After my previous successful attempt with the simplest of soppresattas, I decided to step my game up and make some Hungarian Salami. The process of making salami is largely the same, the main differences being various flavour combination. This means that the current salami attempt should be even more hassle free than my last attempt (which was quite smooth). The inspiration behind this recipe comes from my brief stint in Europe, where I had some real delicious Hungarian salami in Budapest. I think it’s a good time to try to recreate that smoky, sweet, and spicy salami that I have such fond memories for. Traditionally, I believe that Hungarian salami has to be cold smoked to develop that intense smoky flavour, but alas, since I live in an apartment in a large-ish metropolitan area, that is sadly not a real option. So, I am going to try to add in that smokiness via some liquid smoke, and using smoked paprika!
As with the previous salami making venture, it’s of the utmost importance that everything is as cold and clean as possible before starting. This means the meat, the equipment, everything you can think of, in the freezer for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight (the meat doesn’t have to be frozen, just with a thin layer of frost on the surface), and everything sanitized before you start. Cold equipment means less fat smearing, lending to a better texture in the final salami. For this Hungarian Salami, I am using pork shoulder, with a 50/50 blend of hand cut backfat and ground backfat, which should give some interesting texture to the final product.
I start off by dicing some quality pork shoulder:
I measure out the amount of salt required (salt at 2.75% of meat weight), and pour it onto the meat chunks. Then, I add the garlic. Freshly pressed garlic is probably one of the best things on this planet!
For added textural contrast, I grounded some fat into the meat mixture, and reserved some hand cut fat chunks for stuffing only. I also added some black pepper to the mix as well. I’m not actually sure what the difference is between me adding the spices before and after grinding the meat… but I think they would amount to the same effect. Potentially there’s a bit better mixing of flavours going on if everything was added pre-grind?
Next, I thoroughly mix the salt, pepper, and garlic into the cut meat, and allow everything to chill down for an hour or so. After the meat comes to an acceptable cold temperature (your hand should start hurting when you are working with the meat post chill), I pulled out the cold grinder, set everything up, and started the grind.
I always use the rough grind plate for salami… I think this gives a nicer texture to the final product, but I do have to try out the fine grind method!
After grinding the meat, I mix in the paprika (star of the show!). Now because this salami essentially highlights the smokiness and tastiness of Hungarian paprika, I would definitely not scrimp on the quality of the paprika you use. I rooted around the cupboards and found that all the paprika I have are old and are reminiscent of cardboard, so I went out and got some fresh packs!
This was also the point where I added in the curing salt (.275% of meat weight) as well as the bacterial starter (DO NOT FORGET TO ADD THE STARTER!!!). Then, I added in a couple teaspoons of liquid smoke (this stuff is POWERFUL), along with a couple good splashes of whisky for that extra kick. Mix thoroughly with another little bit of water, until the meat starts to bind. Then, chill the mixture again until very very cold. Also, I take this chilling time to clean my equipment, and stick everything back into the freezer before the stuffing process. Fast forward 2 hours, and I’m ready to stuff!
Stuffing sausages by yourself is always a bit of a faff, but it’s definitely manageable. I make a long roll , making sure to not overstuff sections since they have to be twisted later.
Twist the full sausage into sections, making sure that they fit within your fermentation chamber without touching anything. Poke holes in the casing using a sanitized pin to ensure that no air pockets are within the salami. Then, you’re ready to let the sausages ferment to a lower pH such that botulism bacteria cannot grow. This usually takes about 1-2 days, in a chamber with 70°F and 85%RH. I used my oven for this, with a large pan of hot water which I regularly changed. After the pH is at the required level, stick the salami into your normal drying chamber (60°F/70%RH), and patiently wait until 30% weight loss!
My batch took about 4 weeks to get down to the required weight (this is because of the small casing diameter)… and it was DEFINITELY worth the wait!
The salami was smoky, a little bit spicy, and everything was pretty well balanced out by the higher fat content. The fat added a silky texture which provided a nice contrast against the intense meaty texture of the salami, as well, it provided a bit of flavour contrast, having a mild taste which complimented the gentle heat of the paprika. I think the addition of small cubes of back fat is definitely a good call, and will work out well for my future spicy salami experiments.
I leave you with one last glamour shot before I devour all the salami.
Until the next time,