Project “A” Introduction – Fermented Sausages

Fermented Sausages – Project “A”

The idea of making fermented sausages began with an idea in Chuckwagon’s noggin. Read below. It was a good idea. Maybe we should do it again, huh? Please sign up, leave a note, or otherwise express your interest by commenting below. We’ll kick off the project about mid-February. Thanks.

el Ducko

Wisdom Gleaned From from Project “A”
(for Salami Allessandra, or Genoa salami)
By Chuckwagon and “the Gang”

Chuckwagon
Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 09:10 Project “A”
Project “A” – Dry Cured, Fermented, Salami
6/15/11 – 9/15/11
Project “A” was named for Salame di Alessandra. This fermented sausage is also known as Genoa Salami. In June 2011, nine website members decided to undertake this 3-month, dry-cured salami project together while keeping accurate notes for comparison and recording their results for the future reference of those yearning to try their hand at making fermented type sausages in the future. The project began on June 15th and ended on September 15th. Participants were required to “sign up” and invest in a certain amount of basic equipment. We fully intended to show our fellow members that quality salami could be crafted without spending a fortune on specialized equipment. Members were asked to make a cabinet for fermenting, purchase a hygrometer and thermometer, cellulose casings, and Bactoferm™ T-SPX starter culture. Members were also asked to read and study a minimal amount of information provided on the homepage by Stan Marianski. Moderator “Chuckwagon” also provided material to be read by those participating. To be fair to participating members, it was requested that the general public refrain from writing in “Project A” after June 15th.
The project was not intended for beginners in the hobby. Crafting dry-cured, fermented sausages like salami requires prior experience in grinding, mixing, stuffing, and other skills honed by good old-fashioned trial and error in making basic sausages such as fresh cased links, cured-smoked-cooked links, and others.
Some of the member’s projects succeeded, others did not. All the members succeeded in providing much information to those who will attempt making dry-cured sausages in the future. All participants should be congratulated for some very fine work and great ingenuity. All indeed succeeded as their information will ultimately be of great value to those just starting out.
Project A is a very valuable learning resource to those trying their hand at it for the first time. As a learner reads through the information, he may simply avoid the mistakes, oversights, and errors made by these pioneers. There is much technical information recorded, along with photos and remarks. Congratulations to the participants are in order. Thank you gentlemen. Your posted information will help others for a long time to come.
My Very Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Hello smoke addicts!
I’ve had an idea in mind for some time and would like to have your opinions. Why not make a dry-cured salami TOGETHER? I believe that many of you good folks are hesitating to make the plunge into “fermented sausages” for several different reasons. I’ve included a few possible “rationalizations” below. Let’s see if you recognize any of them.
I am proposing that we open a forum topic solely for the purpose of making a batch of dry-cured salami together – with everyone starting at the same point with the same ‘lack’ of equipment, and limited bucks. We’ll take it step-by-step, allowing everyone a few days to view this message and ponder it over. Then there will have to be some time allowed to order Bactoferm and a hygrometer ($14.95) from your supplier. While you’re waiting for the mailman, you could shop for some great beef chuck and some luscious pork butts. We can share information as we go along and discuss each member’s plans for fermenting and curing and then for storing. We’ll have much to talk about and discuss, and no doubt the forum will be fairly active – but shucks, that’s what we really want… lots of participation and input as we go along. We’ll act as a group and do everything together at the same time. For instance, we will all grind the same day and all of us will stuff casings the same day etc. We could exchange ideas and share thoughts until at last, we each have made a properly air-dried salami.
Today at lunch, I sliced off a thick slice of salami and put it on a sandwich. I had just “pulled” it from the storage chamber and found myself thinking, “This is the best salami I’ve ever tasted”… “Why aren’t the folks on the website tasting this quality sausage every single day?” Bragging? Naw! Is Ol’ Chuckwagon just makin’ noise because he ‘knows how’? Nope! That’s not it at all. Shucks, it is simply that I bothered to make my own “quality” air-dried product rather than settling for the mass-produced and hurried-along crap they put in the grocery stores these days, made with inferior ingredients. And you can do it too! Heck, why not use real paprika instead of flavoring oil, and real ingredients rather than flavored chemicals? And for goodness sake, REAL Boston butt and choice fatback.
OK, have I got your interest and attention? Would anyone out there be willing to participate in this experiment with ALL OF US making a dry-cured salami at the same time? Think of the advantages:
  1. You’ll learn how to make dry-cured salami – at last!
  2. It will bring several of us much closer together.
  3. It will be fun.
  4. It will be a motivational step you may never have again to finally get around to makin’ the stuff!
OK, Here are a few reasons to talk yourself right out of it! Some of that reasoning might include:
  1. I’m afraid it requires too much “specialized knowledge”. I might have to read and study a little. And, isn’t there a ton of stuff to memorize?
  2. I’m afraid it will fail and I cannot justify the expense if it does fail.
  3. It’s expensive and requires too much specialized equipment.
  4. It takes too long to cure.
  5. I’m too old to learn how to do it, and if I fail, my wife will say, “See, I told you so”.
  6. I don’t have the time to make fermented sausages.
  7. The process is too tedious.
  8. I hate mold. After all, won’t that stuff kill ya?
On the ranch, we have a saying for every single one of the excuses listed. It’s only one word but it sums it up. The word is “bullsnot”! Uh… sort of! If you think you are too old, or it takes too much time, or think you will fail… all I can say is “bulls**t”. If you think is requires a little special knowledge, you’re right. But hours of study? Nope… hey, this isn’t rocket science! Memorize stuff? Nope. You don’t have time? Again, all I can say is “bulls**t”. And I’m sorry that you will never be able to taste the exquisite flavor of genuine, hand-crafted salami – something many of you will never have the opportunity of trying.
If we decide to make this project work, then get ready to experience an entirely new taste in meat flavor. In my opinion, it will absolutely be worth the effort and the time. There’s just no reason why you shouldn’t be able to experience success in making air-dried sausages, especially now that we have Bactoferm™ bio-cultures on the market.
How about expressing your opinions here? Also, let me know if you’d like to take part in this project.
Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon

