe for future modifications? Absalutely. The flavor is right on target for what I wanted from this batch...simple, fairly strong and deep. The texture could be improved a little and the flavor profile could be explored for more varied styles and personal tastes. As is, it's a very good deep flavored beef sausage and can easily grow from where it's at, if desired.  : definitely need  

    Would I make this again? My wife says it's the best salami I've ever made. Her dad says its really good, too, and he's not a cold salami enthusiast..bologna, hotdogs and burgers are his best likings for the more simple preparations of meat...go figure. My oldest daughter was heading for the door to relieve someone at work who was becoming ill (hope she's gonna be alright), and she grabbed a plastic container to toss several pieces into for samples/bragging rights...I can hear her now: want some of my daddy's home-made salami? He-he-he! My personal and final take? Well, my review covered it for the most part, but, it's like a never-ending journey for me. It's very good as is...I mean really, really good. The KISS method has come through for me with shining colors, so to speak. I'll always have a part of me that wants to tinker, so I'm sure I'll make this exact recipe and process again, only with a much larger batch of, oh, say 15-20lbs...a nice load for my Smoke Vault 24, anyway. I really want to make another run at this for our family gathering in June...they'll love it! Then, after that is finished and in the freezer? Let the games begin! LOL!!!

    All in all, very easy, very simple, very good eating. Long drying and smoke time? You bet it was...at over 28 hours in the smoker from start-up to shut-down? Yea, that's a looooong freaking smoke. Was it worth it? I say yes, but you'll have to try it to be a non-biased judge.

    That's a rap, my good smokin' brothers and sisters!


    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  20. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thats what i'm talkin bout willis


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