Weight is Everything, When it Comes to Charcuterie and Salumi
Charcuterie, or cured, dried whole muscle meat, is a relatively simple craft. Salumi, or fermented slow dried sausage, is a bit more work. It’s easy enough to master at home with a meat grinder, a dedicated stuffer, and a bit of patience. Basically, all that is required is meat, salt, time--and UMAi Dry.
There are Three Fundamental Rules to ensure safety when making Salumi or Charcuterie:Rule #1: 3% kosher salt to weight of meat
Rule #2: 0.25% #2 Curing Salt (slow-acting curing salt) to the weight of meat
Rule #3: Dry cure until meat has lost 35-40% of its original weight.
To achieve the correct proportion of salt to meat, you must choose the right kind of salt and measure it by weight (or skip the math, and use the UMAi Dry Pre-mixed Curing Salts Blend for 5# Recipe!)
Americans most often measure ingredients by volume (cups and teaspoons) rather than weight. Following the Three Fundamental Rules can be impossible in a kitchen that lacks a basic kitchen scale.
Next, you need to know your salt. Some say “Salt is salt is salt,” but this can be a risky oversimplification when it comes to choosing and measuring salt for home-meat craft. Not all salt is equal, even when labeled “Kosher.”
In Warning: Measure Your Salt by Edward Schneider, we learn that one cup of Morton’s kosher salt weighs 250 grams, while one cup of Diamond Crystal kosher salt weighs 135 grams! Because these two kosher types are manufactured very differently, one brand weighs almost twice as much as the other.
What’s more, if you use regular table salt, know that one cup of table salt weighs in at 300 grams–making it even saltier than the Morton’s kosher. NOTE: Never use iodized salt for Salumi or Charcuterie projects.
Imagine the flavor of the capicola made with one cup of Morton’s kosher salt or even heavier un-iodized table salt! It will be "safe," but very, very salty.
If it's hard to find Kosher salt in your local grocery store, or you don't want to fuss with the scale and the math, you can always buy the handy Premixed Curing Salts Blend for 5# Recipe from UMAi Dry.
UMAi Dry recipes provide volume measurements all based upon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (the lightest, or “least salty”). This way, you can be sure that our recipes provide the minimum salt proportion-by-volume for food safety.
As Mr. Schneider warns, “… whenever recipe writers are rash enough to give a precise measurement for salt, they ought to specify what kind they’re talking about. Some do; but even then, some just say “kosher salt” — I’ve done this myself, but I’ve stopped, and I promise never to do it again.”
Know your salt.
Use a scale.
Or just buy five pounds of meat and...
the Pre-mixed Curing Salts Blend.