Approximately 4 weeks ago I had placed a sizable order for some beef from our regular beef guy, Natural Homestead Beef, and don't normally worry because I take his standard cuts. This time however, I ordered some uncut roasts, or so I thought. Top rounds became london broil and eye rounds became, well, eye round steaks. Needless to say, there was some serious miscommunication when I talked to the farmer and how it got translated to the butcher. A little bummed out and not sure how to salvage dozens of pounds of meat now not useful for it's intended purpose, I reached out to some friends on a charcuterie list, and thanks to Bob del Grosso, Jason Molinari and Scott Stegen, I was able to get a recipe and suggestion that would let me use the great product in a different form. It's called "Salame di Sant'Olcese", and as Jason explains on his recipe page, is usually a little smoked, but I also don't have a smoker, so this is a "style" or "similar to" kind of experiment.
The recipe is pretty close to what Jason has, but the ratio's are a little different because the beef I use has such low fat content. I also used a pork steak instead of a ham steak, but the rest is pretty much in line with what Jason has on his site, so no need to repost here.
The recipe is super simple and really seems to let the product shine. Aside from the belly, which came from Whole Foods, all product is within a 100 mile radius, and all grass fed organic livestock. The pork has been great thus far and is also where the Guanciale came from.
The whole process really took me back to when I was young with my Nonna and making Sopressata stuffed by hand. I've yet to get a proper stuffer, so I leaned on those old skills to stuff these five salame's by hand. I have to admit, while there were a few moments of, "What the hell, this is taking so long", the need to simply just slow down and work with my hands was perfect. My job has me usually killing myself no less than 60 hours a week (on a good week) and that pace can absolutely kill you. This is what cooking is, this is what people did for centuries and it brings me back to the thing I always think about when I see old outdoor gear, and that's that modern day folks are wimps.
These will ferment for 48 hours(ish) and then head straight into the chamber for about 4 weeks or so, and we'll see how we did and if we made Nonna proud.