The way of all flesh…making salami at home

7 June 2022

We’re tireless advocates for the epicurean highlights of our fabulous Central Victorian region. And what better time than winter to think about curing salumi?

Our cured meat wranglers, Janice Simpson, Des Boucher and John Carruthers have rolled up their sleeves up to bring you some genuine salumi magic from a vine-laden Maryborough backyard to the subterranean levels of the Talbot Pub (thanks Rhiny!) to show you how.

The cellar is reached by a steel ladder after the grate in the footpath is removed, is a constant 12 degrees regardless of the season.

This makes it the perfect place to hang freshly made salami and pancetta. We begin the process by assembling the team in the backyard, sterilising everything and breaking down quality pork sourced from female pigs and lots of extra pork fat that is minced together.

Next comes the herbs and spices and a bottle of good red wine. Gently we press the mixture through a sausage maker, feeding it into natural casings and white netting. Each salami is weighed and labelled. It is important that we know when it has lost about 30% of its original weight, which depending on hanging conditions, can be after 4-8 weeks. This moisture loss is a good sign that it is ready to eat.

This traditional autumn-through-winter activity is best done communally and with friends. It is creative and engaging, and results in a flavoursome goodness.

Salami Calabrese

2kg pork shoulder (minced)
250g pork back fat
60g sea salt
7g curing salt (also called floss)
4g cracked black pepper
1g chilli flakes
1g cinnamon
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tbsps water
10g live starter culture
3 metres of casings and the same amount of netting

Mince pork and fat and mix through all spice ingredients and wine by hand. Dissolve live starter culture in water and add. Mix through with other ingredients until mixture is sticky. Pipe through sausage machine into casings. Tie off, weigh and label. Spray with mould culture if desired (this prevents “bad” bacteria by coating the outside of the sausage with “good” bacteria. Hang until the salumi in a cross-ventilated space with controlled temperature (e.g. a cellar) until it has lost about 30% of its weight

From “The Craft of Italian Dry Curing Salumi”, Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn, Norton & Co, NY, 2012

In terms of further reading, we also recommend:

“A Charcuterie Diary”, P.J. Booth via

“Secrets in Salami: Revealing a Delicious Italian Tradition”, Sara Grazia, via

Source for equipment, casings and cultures can be found online at specialist retailers such as or locally at Wendouree Wholesalers, 28 Laidlaw Drive, Delacombe (Ballarat)