Dry aging of sausage and ham

Sausage in dry ager

Fine smoked ham and spicy salami taste best in the cold months. The DRY AGER® allows you to make your own sausage and ham supplies. For this, the self developed products are an excellent gift at Christmas time. With starter cultures from the butchers, sausage production is possible at home.

And that’s how it’s done

For salami and other sausages, there are also “do-it-yourself kits”. Here you can find all the important ingredients from spices to salt. For inexperienced hobby cooks they are just the right helper. Ham is less intense in preparation. It is important always to preserve the sausage products before aging by smoking or curing salt. These inhibit bacteria growth.

There are three methods for smoking: smoking (15 to 25 °C), which is particularly suitable for ham, bacon and salami. It can be implemented in a simple smoke box or a smoking oven and has the longest shelf life. In the case of warm smoking (25 to 60 °C) the food is half-cooked. It is suitable e.g. for Viennese sausages. The hot smoking (60 to 80 °C) of meat is typical of boiled ham and fish, such as trout or eel.

Salt consists of saline and nitrite. The nitrite drains with the muscular dye myoglobin for the red colouring of the meat. Butchers call this process “redness”. The reddening can also be carried out by means of certain spice mixtures without curing salt, since nitrite develops nitrosamines when heated. These are suspected to be carcinogenic. However, cured meat is not the only nitrite source. Many vegetable varieties also contain natural nitrite.

Hygiene is important
Hygiene is a priority in sausage production. Otherwise, moulds dissolve mould. Therefore, clean tools, cutting boards and gloves are a priority.


Mature ham and salami

Dry Aged salami air-dried

If you want to prepare your loved one for a Christmas feast, then you should already put meat in the Dry Aging fridge. This is also true for the maturing time: ham and salami need time to develop their full flavour. Salami becomes spicier and drier the longer it hangs. The finished sausages can be ready in 2-4 weeks, but will be even better after 6-12 weeks. Also ham improves its taste and maintains its delicate consistency in the maturity period. It should be at least 10 days to 6 months.

Salami production

  • To prepare
    For salami use suitable fresh pork, beef or venison. The meat is boned and free from tendons and silver skin. Then mince and freeze for two days in the refrigerator.
  • Mix
    Prepare starter cultures on the day of sausage production. Grind the spices and mix with garlic paste, starter cultures and the meat. If necessary add nitrite curing salt. Once combined make a ball and throw it several times onto the cutting board. This prevents air bubbles which make the meat discolour or even mouldy.
  • To fill
    Rinse the sausage filler with water and fill the sausage stuffer with mince keeping it as free of bubbles as possible. It takes a bit of practice.
  • Mature
    String the finished sausages so that they do not touch and perspire for a day (approx. 20-24 °C at 80% humidity). Then let it hang for 5 days at about 17 °C and 70% relative humidity and sprinkle daily with salt liquor from all sides. For the preservation, cool for about 24 hours and then dry in the refrigerator compartment.

Tip: Finish with roasted pine nuts, hazelnuts or truffles.

Ham production

  • To prepare
    For hams, the best is the legs or back of beef, pork or game. With the legs, the meat can mature on the bone. Eliminate the flesh of silver skin and tendons.
  • Spice up
    The spices are coarsely ground in a mortar and mixed with salt. The meat is grated and stored on the shelf in the refrigerator compartment for about 7-14 days at refrigerated temperature. Turn the meat regularly.
  • Mature
    Thoroughly rinse the whole meat with lukewarm water and let it “burn” through the hook at approx. 8 °C and dry air (4-7 days).
  • Smoking
    Afterwards, smoke the ham for 24 hours and then rinse. Place in the DRY AGER® for at least 10 days.

Tip: Refine smoked ham with juniper or rosemary