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Nopressata

Mmmm Meat

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I started this Sopressata endeavor back in April ( https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/anybody-curing-meat-this-weekend.307317/ )

I wasn't prepared to deal with pressing the links while they fermented that day and didn't really even care at that point (hence the name Nopressata - yeah, I know.... not funny). I was more interested in just getting a good final product without any major mess-ups.

I used the recipe and calculator found here: https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/anybody-curing-meat-this-weekend.307317/
I omitted the pepper flakes called for in the recipe, (I didn't have any on hand), but the 1% Calabrian pepper powder seems to still provide the perfect amount of heat for me, and I absolutely love spicy food. Seven weeks later and over 40% weight loss later, I'm gradually pulling these chubs and testing the consistency as they get deeper into the mid-40s percent weight loss range.

I still have a bit of an issue with case hardening, even after moving the links around in the chamber over the course of the cure. The smallest of the three chubs was pulled about 5 days ago at 40% weight loss. It was still a bit too soft a consistency in the middle for my taste, but much of that issue is due to the dry ring. Our two oldest kids were home from California for the boy's wedding yesterday. It seemed a perfect time to pull out another salami and give it a try. This longer one was roughly 43% weight loss and much more enjoyable with the additional drying time. I'm letting the last of the three chubs go another week, which should put it around 46% weight loss. A couple of months equalizing under vacuum and these will be good to go. All in all, this recipe is a winner and worth repeating - next time with the traditional pressing of the links.

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chef jimmyj

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They look nice. The title had me thinking you went through the time and effort and they spoiled...JJ
 

SmokinEdge

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Those look really good. The proof is in the pudding as they say.
As to the slight dry ring. Maybe lower fan speed. You only need just a whisper of air from about 2 weeks and on. You could kill the fan all together after 2-3 weeks and just open the door every other day for air exchange. I’m betting you have too much air flow, assuming the humidity is above 75%
 

jcam222

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Sure looks tasty. I really need to try something like this. I have it in my head I’d probably food poison myself though lol.
 

Wurstmeister

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Beautiful work. I'm not that patient to wait 10 days for my bacon let alone 7+ weeks. LOL! 🍻
John
 

Mmmm Meat

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Those look really good. The proof is in the pudding as they say.
As to the slight dry ring. Maybe lower fan speed. You only need just a whisper of air from about 2 weeks and on. You could kill the fan all together after 2-3 weeks and just open the door every other day for air exchange. I’m betting you have too much air flow, assuming the humidity is above 75%
I agree - the fan though is the refrigerator cooling fan that only runs as the thing cycles. I attempted to divert the majority of the airflow with tape so that the air flow enters and only moves across the top of the chamber and is then forced downward toward the bottom uptake as it passes downward along the fridge door. There is a simple vertical plastic insert that sits and inch or so away from the source of the airflow - it is intended to push air both upwards and downwards during the cooling cycle. I placed tape on the lower portion of the plastic barrier so that all the air would move upwards to the ceiling of he chamber, and presumably go towards the door and downward towards the uptake, bypassing a direct hit on the product. Inda's apparently got the same fridge and he just removed the plastic piece over the source and has success by just moving his salami around as they cure. I think solving the issue its just a matter of playing with the setup a bit more.
 

Mmmm Meat

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Sure looks tasty. I really need to try something like this. I have it in my head I’d probably food poison myself though lol.
I thought the same thing for years, which is why it took so long for me to actually try making salami. The internet and the help on forums like this one demonstrate that it is actually not very hard to make dry cured salami products. It takes a lot of dedication to understanding and performing the processes involved correctly , but nothing that a person dedicated to making good product can't undertake. If you ever want to explore the idea, buying or borrowing a copy of "The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Steve and Adam Marianski is the place to start. Not an expensive book but incredibly worth the money.
 

Mmmm Meat

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Beautiful work. I'm not that patient to wait 10 days for my bacon let alone 7+ weeks. LOL! 🍻
John
The secret is to keep making more every two weeks or so. Once the first month or two has passed (depending on the size of the links) you have an ongoing supply emerging from your chamber on a regular basis. It's a great diversion during down times during your work week.
 

indaswamp

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I still have a bit of an issue with case hardening, even after moving the links around in the chamber over the course of the cure.
How many pounds of kilograms of product were in the chamber during the drying? Product tends to dry better with a full chamber (but not over full..).
 

Mmmm Meat

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It varies. During the course of the cure, I had two coppa, a pork tenderloin, Landjager, Finocciona, and venison salami (and possibly others) all intermixed with this product during the seven weeks. Average weight might be 15 lbs +/- pre-drying weight during any given day. In my mind the amount of product in the chamber likely influences the RH but the air movement is a constant regardless of how much product is in there (within limits).
 

indaswamp

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do you have an auxillary fan or is the airflow just from the cooling cycle on the unit?
 

Mmmm Meat

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Only the cooling cycle from the fridge. I understand the concept of thermal mass and the fact that more product in the chamber will maintain the lower temperature longer and reduce the fridge cycling time, but I don't need 30 lbs of product all going at one.
 
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disco

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Looks wonderful. I want some. Big like.
 

Mmmm Meat

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Thanks Disco - stop by sometime and we'll share some goodness.
 

indaswamp

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Only the cooling cycle from the fridge. I understand the concept of thermal mass and the fact that more product in the chamber will maintain the lower temperature longer and reduce the fridge cycling time, but I don't need 30 lbs of product all going at one.
Thats why I have the culatello hanging in the chamber! LOL!! Got another 12 months or so to go!!!
 

SmokinEdge

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What humidity are you running?
 

Mmmm Meat

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What humidity are you running?
RH is almost always at 80% but drifts around a bit from 78 - 82ish percent. During the cooling cycles, the temperature drops about 4 degrees to 53 or so and gradually warms up to 57 before cycling again. Cycle time is 75 - 80 minutes. The RH during the temperature drop does plummet for a few minutes each cycle until the humidifier gets readings back up to normal.

I did a rough graph (it's midnight, so it's rougher than it normally would be). I charted temperature over time and the RH readings of the two sensors, one low, one high in the chamber.

Actual cooling time by the fridge was 4 minutes, 45 seconds, then no air movement occurs for the next 70 minutes or so. Is that enough air movement to cause case hardening, even when the chubs are protected by plastic sheets above and in front of the hanging space (so that air is diverted around them vs. across them) ??

RH does drop rapidly from about 1 minute into the cooling cycle and goes as low as 57% on the lower sensor and 62 ish on the upper sensor by the time the refrigerator stops running (4" 45""). They rebound pretty quickly so that RH is above 70% by about 6.5 minutes into the cooling cycle. By 10 minutes into the cycle the lower RH is 76% and the upper is at 80%, which is the level that the salami hang at. That means there's about 9 minutes of suboptimal RH in every 75 minute cycle. In my mind, the RH isn't low long enough for the chubs to not be able to catch up and wick more internal moisture to the surface to replace that lost during the low RH phase. Maybe I'm wrong about this issue?

I'm not quite sure what is causing the case hardening..... but I'll bet that you're sorry you asked now, huh!

cooling cycle.jpg
 
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