Friday, August 12, 2011

Fermentation Chamber for Salumi

I have been getting pretty deep into this Charcuterie thing.  The next big step is making some fermented salumis.  This is not as easy as it may sound.  I have been leaning a lot on some of my friends in the Charcuterie world, Jason from Cured meats, Matt from Wrightfood(an amazing photographer as well) and Scott over at Sausage Debauchery.  The advise they have given me plus all of the reading has led to this point.  The journey in to fermented salumi's. 

I have made the cure chamber, now I needed to make the prequel for this.  I took a lot of advice from Jason to make the Fermentation chamber. When making any type of "Fermented" sausages, a bacterial culture is added to the meat to inoculate it with good bacteria.  The mold you see on some salumis is a good thing.  This also helps give your fermented sausage an amazing flavor, in addition to keeping the bad bacteria away. The times and humidity that you need is dependent on the starter culture used.  Be sure to check, as some only need to ferment for 24 hrs and other 48-72 hrs. I started out buy ordering all the pieces parts I would need.  Then got to work.

Above you will see the items I needed to get this started.  I started with a large Rubbermaid container.  One that would be deep enough to hang sausages in.  This is not much different than using a larger cure chamber, with the exception is that the temperatures will be higher for shorter periods of time.  You can use your cure chamber for this and adjust temperatures as you go, but you can only cure one type of salumi, or meat at a time this way.  And seeing as how I need to purchase more stock in pork with the amounts I am using, I needed the second.  So we need to control three things again. Temperature, Humidity and Airflow.
Temperature-  I am controlling the temperature in my Fermentation box by using this Temperature controller.  I did not want to spend a bunch of money on another fancy one like I have on the cure chamber so I did a little research.  This controller is used to control the heat in a terrarium for Lizards and such.  Turns out that a Lizards habitat is very similar to hanging meat, they like it warm and humid.  Easy, and the best part is that this controller came with a built in Thermocouple that is made for a humid environment and has a suction cup to hold it to the side.  The controller controlls from 60F to 105F.  This also has three plugs attached to it.  So to provide the heat I used a small Light bulb receptacle that I attached inside the chamber.  This comes on whenever the temp gets to low.  You will also notice that I put aluminium foil along the one side of the box, this is to disperse the heat and reflect it around the box.
Humidity- This is about as simple as it gets, you need to keep the box at a high humidity around 80%RH to 85%RH.  I put a shallow bowl full of salt water, and a wet towel in the box.  This way when the heat comes on the water evaporates, and humidity if born!!  The circle of life, not really but easy.
Airflow- I am doing this pretty Hillbilly right now.  I have what my cousin calls a fat man fan pointed at a whole in the top of the unit.  A fat man fan is a small fan that has a clip on one end so that where ever you choose to plant your fat a$$ you can clip it next to you and not sweat as bad.  What I am going to is get a small computer fan and convert it to be able to plug into the Temperature controller, so it will cycle on and off and not cause case hardening for me.
I just so happened to have some sausage to stuff the day this was made.  Some fiery N'duja and some Salumi al Finocchietto.  Below you will see the N'duja hanging.

This was my first foray into fermented sausages, and I can say that I see a lot of sausage in my future.  OK perverts settle down.  I am really getting into to this and hope I have helped some of you out there.  I will continue to play with my meat if you are willing to read about it.  Remember Source local and Love your Meat!!


  1. Thanks Aaron for the Blueprint. While I know I will not spend the time and energy that you have, I know I will this some facet of this enterprise!

    Ron Baker

  2. I purchased a used alto sham for 100 bucks the thermostat is about 10° off but it ferments perfectly

  3. I purchased a used alto sham for 100 bucks the thermostat is about 10° off but it ferments perfectly