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7 thoughts on “Project “A” Introduction – Fermented Sausages

  1. Let us know if you’re interested in joining. Folks who participated in the original Project “A” are welcome, too. (We’ll probably throw in a chorizo recipe for your benefit.)

    Our old pal Shuswap reminds me that he and others have tried using Umai bags for their fermented sausages. I hope you’ll jump in and share your experiences. I’ve heard that you can’t smoke sausages made in Umai bags, but other than that, the results are good. It will be interesting to compare!

    As for me- – I’m in! As a certain mustachioed man-about-sausages is fond of saying, YEEE HAWWW!
    Duk

  2. Duk, just to confirm, after some time today searching the use of Umai bags for semi-dry smoked sausage you cannot stuff into Umai bags and then smoke. Umai’s position set out in their forum about 18 months ago, which I believe you have seen, still stands. There appears to be strong resistance to bringing in Tumlin’s product that does allow smoking. That product is available from Misty Gulley in Australia but shipping cost is prohibitive.
    Phil

    1. I remember something along those lines. Maybe, if Umai popularity increases, they’ll import the smoke-friendly version. Meanwhile, I guess we’ll do otherwise. It will be interesting to compare results on salami and chorizo.

      Hey, guys in the Northwest- – how’s the salmon this year? I keep hoping that we’ll get a decent cold front soon, they’ll ship some good salmon our way, and I can rig for cold smoking again. Too long without smoked salmon makes me… uh…
      Duk

      1. We are in serious trouble with our BC salmon stocks. We live on the world famous Adams River sockey run and this year’s return should have been 1.5 million but the count was only 3,000! In northern BC, the Nass River return showed a reduction in average sockey rate from 6 lbs to 5 lbs. WE have been told that in the early 1900’s, the peak cycle years produced up to 75 million sockey.

  3. Mr. Lambert thanks for inviting me to participate in project A. I would love to; put me on the list. TOM

    1. Thanks, Mr. Tom. Sounds great.
      No need for formality here, Sir. Just make that Herr Doktor Duck. …or maybe just Duck. …or how did that comedy record go? (…”but you can call me Ray. …or you can call me Jay. …or you can call me RayJay. …or you can call me…”)
      Duk

  4. Duk, I plan to tag along with a Umai salami but wanting to keep the heat down. Never did understand how you folks in the sun bask in 100 F while eating high heat meats. Meanwhile we bask in lower temperatures up here in Canuckland and generally like less heat in our meat

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