Salumi Charcuterie Cured Meat

How Much Does a Meat Dry Curing (Charcuterie) Chamber Cost? $0 or Higher

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

Curing meat at home can be easy; here is a breakdown of the costs and ideas you can use to cure meat at home for smallgoods like salami, whole muscle cured meats, or charcuterie.

I started curing meat a few decades ago, from my experiences, I hope that this quick rundown could give you an indication of what’s possible and maybe some inspiration to give it a go!

I have found many ways to cure meats, and you can use many different options; you may already have the right tools.

You need approximately 50-60­°F/10-15°C and 65-80% humidity for drying cured meat. For salami, more accuracy helps, rather than whole muscle meat curing like braesola, pancetta, and prosciutto.

Dry Cured Meat made at Home in my kitchen fridge & fatty one in my curing chamber

Of course, it all depends on what type of cured meat you want to make.

Many years ago, I started my salumi journey (whole muscle classic salt dry cured meats link to charcuterie/dry cured meats category list on this site) and tried different ways. Through a bunch of online communities & checking out what others have done. – here is the short answer.

How Much Does a Curing Chamber Cost? A normal fridge can be used for certain meat curing projects or building a curing chamber costs $100-300 USD. The main costs are fridge, controller & humidifier. Lastly, you can purchase a professional curing chamber.

A full list of options is below. Hey, if you don’t want to build or buy something, use your existing fridge.

The other ‘no investment’ method I have seen is just hanging it in a cellar, attic, or basement. As you can imagine, the results can vary considerably!

I’ve seen a ton of different equipment, so hopefully, I can give some direction about what is worthwhile spending some money, time, and effort on.

Homemade cured meat can be sublime, and has many ways of doing it.

For me, this is the slowest of slow foods in a time where life happens very fast – it’s therapeutic and tasty!

I hope this helps some budding meat curers / Norcini (Italian Salumi butchers) who want to cure meat.

Charcuterie Salumi Dry Cured Meat Picture
Charcuterie Salumi Dry Cured Meat – from my standard kitchen fridge takes about 12 days to make

If you are starting off meat curing, you can just use your normal kitchen fridge without modifying it. It’s an easy way to start experimenting; I wrote a full post on it; check it out here.

Then, lastly, let’s see some dream team high-end salumi/charcuterie beast mode commercial curing chamber options (if you are interested, I can get you a deal on one).

Break Down of Options & Costs

From starter to full-blown professional curing options.

Drying AreaDescriptionCost (USD)
Basement/Cellar/GarageVaries, often in cooler months can work, but may be inconsistent$0
Normal FridgeOnly for smaller projects, since very dry conditions$0
Biltong Box/DehydratorDesigned for making biltong/jerky.$70-$250
DIY Second Hand FridgeDIY second-hand fridge$200-$400
DIY Wine Fridge ConversionMay Need controllers, humidifier/dehumidifier, fan, filter$200-$400
Turnkey Drying ChamberPurchase a pre-built curing chamber for professional use.$1,300-$20k

Your Normal Fridge 

Meat Curing in a Fridge
My regular kitchen fridge with 5 different Dry Cured Meat flavors – (Hungarian Paprika), (Spanish Chorizo), (Beef, Garlic & Bayleaf), (Beef, Pepper & Thyme), (Pork Pancetta)


Probably $0, if you have a normal fridge (some string is needed. A measured piece of wood to slip in behind helps, too)


Pancetta, Pastrami, Hot Smoked Bacon, Pellicle Formation

Bottom Line

Superb – if you just want to have a go at some curing projects, I have found under 7 oz / 200 grams meat curing works best in my fridge.

You also don’t want much fat on the meat; fat takes longer to dry out.

They say pancetta is the easiest meat-curing project and its versatility in the kitchen is amazing, but with the fat, it will get a bit hard on the outside if you are using the fridge.

Real carbonara fettuccine – enhances so many dishes – you can make some in as little 2-3 weeks and it can be semi-dried not fully weight loss of 35% the golden number.

Here it is again, a bit of a rundown on how to dry-cure meat in your own fridge.

It all starts with a normal fridge, which is a ‘curing chamber’, but it will generally run at a lower moisture level. At 25-45% humidity, it can’t handle meat curing projects beyond about 5 days to about 2 weeks before the cured meat will get hard on the outside.

A fridge temperature of 37-42°F / 3-5°C works well since there is a bit of air circulation happening as well.

