It's been a little more than five weeks since Scott and I hung our finocchiona and porcini salami. Thanks to gravity, almost immediately our lovely hung meat began to take on a provocative shape.
Shortly thereafter, beneficial white mold began to take hold.
Three weeks in, Scott weighed the salami. The porcini salame was down 32% in weight, which put it squarely into safe eating territory. However, when he cut into it, the texture was off -- too soft and still kind of gummy -- so he wrapped the cut end in cling wrap and left it to hang again.
A week later we came over for dinner. Scott and I inspected the salami, which by now were down more than 34%. We selected one of the finocchione, as it seemed to be the most firm. We cut into it, and served it forth to the dinner guests. The texture was far better, certainly well within the range of edibility. Some of us felt it was just fine; others thought it might have cured a little longer. This is where making salumi diverges from precision and technique and into a matter of taste.
Even so, one week later yet, five weeks after initially hanging the salami, Scott once again cut into the porcini salame he originally cut into. The texture was much improved, but he still felt it could go longer yet.
On the upside, the flavor was phenomenal on both.
So, why the extended curing time when the recipe recommended about three weeks? There are probably a few factors at play. Todd in Portland noted that a good fermentation will make all the difference in the cure. Whereas the recipe called for just 24 hours in a warm, humid environment, Todd routinely goes 48 hours, with consistently good results. Also, inevitably, there are variations in casing diameter, which can affect the curing time. Moreover, the curing chamber has an impact; had it been more or less humid, slightly warmer or cooler, would have changed the overall curing time. This is why a recipe only takes you so far. In the end, you have to trust your judgment.
Elsewhere in the salumisphere, Todd in Portland's got some mighty meat projects going: Spicy salami, chorizo verde, and saucisson D'Arles and prosciutto. And Jeremy Aldous has executed a few projects, including a prosciutto and what appears to be a lovely porchetta di testa.
So, how's it hanging where you are?