I discovered Perdinci Meats at a food show in the Javitz center. I contacted their representative because I was really blown away by the quality of their meats, especially the dried, cured pork loin, or lonza. They sent me a variety pack of sample meats, including salami, guanciale (pork cheek), pork belly, that delicious lonza, and some softer spreadables like nduja and finocchiola.
These babies were tucked away in my fridge for quite a while, and I was happy to see that they held up just fine and didn’t spoil with proper storage.
The lonza is still my favorite, but all of the other products are excellent. I highly recommend this stuff.
You animals may have seen my post about Charcuterie Masters a week or two ago. If not, go read some more about it at that link I just dropped. This post is dedicated to the incredible shit we tried at the 2017 event.
Jacuterie was showing off some incredible dried salami with regional flavoring inspirations:
Elevation got my chip for the vote though. These flavors were amazing, and every chub was worth buying.
Breakfast (maple whisky).
Chocolate stout mole:
I also tried some pastrami flavored BBQ short rib, which was sickeningly delicious. Unbelievable.
Smoking Goose came through with some incredible game-based meats. Terrines, head cheese, you name it – all great.
Yeah you are reading that correctly – lamb soppressata.
The rabbit and pork cheek terrine was my favorite.
They had some “rust belt” salami too.
On the subject of head cheese, Dickson was on point as well:
That was a duck mortadella (round one) and the pretty one had lots of duck tongue in it.
The garlic sausage from Heather Ridge Farm was a nice bite, but their root beer syrup concentrate stole the show.
Gaseiro e Bom had 5-year aged prosciutto for $800 a pound. Or you could just eat the free samples all night, like I did.
Ends Meat had some great items. In addition to the pork they even had a little beef salumi as well.
They had a nice nduja too.
I enjoyed the pate a lot at the Trois Petits Cochons table.
I signed up for a chance to win 50lbs of bacon from Ribs Within:
Refreshments – I liked the “kinda dry” one better than the bone dry.
Smoke Show was apparently smoking a whole hog on the premesis. I knew something was up when I saw the sign and cleaver.
We heard something was going on out back, so we investigated. Turns out that Smoke Show really did put on a show:
They are a Catskill Mountains-based producer of premiere farm-to-table food and wine festivals and educational programs. They pair the agricultural bounty (including grass-fed beef, organic produce, artisan cheeses, smoked fish, and wines from the region’s lush mountain valleys and fresh water streams) with New York City’s most innovative chefs and the culinary community.
Their goals include creating jobs, driving economic development by assisting family farmers and local artisans, and fostering culinary and agricultural tourism in the Catskill-Delaware New York City Watershed. This exposes everyone – from chefs to culinary professionals to foodies to gourmets – to delicious, fresh, sustainable and healthful foods.
Charcuterie Masters is the first ever competition of its kind and brings together more than 20 professional and amateur makers of artisanal charcuterie from across the U.S and Canada, including Rodrigo Duarte (Caseiro E Bom, Newark, N.J.); John Harkness (Prime Meats, Brooklyn, N.Y.); Chad Nelan (Elevation Charcuterie & Artisan Meats, Denver); Stewart Taylor (Babelfish Bistro, Guelph, Ontario, Canada); and Giuseppe Viterale (Ornella Trattoria, Astoria, N.Y.).
Charcuterie Masters 2017 is so much more than a national competition, it’s a celebration of Meaty Times where guests will be able to sample exquisite cured meats and salumi — including hams, bacons, pates, sausages and much more.
Participating chefs for Charcuterie Masters 2017 are:
Hugue Dufour (M. Wells Steakhouse)
Will Horowitz (Ducks Eatery, Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co.)
Pitmaster Josh Bowen (John Brown Smokehouse)
Alfonso Zhicay (Casa del Chef Bistro)
Guests will have an opportunity to savor charcuterie, learn from the makers as well participate in a people’s choice vote of the ‘best-of-the-evening’ charcuterie. Pairings will include top-rated wines, craft beers, and farmstead ciders. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase charcuterie directly at the event.
A $60 general admission ticket entitles guests to explore unlimited tasting and sampling of all food and beverages.
Additionally, there will be $100 VIP tickets sold, which will allow access to a special hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. enabling VIP guests to enjoy early access to the entire festival.
A recent trip to Italy renewed my interest in, and appreciation for, all things “sliced meaty.” I thought I’d seize the opportunity, capitalize on my rekindled passion for this delicious shit, and dive a fuckload deeper into the various types of salumi with a detailed-as-balls educational post for you assholes.
