Home-Cured Salami

Who doesn’t love salami?  Sliced thinly on a sandwich with good bread, or chunked on a delicious cheese plate, it’s one of our favorite charcuterie items.  We even had it on a pizza once when we were visiting Rome.  While many claim to dislike the fatty, salty salume, we’re not afraid to admit that salt with fat is among our most-preferred food combinations, and we especially enjoy this pairing in salami, which we pretty much always have in the fridge.  So when Mrs. Wheelbarrow declared that November’s Charcutepalooza challenge was curing, which involves a recap of two prior challenges — grinding and stuffing — with the addition of a whole new endeavor — fermenting — there was never any doubt in our minds that we would make salami.  Dan was so excited about this new challenge that he convinced me to buy a wine fridge to use as a curing chamber (more on that later.)  I became less excited (and more than a little apprehensive) when I learned that salami is essentially ground raw pork, seasoned with spices and beneficial bacteria, then hung in a cool and humid environment for a few weeks to cure.  No, you did not miss the step where the raw pork is cooked — it isn’t.  As much as I love salami, I never really stopped to think about how it is made, or even really what it is, when eating it.  We’ve learned a lot from the Charcutepalooza challenges this year, and a greater appreciation for the origins of food and the process of getting it to the table is chief among our new-found charcuterie skill set.  As always, we owe a special shout-out to the Charcutepalooza founders, Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy for creating this “year of meat” and getting us to try new things in the kitchen each month.  Thanks to you guys, we may never eat store-bought salami again!

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