Originally Posted by solaryellow
Why are you opposed to fermentation Eric?
Oh, not opposed, just not ready to take that big of a leap yet. I've only been making simple cured/smoked sausages for a couple years of and on, and took a few cracks at cured/smoked semi-dry just in the past couple weeks. I thought I may have been pushing the safety limits with what I did, but from the sounds of it, I wasn't doing anything that seemed to really stretch it badly.
The dried sausages captured my interest quite awhile back, but I need to educate my self quite a bit more on the uses of lactic cultures, bacterial fermentation, do's & don'ts, etc, before I'll be comfortable with that type of process. I'm really not equipped anywhere near where I'd like to be before I start that endevour, so I'm just taking it slow and easy...baby steps...walk before I try to run...LOL!!!
Originally Posted by nepas
I was shown the paper bag trick by an Amish friend.
I made some Landjaeger a couple months back where i smoked at low temp and hung to dry with a 70%R/H to reduce the green weight. Made 3 lbs and it went really fast. I have Droewros drying now at 70* going on 3 days now. Checked and they are getting close.
I been doing sausage and jerky since 1977 and never been sick and thats even when i used salt peter (Potassium Nitrate) 100% pure.
I did chicken slim jims that turned out pretty good.
Hmm, that is comforting to know. What I had read about certain types of sausages gave me the impression that fermenting was needed for a long-term cool/warm drying to be successful. The reduced pH from the good bacterial fermentation holding down the bad bacteria's activity. That was over a year ago when I was studying that, so I may have misinterpreted something along the way.
Originally Posted by nogoer
First off Nepas is your best source of info here on drying sausage. Second, i think your over complicating it. Humans have been making dry sausage for millenia and doing it whatever way they could figure out.
I have made a few attempts at exactly what i believe your describing. In fact if im right then the book Charcutrie has a recipe you may want to find for Saucission Sec. Which is an unfermented dried sausage made form pork. The recipe is essentially just grinding up pork meat, adding some basic seasoning and cure, stuffing and then hanging it to dry until it's done in a few weeks to a month.
Now i know i said your overcomplicating it, but they don't call stuff like this artisinal for nothing. There is almost as much art to it as science. Things like relative humidity and temperature play a giant role in the final product and it's safeness to eat.
Here is a link to a thread i started when doing a recipe i got from a friend...
Its for an "italian" dried sausage which is also unfermented and just hung up to dry. His family is from italy and this is how they have made thier dried sausage for generations. Most of the time they don't even use cure he said, but they make sure to hang in a perfect place and don't let anything touch.
Yea, I guess it's just a bit spooky to think about if you don't fully understand the process. My thought was, cured is cured, and un-cured is fresh...fresh is a no-brainer, but cured had me thinking that there's just got to be a breaking-point somewhere, when your time in the safety net runs out. But then, as water activity decreases during drying, it causes even less chance for harmful bacteria to become active.
So, am I correct in thinking that with a dry sausage, the longer it hangs and drier it gets, the safer it is? Or, would there be certain situations which may dictate the use of additional precautions, such as lower humidity? It's commonly 30-45% R/H in my area unless stormy weather is nearby, and typically 40-42% in my small fridge (without drying meat inside)...that's why I mentioned the reduced R/H factor. If a sausage were to dry correctly in 70% R/H, it may dry the surface too quickly and hold onto interior moisture much longer. In a few old techniques I read about somewhere awhile back, it mentions to dry in a low-draft area if lower humidity was typical, or was expected during the sausage drying...make sense?