Sunday, September 4, 2011

'Nduja, at last!!

This is the salumi that started it all for me.  Sure I have been making some fresh sausages for a long time. But this mystical salumi made of fire is what really got into my Charcuterie obsession and more.  I spent some time in Italy years ago when I was in the Marine Corps, and I always remembered this insanely spicy, spreadable, and amazing sausage I used to get before I got on the train.  Turns out it is 'Nduja. I met some guys who have really helped me along in my charcuterie endeavors.  Andy and Michael from AMIK if you read my blog at all you know who I am talking about.  Mike and I were sitting around on the back patio one night having a couple cocktails and started talking about how great it would be to find someone local to make salumi and especially 'Nduja.  I said, Hell I can do that, and started my research.  Up to this point I have been making some of the easier things, Guanciale, Peperone, Soppresseta, etc... All amazing, then I decided to tackle 'Nduja.  With some help from Scott, from The Sausage Debauchery  who has an entire online store dedicated to his pursuit of Calabrian products.  I got the ball rolling.  Okay onto the 'Nduja, pronounced (in-Doo-Yah) This salumi is made from the fattier parts of a pig, the Belly and the Jowl, as well as thirty... Don't be afraid I said thirty percent is hot peppers.  The fat content of this salumi is 40-50% making it a spreadable salumi.  The meat and fat are ground, seasoned with salt, peppe rossa, hot peperonciono powder and then worked into a fiery paste.  Check out the amount of peppers in the picture below.

Compare this to the amount of Meat that went into this salumi.  I used 50% pork jowl, and 50% Pork belly (all from Newman farms of course!!!)
The meat was put into the freezer for about an hour to get cold and hard, so it would mince better in the grinder. Notice the long strips of meat that I cut, most recipes call for cutting your meat into small cubes before grinding, I do not agree.  When you have the long strips the meat feeds itself thru the grinder on its own, cutting down on the friction from pushing the meat, and ending up with a more uniform product.  Plush this is what Chris Constantino does and he is a meat master. So I ground me some pork.
Don't be afraid of all that fat you see, this is a spreadable Salumi and needs all the fat, Plus imagine this as a topping on a wood fired pizza.... Wait....sorry I needed a moment.  After the meat was ground I hooked up the old Kitchen aid bowl and got to mixing some spices as well as the starter culture.
Look at the color of that meat, I know the bowl is sitting next to an other bowl of Juicy beef middles.  These things smell like Mike Hudmans foot, but can be cleaned if you soak them in tepid water with a couple Tbs of white vinegar.
The paste here reminds me of the hot desert sands of Arizona.  Red, hard, and really spicy.  And trust me it is.  I cooked up a small piece to check the seasoning.... woke up a few minutes later not sure if I should call an ambulance or the food network.  It is really that hot and good!!!!  I got my sausage stuffer going and this is what came out with minor coaxing.

I stuffed them, weighed them, trussed them and then hang them in the incubation chamber I made for at least 48 hours.This is how they will look after fermentation.
 Pretty big difference, they are much firmer and the color is beautiful.  This will dry in the cure chamber for a minimum of sixty days up to one year.  I will alternate cold smoking them to impart a deeper and richer flavor. Here is a picture of the batch I have running now, the 'Nduja is on the left.
Thank you for all of you that check out my blog.  It is really a labor of love, you spend a lot of time and money and hope that people are reading.  I have not posted in a while but have been doing some pretty cool things.  Made some great Soppresseta, some mortadella hot dogs that I think are amazing.  I have also made the decision to start up my own Charcuterie company.  Keep your eye out on the Burning River Meat Co.  I am hoping to do some good things with some friends of mine, and get the city of Memphis looking towards its roots and getting some good cured meats.  Remember, Source Local and Love your meat!!!!!


  1. Awesome mate,
    I've only recently heard about Nduja so have been looking to see how its made and generally salivating over pictures of it until I can get some for myself.
    Coming across your blog has been pretty fascinating, can I ask do you have to use a grinder for the pork or would a food processor do ? Can I ask also the incubation chamber, how did you make this, is it some kind of cupboard that is dedicated to curing ? any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated. many thanks, Karl. ps if you reply is my email. Hasta luego

  2. Are you still curing meats? Has been over a year since your post, and I have been away for a long time. Any Questions or anything let me know.