Salami making can be done with quite a few different types of kits.
For someone new to salami, a salami kit is a logical idea. However, not all salami kits are the same!
Salami is a mysterious artisan craft, and I believe it’s not just a recipe but a process where you are using salt, acidity, and sometimes cold smoke (for a certain type of salami style, more on this below).
It’s a craft, not a recipe. It takes some skills to develop, to create a consistent delicious salami.
It definitely falls into the advanced foodie charcuterie category. For my online courses here at eat cured meat, I always say it’s better to start with whole muscle charcuterie/salumi, before fermented/dried salami making.
Here is a range of available salami making kits, which I will make a few comments about below:
List of Salami Making Kits
- Umai Dry Artisan Dry Sausage Kit
- Sausage Maker
- Hi Mountain’s Salami Sausage Kit
- Cabela’s Smokehouse Beer Salami Sausage Making Kit
I’ll go over below what to expect from these kits and what you are getting yourself into.
Disclaimer* These are my thoughts on what is available and hopefully to guide you toward your salami goals!
I don’t see myself as an expert. However, I’ve been helping people with making dry-cured meat, cured salami, cold smoked, hot smoked, and emulsified sausages for a few decades.
I’ve got a fair idea about the processes and will just highlight these thoughts!
With all these salami kits provided, you just add the meat.
Remembering, any sausage or salami is a ratio of 80/20 Meat to Fat
I go all the way up to 65/35, for some rich classic styles.
Good quality meat, good quality pork back fat (pork fat is neutral and the ‘go to’ fat for sausage and salami).
Very good meat handling hygiene, and working at a just above freezing point temperature for the meat. Is key to minimizing the unwanted bacteria.
You can buy pork butt or pork shoulder in big chunks from the butcher. This will have approximately 20% pork fat in my experience. It often depends on the age of the pig, if the pig is killed under 12 months, there will be WAY less fat than an older pig.
So you may not need to source pork back fat for your salami making kit.
Salami Making Kits in Detail
Here is a breakdown of some kits for you.
I think this is a great choice for someone starting out (though you should have maybe done some meat curing of muscles beforehand also – here is a guide I wrote about this) This kit has got all the essentials and you can use the 2-way breathable casings to dry your salami in your regular kitchen fridge.
One of the challenges with salami is drying the meat so it dried out on the inside evenly. If the outside dries out too fast, you get ‘case hardening’ which can lead to all sorts of issues. Too moist environments and you potentially get too much fungal growth. – This kit deals with this issue.
Umai uses a membrane casing, which does this regulation of airflow for you, in your kitchen fridge.
This is the ‘real’ fermented and dry-cured salami – dry-cured slowly for maximum flavor!
Quick fermentation explanation.
Starter Culture is added after salt/spices – the starter culture eats the simple sugar and it produces lactic acidic. The ‘acidity’ (lower pH), protects the salami during drying. Unwanted bacteria do not like acidic environments, it also adds the tangy salami flavor!
Make 25 lbs.
These kits seem to be dry-cured salami kits but aren’t fermented maybe? No mention of this in the description. As I said, I haven’t used it, but am looking at it from an experienced producer of salami who studies this stuff for a living! Fermenting/Acidifying the salami is another layer of protection.
Also, some comments have been made that you will need the temperature which assists drying – 50-60F or 10-15C. This is where you select or create an environment where you can hang dry-cured meat for drying, also ideally humidity is 75-85% (here is a post I wrote about DIY curing chambers).
Salami Maker is an online website store that has a lot of decent gear related to curing and smoking meat. These guys do definitely understand what they are talking about.
Not quite accurate pictures on this box…
Technically it is a salami, just not a dry-cured salami which it shows.
It shows a picture of dry-cured salami on the box, however, this is a cooked hot smoked salami kit.
So you can use a smoker to cook/smoke it until the internal temperature is reached.
It’s not quite a classic salami in my eyes, more a sausage that is cooked in a hot smoker = hot smoked salami
I’ve done hot smoked salamis, and have been happy with the results, but it’s more a sausage that is cooked/smoked.
I downloaded the instructions and cut a bit out to highlight, this is a cooked salami not dry cured salami:
Make 25lbs, not dry cured salami as per the above Hi Mountain kit, this is is a cooked/smoked sausage salami.
And again, it’s misleading, because the picture on the front is a dry-cured salami.
Some of the ingredients on the package, I am not sure what they are for, I would presume these are commercial type ingredients for texture/preservation or sweetness ie. sodium erythorbate (looks to be a Vitamin C alternative)
Salami is a Process and Craft Aswell as a Recipe
For dry-cured salami, it takes an understanding of the curing, potentially pH/acidity, fermentation, good/bad molds
Umai would be the salami kit about for someone who wants their handheld, but to still create a product that’s of a decent standard.
Being a traditional purist, I would say the outcome still doesn’t quite reach a hung dry-cured salami. Because of what I have learned, dry-cured flavors develop over time.
There is a reason the 12-24 month + whole muscle or dry-cured salami are considered special (also some science around how the amino acids in the proteins break down over time). ie. Parma Ham or Well Aged Classic Iberian Jamon
In a Umai salami, you are drying it out to get to a certain weight loss, however, it’s down rapidly in just above freezing temperature in your fridge.
But for a starter salami kit, it’s all good (apart from the single-use plastic membrane casing). The natural casing is my preference, but this is again is following the more complicated traditional artisanal journey, for a Umai Kit to work it has to use their Membrane Casing.
Contents of a Salami Kit
Sea Salt is the main curing ingredient used, it inhibits the water activity, which in turn makes it an in-hospital environment for unwanted bacteria
May vary, black pepper will be very standard for most kits.
Won’t be natural casings, since intestine casings need to be in salt and in a fridge environment ideally. They are seen often as the best salami casing though.
Fibrous or Cellulose Protein Casing are often used, these are strong and have a permeable ability often.
Pink Curing Salt No. 2 or No. 1
To Protect the meat from botulism, very low amounts are used.
These Nitrates/Nitrites are often in many vegetables we consume as well as produced in our bodies.
Fermentation Starter Culture
Adding to ‘acidify’/ fermented dry-cured salami, to give it another layer of protection, often dextrose or another simple sugar are added to feed this starter culture after stuffing and before drying (fermentation stage). Although the existing sugars inside the meat are also consumed by the starter culture, the dextrose addition is used as an ‘added’ safety measure. Not how the Italian traditionalists do it though! More a commercial/domestic insurance policy.
This applies only to the dry-cured fermented salami kit.
Issues with pH and Salami Making Kits
pH meters that work are another major investment with involved charcuterier or commercial producer gets. It’s not essential but does give you confidence in the production of salami in a precise way.
This is all about the acidic protection, I use start mold cultures for my dry-cured salami – but haven’t yet trailed out a bunch of ph meters they cost a lot!
Don’t bother trying to use litmus paper, it’s not accurate enough.
Hope these thoughts helped a bit – salut!
Thanks for dropping by, I’ve been passionate about meat curing for around 20 years now. Having been lucky enough to learn inside fine dining kitchens through to backyard smoking sessions. From doing courses, trial & error and reading extensively – finally, I thought it was time to share my passion online.
My insatiable appetite and passion toward classic Italian dry-cured salumi and all forms of curing and smoking are what drives this website engine. All the best, Tom