Check it out you savages. This was an actual street name in Trastevere, Rome:
In case you’re a complete dunce, that means “Street of Salumi.” I like to call it Meat Street, if you will, which is where I’m about to take your ass right now.
So just what exactly is salumi? Generally, it’s any food product made from pig meat (usually), especially cured meats, such as salami. That’s not super explicit, and some salumi even involve beef, but essentially we’re talking Italian pork-based “cold cuts” here.
One thing we all love is prosciutto. Prosciutto is a TRUE salume (singular of salumi), meaning it’s a whole cut of animal, usually a leg or shoulder. A leg gets hung to cure, and later it is sliced and eaten.
Then there are items that involve ground meat, like salami and salsicce (sausage). Salami are smoked, air dried or salted, and then left to age. Salsicce is either raw or cooked slightly, and is a kind of salame (singular of salami).
Okay so salumi, salami: is that like potayto, potahto? Nope. Salumi is more of an umbrella term. All salami are salumi, but not all salumi are salami. Get it? Of course you don’t, because it’s fucking confusing. You had to go back and read that twice, didn’t you? I did. Maybe a Venn Diagram will help illustrate the point better:
Okay so let’s ignore the umbrella salumi term, since it’s kind of useless for our purposes here. I’m going to give you some info about the two major types of Italian meats: true salumi and salami.
As mentioned earlier, these are cured meats that have been made from a whole cut of animal, usually a leg/thigh or shoulder.
Prosciutto is a dry-cured leg o’ pig, and is probably the most common salume. These legs actually hang in Italian salumeria shops like decorations. It’s amazing.
Prosciutto crudo is the uncooked version, while prosciutto cotto is the cooked version.
For crudos, you’ll often see differences in the aging time based on the regions in Italy from which the ham hails. For example, Prosciutto di Parma is usually aged about 10-12 months, while San Daniele is 15-18 months. Some regions will age their hams longer, like 24 months, to impart different flavors, increase sweetness levels, etc.
As for prosciutto cotto, think of it like a traditional cooked ham.
Speck is a type of prosciutto that’s smoked (as well as dry-salted and aged), so it has a stronger, more unique flavor.
This salume is usually lightly seasoned with garlic, herbs, spices and wine, but the execution differs by region. The meat is then salted, stuffed into a natural casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. The meat itself is whole muscle from the neck and shoulder areas, so it is a salume despite being stuffed into a casing.
Fun side note: You may have seen capocollo spelled coppa, capicollo, capicola or capicolla. It’s even referred to as “gaba-gool” by NY/NJ area Italians and the show The Sopranos (or in this case, MadTV):
This is Italian pork belly (bacon). It’s usually cured and sometimes spiced. They slice it thin and eat it like cold cuts over in Italy. While technically not the same, you will often see pancetta swapped out with guanciale (pork cheek) or lardo (pure fat) in many Italian dishes that traditionally call for pancetta.
Bresaola is a cured, lean cut of beef, often times filet mignon.
You can see it here in my wife’s video from a salumi shop in Rome called La Prosciutteria, which I refer to as fucking heaven. There are a few selections of bresaola across the top right, immediately as the video begins:
While this may not necessarily be a salume, it is very often found in Salumeria shops throughout Italy. With that said, and the fact that this shit is delicious as fuck, I figured I’d mention it here.
Porchetta is a savory, fatty, and moist “pork roll.” It’s essentially a boneless pork roast whereby the pig is gutted, de-boned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, then rolled, wrapped in skin, and spit-roasted over a flame. Stuffing usually includes rosemary, fennel, garlic and other herbs, and porchetta is usually heavily salted.
It is typically served hot, cut thick, and eaten like a main course dish with a fork and knife. However it’s also common to see it sliced thinly after cooling. It’s then put into sandwiches or served on wooden meat board platters like the other salumi discussed above.
Okay, so a recap: Salami are ground meat, encased products that are smoked, air dried or salted, and then left to age.
If you’ve ever eaten an Italian hero, you’ve eaten some of these meats. Ingredients and parts can vary. In some cases you may even see non-pig versions, like venison or elk. In Venice, I even saw horse salami:
Salami varies greatly by region. In some areas of Italy, the meat is finely ground with tiny flecks of fat visible.
Other regions use a more coarse grind, use larger chunks of fat, or add spices and herbs.
My favorite varieties are the ones in which truffles are added.
The pepperoncino pepper is a mildly spicy variety of chili pepper. That pepper is what makes a salame “piccante” (spicy), as it is mixed up into the grind when making salami piccante. In the US, salami piccante is typically called “pepperoni.” However, in Italian, the word “pepperoni” actually means “bell peppers.”
