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Dry-cured sopressata . . . anyone?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm thinking about doing a batch of sopressata, as it is probably my favorite dry cured. I will be using Rytek's recipe (4th ed., p. 379), unless someone has a better one. ;) I'm just wondering if anyone has tried this before?

My biggest concern is this: I live in the Midwest and the recipe says, "Smoke for 48 hours w/cold smoke until color is obtained" - the temps here are starting to warm up into the 70s and low-80s. Would it be impossible for me to get the smoke right (I'm using a large Webber grill for all my smoking right now. I plan to build something this summer, but for now it's just the Webber).

I'm ok w/the aging process after smoking, as I have a chest freezer w/a temp adjuster on it that I use for laagering my home-brews, and I'm pretty sure I can get the humidity right w/salt and water placed in the bottom of the freezer (I'm going to experiment before making the sausage), but I'm uncertain about the smoking issue.

So - 1) has anyone tried to make this sort of sausage before; and 2) any suggestions w/the smoking?

Thanks so much in advance for any info!!

post #2 of 19
any body you know have a luhr jensen little chief? you could use the cold smoke method as described in the instruction booklet provided with that.
post #3 of 19
I made a smoke generator to cold smoke with and use it in my Weber quite a bit for cheese etc. To summarize I have a small unused paint can with a bunch of 1/8" holes drilled in the bottom and the lid. It also has a woodstove rope seal glued around the bottom of it to hold it slightly up from the surface it is sitting on. I put chunks of wood inside and leave room in the middle for 2 or 3 briquettes which I light and drop in. I put the lid on and this can goes inside a larger can. I have an aquarium pump hooked up to the bottom of the larger can which pumps air into it directly under the smaller can with the fire in it. There is a piece of tubing coming out of the larger can which pumps the smoke into the weber. I just poke it up through one of the intakes in the bottom of the weber and leave the lid vent open.
post #4 of 19
I would love to see pics if you have time?!

Sounds like something I would like to make but I cant quite picture it.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Nemi, I agree. Thanks for the post trapper. This sounds really cool . . . plus, I have a pump sitting around somewhere. Could you post a pic or two when you have it set up and if you have time?

Thanks again. It sounds like a great rig!

post #6 of 19
I don't think Italian sopressata was originally supposed to be smoked. I don't have Ryteks book with me to see his recipe, but the Len Poli website has a couple different recipes but none with smoke.

I bet the smoking could be omitted all together all still have a great dry-cured salami.
post #7 of 19
Two thoughts come to mind. First, if you want smoke, you could try a little liquid smoke. Sounds like blasphemy to me, but Rytek gave that his blessing somewhere in that book.

Second, for a cold smoke, if you have a reliable way to generate the smoke, you could try a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil (shiny side in). The local scout troop used these as ovens to bake cakes in, using a pan of charcoal in the bottom as a heat source. I expected them to flame out, but they didn't. They would certainly stand up to cold smoke temps.

Either way, sounds like a fun project.

Are dry cured sausages a seasonal thing? As in dry cured in the attic with low temps, low humidity in the winter?
post #8 of 19
The type of dry curing he is talking about uses temps around 55-60F and high humidity of around 70%. You have to have the high humidity so the sausage doesn't dry out too fast on the outside (case hardening) which prevents moisture from the inside from escaping and will cause the inside to go rancid.
post #9 of 19
Does your recipe say at what temp its supposed to be smoked at for 48 hours? Obviously, it would difficult/impossible to smoke at a temp lower than the outside air, but it's doable if you're talking about 90-100F. Then you'd just be talking about supplying smoke without adding much/any heat. This can be achieved by using a very small heat source (such as others have described here). Or, you can also use a soldering iron, or purchase/make a smoke generator (searching this site will find info on these alternatives). Another thing you could try would be to use two grills/smokers connected together with a dryer vent or vent pipe. Use one to generate the smoke and the heat dissipates as it (and the smoke) travels through the vent/pipe to the other smoker. I'm not sure how long the pipe would have to be to add little/no heat to your smoker though.

Also, I'm curious as to why this recipe calls for smoking?? It may add some flavor, but would certainly be good and authentic without smoke.
post #10 of 19
Just a thought... scarey when that happens!!! icon_redface.gif

I haven't done this, but have thought about it in the past.]

Take a older working refrigerator (as in CHEAP), put a humidifier in it, remove shelves for hanging sausage, Plug fridge and humidifier in, and use a smoke generator like the smoke daddy. Adjust the temp of fridge to where you want it.

Seems like that would make a good cold smoker. Only plug in when you are doing your cold smoke project.

If this is done outside, which I think with the smoke it should be... you need to lock the door to keep kids out (safety)

Any ideas to add to this?

aka Rocky
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great suggestions folks! I will need to do some more homework.

