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.
INTERNAL TEMP LOG
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
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'!
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 5/31/11 at 7:08pm