Wondering how to dry cure meats or what this even is? Dry curing is a traditional method of food preservation. If a meat has been dry-cured, it means that the water is reduced until pathogenic bacteria are no longer able to survive. In Italy, the term for salted and dry-cured meats is “Salumi.” It comes from a food tradition hundreds of years old, born out of necessity, and continued today for its unparalleled flavor. Whole muscles can be dry cured (leading to such delicacies as prosciutto or pancetta), meat can be ground and cured (salami), and even pure fat can be cured (lardo).
Salami are unique in that they are fermented in addition to being cured. Fermentation is a process in which sugars or starches are converted into acid, alcohol, or carbon dioxide. Beneficial bacteria, particularly lactic acid bacteria, are responsible for the fermentation process. This leads to a distinctive sour and tangy flavor, as well as certain health benefits.
Dry-cured meats can take days or months (even years!) to make. It is worth the extra effort and care initially to make sure that the time you spend drying these meats will not be in vain. Read all instructions, and take care to properly handle your ingredients. With care and time and knowledge, you can create a masterpiece. If executed properly, there is no other flavor that can compare.