PantherFan83 - the recipe doesn't give a temp other than 'cold smoke'. It does say to smoke 'for color', but that is the only justification.

Creative Rock - this is a great idea. I have a freezer w/temp adjustment, so I wonder if I can't figure out a way to make this work. I don't care if it ends up smelling like smoke, as the only thing it gets used for at this point is laagerin beer. Great idea!

Again, thanks for all the help. I love this website!!!!!!

post #12 of 19
Unfortunately the contraption is at my brother's so no pics for now but I will try to explain better. I have a small can (unused quart paint can from lowes) to hold the burning wood with holes in the bottom supplying fresh oxygen and holes in the lid letting the smoke out. The attached images are what I used for the larger can (stainless utensil holder at wally world) and the fittings I used. I drilled a hole in the center of the bottom of the larger can that the threaded end of the fitting could be screwed into and the barbed end is extending down, outside the can. A little teflon tape on the threads and it is pretty air tight. I only screwed it in a turn or two so it only sticks up about 1/16" inside the large can. The barbed end is attatched to the tubing from the aquarium pump. The smaller "burn can" is set on the bottom over the fitting inside the larger can. I didn't want it resting on the fitting so I glued the stove gasket rope on the bottom of the small can in a complete circle to hold the can off the fitting slightly but sealing up the bottom so the fresh air being pumped in cannot mix with the smoke. The fresh air can only enter the smaller burn can from the bottom forcing the smoke out the top.
The burn can just sits inside, not fastened in any way. I take it out and arrange split pieces of wood inside it but towards the wall of it so it leaves an opening in the center where I place 2 or 3 lit briquettes. Then I put the lid on and put it in the large can as described above.
Finally I have another fitting towards the top of the larger can, the same style as the bottom fitting but for a larger piece of tubing, approx. 1/2" id. This tubing carries the smoke from the large can to the smoking chamber, I use a Weber kettle and just run the tubing through one of the bottom intake vents. To seal the top of the larger can (it didn't come with a lid) I used a skillet and just set it on top. Since then I found a stainless pet food bowl that fits over it just right.
All in all it works well. I usually get 3-4 hours of smoke out of a can. I made up another can so I can have another going and pull one out and immediately stick another one in. You can't just set it on the ground due to the fitting sticking out the bottom so I set it on top of a concrete block. Hope this helps but ask questions if you need more help.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Great!!! Thanks Trapper - this makes a lot of sense to me, and I think I will give it a try!

Thanks again,
post #14 of 19
Just a guess here but I believe what the recipe infers is that you should use your smoker to obtain a fermenting tempertature for 48 hours.

Following the instructions of the culture you use is recommended. While some dry cured meats do get "smoked" it's been my experience that many recipes suggest placing the product into a smoker at a warm temperature between 75* to 90*F (a cold smoking temp.) for a specified duration (usually dependant upon the temp.). Using the proper bacteria culture at the perscribed temp and RH is what will give you the color as well as taste that a soppressata should have. I have never seen a recipe that requires smoking a sopressa.

Just a tip. It's been my experience that fermenting above 87*F (depending on how accurate your temp guage is) will begin to render the fat down a bit. I find that a longer ferment at the lower range of 80*F/90%rh for 72 hours gives a better overall result.

Again though, you should follow the recommendations of your culture supplier.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow - thanks DangerDan! This is great info, and very helpful!!! I checked out your blog btw (nicely done), which led me to Len Poli's site. Thanks for very helpful comments.Now to give it shot . . . Wish me luck folks. I'm gonna need it! Best,Trout
post #16 of 19
Wow, looked at that recipe. Not experienced enough here at the sausage making to try that yet. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
post #17 of 19

Sopressatta is smoked?

Hey, this may be a stupid question but I always thought sopressatta is dry cured only and not smoked. Did I miss that class or something?
Do you have to use a starter culture or a piece of ground salami to get the fermentation? How do you know when the Ph is right to dry. I can imagine making the sopressatta that I know can be a challenge at home.
post #18 of 19
According to Ryteks book the recipe for his sopresseta says "Sausage is smoked for 48 hours with cold smoke until color is obtained".

Not sure about the culture - this recipe doesn't mention it but most of all the dry cured recipes I see have it...

You can use a ph meter / strips to test the ph in the sausage such as this one below:


I also highly recommend the book by Adam & Stan Marianski "The art of making fermented sausages". It has a ton of info on the dry cured products ranging from your equipment, safety, recipes.
One note I found in this book was about cold smoking "Cold smoking is drying with smoke and is not a continous process. Smoke is applied for about an hour, then the sausage rests for one hour. Then the cycle is repeated again and again"...
post #19 of 19

t depends on the region to smopke or not to smoke, I grew up smoking it for 2 days. I use apple wood only too. 

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