Soppressata also varies by region and exists in different sizes and shapes, but the spice level and red coloring are both universal traits. It is almost always more coarsely ground than salami.
All that said, one can still find varieties of soppressata that aren’t quite as “hot.” While these pictures show a thinner chub, the most common forms I have seen were thicker, like three or four inches in diameter (like a giant’s penis).
This delicious shit generally comes from southern Italy. It’s an aged, spicy, spreadable salami “paste” that’s made from various parts of a pig. The spice levels are pretty hot in this product, and since it’s so soft, it is often spread onto bread like butter, or thrown into tomato-based sauces to kick them up a little bit.
This might be my favorite of the lot, and that’s a bonus for me, because it is usually the cheapest to buy in stores. The meat itself is similar to bologna in texture (in fact it IS bologna, since it hails from the town of Bologna). It’s extra finely ground (almost like it was processed by machine) heat-cured pork, which incorporates small cubes of pork lard.
I think mortadella is more smooth and soft than standard bologna here in the US, and it has a real porky flavor. Sometimes truffles, pistachios, olives and garlic are added for flavoring as well. Those are the best kinds. Also, lots of times these meats are formed into HUGE logs that are upwards of a foot in diameter.
Sausage party! The main difference here is mainly that, most times, salsicce is raw, uncured, or un-aged and needs to be cooked prior to eating. But some sausages are smoked and, thus, can be eaten as-is (like a hot dog or kielbasa).
So that about covers most of the common types of salumi you’ll see out there. I hope this information was helpful. If it wasn’t, then I should add that I don’t really give a fuck. Either way, go forth and eat this delicious meat. It will make you happy.
At $5 a chub this is probably one of the best deals you can find for any sort of truffle salami on the market.
While this isn’t a dry or hard type of product (typically aged and very robust in flavor), it still delivers a huge wallop of intensity.
Again, I reiterate… FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. These things fly off the shelves at Trader Joe’s. Last October (2015) they were already sold out for the year. Since then I have been constantly checking back and calling to see when they’d be back on the shelf. I’m glad I capitalized on the opportunity when I saw them and picked up four chubs. That should last a few weeks.
I recommend you try these. I’ll be using one for a nice homemade pizza in the near future, but these babies are great just sliced thin and on their own.
Once again Trader Joe’s comes through with a big bargain win.
Whole Foods sells a reasonably priced black truffle salami at their cheese counter. The brand name is Vincenza. It’s not a bad item, and at about $6 for a chub, it comes in much cheaper than some of the high end truffle salami guys I’ve come across.
The flavor has a bit more of a spicy kick than other truffle salami brands I’ve tasted, but it still has a decent earthy, funky truffle essence. It’s not just truffle oil for the flavoring either – I can see the little black bits of truffle in the mix (it is also listed in the ingredients). That’s a good sign.
While it’s not my favorite truffle salami, it’s definitely good for when I’m looking to save a few bucks. And it’s seemingly always available in abundant quantities at the cheese counter.
It turns out this company makes some other decent salamis as well. I tried two more the following week and liked them both, though neither had the same earthy character as the truffle salami.
Venice style – similar to the truffle salami about, but without the truffle notes.
Cacciatorini style – slightly more garlicky and sweet.
My wife’s cousin, who is a chef in the DC area, gave her a “salami of the month” club subscription. Our first selection was this Boccalone brown sugar and fennel salami:
As you can tell by the white mold that envelopes the meat, this is a dry, aged salami.
The flavor is rich and intense, but not overpowering. It has sweetness and vibrance, but retains a solidly savory profile. I almost expected something like a breakfast sausage when I first read the flavor description, but this is a perfect meat snack for any time of day. Excellent selection!
This round of tubed meat comes from Trader Joe’s again – this time a Chianti salami.
This “wet” salami has a lightly sweet flavor due to the wine infusion, but comes heavy with garlic and fattiness.
This stuff melts in your mouth when sliced thin and peeled off the outer skin casing. I am actually considering frying some up with broccolini, asparagus or brussels sprouts. It would even make a nice gourmet pizza topping as well. But it is a solid standalone snack cold from the fridge as well.
I just posted another salami review where I noted that Trader Joe’s always hits the mark, it seems, in providing high quality for low cost. This Columbus brand “Salame Secchi” is no exception:
This was mild and lean, hard and dry.
It sliced easy and had a great, slightly sweet flavor to it.
I initially went to Trader Joe’s to try their truffle salami, but they were all out. I picked this up, along with the Volpi sopressata, just because I was craving hard meat (commence gay and/or dick jokes).
I was definitely happy with the purchase. This style ran me $8 for 9oz. That’s not bad at all.