50-5°F / 11-13°C is ideal, but that’s for long-term months or years. Trust me, the normal fridge does work.

Perfect humidity is generally 60%-75% humidity, depending on the project, which is for long-term meat curing projects.

Bear in mind, that fridges do vary a bit; get a humidity temperature device, like a hygrometer to check it if you want. I was surprised by how cheap they are; actually, here is one on Amazon with a wire to stick in the fridge.

Use it to check other places around the home that could work for charcuterie dry-curing meat. You would be surprised what you can get away with, in terms of temperatures/moisture – this is a craft, not science for sure.

Hanging it Around the House

If you use the above testing method, you may be able to find a suitable location heading into fall or the colder months are generally the way to go in most temperate environments.

Some folks like to hang the meat outside during winter; you could also google your climate and see how it varies across the year in moisture and temperature.

Biltong Box /Dehydrator (for biltong/jerky)

homemade cured meat biltong
homemade cured meat biltong – one of my favorite [protein snacks, lasts weeks great at work or out in the hills


$10 USD – $ 300 USD


Dries meat or, if you have a dehydrator, dries fruit/vege etc..

Bottom line

It is a meat curing chamber technically, but you aren’t doing dry-cured meat (well, technically, it is dry-cured, but it’s drying it out very fast).

This is an awesome way to get preserved protein snacks for camping, work or just to munch on.

To create a healthy, nutritious snack to eat anywhere or you can add the biltong/jerky to various salad dishes.

You can also just use an oven on low to make jerky/biltong (some people like to leave the oven door open so it doesn’t heat up too much).

This type of dried meat is perfect for outdoor adventure – hiking or trekking. Protein fills you up and this doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.

Jerky and Biltong – because you are using salt, vinegar, spices & maybe sugar. The meat is being cured and supposedly ‘cooked’ with vinegar. If you think of this like South American ‘ceviche‘ in citrus lemon or lime juice, the acidity has a similar effect.

Making jerky/biltong is very easy. I wrote a post on different methods – check it out here.

DIY Make Your Own Curing Chamber

Big, Ugly but effective – Curing Chamber or a Controlled Environmentally Controlled Chamber! (my first curing chamber)


$200 – $1,000 USD – depending on size & ambition


So many uses! I haven’t strictly used my curing chamber for meat curing.

I have also done a few other things in it. I have gone inside it when it’s been wintry cold days (seriously) and set the chamber temperature to over 86°F / 30°C, it was very cozy.

All salumi & salami can be done in this type of setup.

I’ve done a lot of variations of farmed & wild styles of braesola, lonza, smoky bacon pancetta, biltong, growing oyster mushrooms, fermenting beer/wine, dry aging meats, drying spices & fruits.

Drying certain spices & vegetables is only possible because I put a decent heating source in the curing chamber (flat panel heater at the back). Also, the heat source allows me to increase the temperature for fermenting dry-cured salami.

Bottom line

If you can get the environmental chamber balanced and control the environment effectively – this will bring a means to create a plethora of meat-curing wonders & other creations.

My main issue with this one was dry air from the rather large compressor on top, I ended up putting a few layers of muslin over the vent – improved it quite a bit.

Instead of a dedicated input fan for fresh air, the air comes in from the compressors, but I also offset a ‘gasket’ lid and used HEPA filters. Because this is close to the main fan in the compressor, it ‘pulls’ air in.

This isn’t needed in more normal conversions, but it is just a bit of tinkering to get this beast working well.

Main Equipment Costs:

  • Fridge
  • Controller – either for 1 input or 2 (temp & humidity)
  • Humidifier
  • Dehumidifier
  • Heat Source (for salami fermentation or cool areas)

It’s worth investing in this kit and having reliable equipment, of course.

After spending weeks, months or years patiently waiting for a salumi project -you don’t want it to go bad because of a faulty bit of kit that was 10% cheaper.

For my curing chamber, I went for the full hard wiring of the meat curing chamber in a controller box rather than the easy plug-in option, which is now very common. I had to get an electrical engineering friend to help with the hard-wired control box. 

Since then, I have helped many others to get into the salumi dry curing game. The plugin type of controller is probably the best if you are not an electrician or electrically minded.

I’m lucky enough to have an electrical engineering brother who has got me on the right track many times!

The components, like a plug-and-play temperature and humidity controller (article I wrote here reviewing a controller), are reasonable.

Here is a link to a post I wrote about building your curing chamber that goes into more depth.

Top Tips – DIY Building a Curing Chamber 

  1. 2nd hand fridge is the way to go here; don’t buy a new one since you will modify it with holes.
  2. You will want to be hanging things, so think about the racks at the top of the fridge.
  3. Some people only use a humidifier; you may get into trouble if you don’t have one – the compressor will have some dehumidifying effect. But, when you have ten salamis hanging, it may create too much moisture, so a dehumidifier is advisable.
  4. Think about how the airflow will go in and out; the fridge may be drawing enough air when it is cycling on and off.
  5. The tank for the humidifier will vary, and you might get 1-4 days depending on the setup. It may be good to invest in a large-capacity tank if you have space.
  6. Tools, food-grade sealant, etc will be needed.

DIY Wine Fridge Conversion

These may have similar temperature and humidity settings to what is needed for curing meat, and sometimes it just takes minor tweaks to get that 70% humidity and around 52/°F 11°C that could suit a controlled environment.

One charcuterie lady I have met used this method – opening the door and allowing airflow was needed regularly which seems a bit high maintenance, but it worked!

Turnkey Curing Chamber

Braesola Cured Meat
Actually made in a DIY Curing Chamber – Wild Game Braesola


$1,300 USD+


It’s an environmental control chamber, so anything goes salumi or dry aging meats.

Bottom line

Plug and play – you can start immediately for any meat-curing

To be honest, the DIY options above will do the same as this option. However, it often takes a lot of tweaking

However, if money isn’t an issue, this is where you have things like presets, so the computer in the curing chamber knows exactly the right conditions for certain projects.

Other aspects like anti-bacterial materials and high-grade steel etc. are used. In Roman times, when they made prosciutto/parma ham, they didn’t have these devices obviously; the natural environment just made it easier.

But, since we have scientifically worked out how to cure meat to perfection with no case hardening and used modern techniques such as equilibrium curing, so, we don’t over-salt or under-salt the food.

We can create the perfect environment through a professional curing chamber or DIY option.

The professional option – leave a comment if you want more information

If you want the how-to guide to curing meat at home, which took ages to right but covers the process of dry curing, check out the post.

I’ve used in detail the SteakAger Pro 40 ($1,500USD), which is really dry ager, however can be used for dry curing. Had quite some case hardening, and averaged 75% humidity but had a lot of variation.

Also reviewed and used a Stagionella double-door professional fridge, which is completely customizable and quite overwhelming for at-home charcuterie in some ways ($15k USD).

If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you.

Related Questions

What is the Most Important Factor for a Meat Curing Chamber?

Humidity, temperature, airflow & good bacteria (penicillin). Once these factors are controlled accurately, any meat-curing project can be performed.

It’s not hard to get this setup, especially regarding longer-term meat curing. Once you have the basics down, it just takes a bit of monitoring here and there.

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  1. Hi,

    I would like to have more info about the professional options.


    1. Author

      Hi there,
      I have email you a private message with more information.
      All the best,

  2. Hi Tom,
    We are looking at a start up around air drying Wagyu from our farm into several styles of charcuterie (primarily spiced) and having the option when not using for charcuterie that we can offer dry aged steaks at times as well. We found an ideal option in the Maturmeat 58″ Glass Door Stainless Steel Twin Meat Aging Cabinet – 220 lb. + 220 lb. / 100 kg. + 100 kg., 220V, 3700W as it allows two separately computer controlled curing processes side by side. We also want to cold smoke during the process using a tray of pellets in the bottom of either side without affecting the other side during the process. The cost is however way beyond us and there are not many other options in Australia to set and walk away (we have other businesses needing us), and/or they are too small (we hope to retail, food service/wholesale and eventually export thus HCAPP data logging is important), and/or they are targeted at dry aging steak and maturing salami which is secondary to our Bresaola, Basturma, Pastrami etc. What solutions may you perhaps have for us with a little electrical reconfiguration if required?

    1. Author

      Hey Chris,
      Check out the courses page at the top of each post, there is a booklet you can get.
      I would look at a refrigerated shipping container or large commercial fridge. Then get electrical expertise to hardwire controllers for temp and humidity. I think something like commercial mushroom humidifier could work.
      Yes commercial charcuterie chambers start from $20-30k for sizes suite for that.

  3. Are you aware of any smaller professional units? I am trying to decide if I want to put a small meat curing chamber or dry aging unit in our basement. Regardless of which one, I am hoping to do something that is sized more like a mini-fridge. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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