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HOMEMADE BEEF COTTO SALAMI – COOKED AND READY TO EAT So the latest sausage foray was “beef cotto salami”. Had not done this previously and it was a last minute decision while looking at the boneless chuck roast at Costco. Consequently, as you will see some innovative inventiveness was required as the sausage process progressed. Cotto salami means “cooked salami” and is not a smoke flavored product. It is cooked in a water bath. http:// http:// The Recipe First up - a recipe. Turned to one of my favorite books – "The Sausage and Jerky Makers Bible" by Eldon Cutlip. If you are into sausage put this book in your library. Its educational, instructive and has good tested recipes over a wide range of styles and type of sausages. Bingo! Cotto Salami recipe on page 224 is just what I need for a starting point. Since we like garlic add more, etc, etc. What else? Humm “stuff in high barrier sausage casing”. Poach sausage to 152 degrees internal in 170 degrees water. Done that been there on the poaching part! Let’s see here, it’s a pretty simple recipe just need a few items to add to the meat – aha, got them all in the sausage supply pantry. Oops there son, no "high barrier casing". Well, never mind we will figure out something. Beef Chuck Roast 5.83 lbs 2644.4 grams % Pickling Salt (Morton) 9.00 tsp 56.8 grams 2.15% Cardamon 1.63 tsp 3.4 grams 0.12% Ground Coriander 1.12 tsp 2.0 grams 0.07% Garlic - Granulated 2.01 tsp 7.8 grams 0.21% Cracked Black Pepper 5.25 tsp 17.5 grams 0.66% Whole Black peppercorns 5.25 tsp 19.5 grams 0.74% Corn Syrup Solids 0.32 cup 56.0 grams 2.40% Non Fat Dry Milk 1.17 cup 110.3 grams 4.17% Prague Powder #1 (pink salt) 1.17 tsp 6.6 grams 0.25% Cold Water 1.25 cup Meat is single ground on 6 mm (1/4 in) plate, ingredients well mixed together and now time to stuff… Stuff WHAT? And we need something to withstand poaching temperatures, be waterproof, be food safe in hot water, and be able to monitor the internal temperature also…. Well here is where it gets interesting. I use poaching with some of my homemade sausage quite often after bringing in from the smoker when the sausage is most already cooked and set up hence a primary reason I bought an Anova Sous Vide circulation machine was to assist in the unattended poaching temperature control as the bath needs to not exceed 170 degrees to avoid fat melt in the meat mix. So let’s see how to poach sausage with no waterproof and air tight casing available and still get a representative product. But I digress, -- after the sausage is seasoned and mixed, kt is stuffed. Then is is put to a 24 hour refrigerator rest to allow the Pink Salt and its sodium nitrite to work the magic in the meat mix as well as for the flavors to mature through the meat. We portioned the sausage batter into 1 pound lot in our chosen casing substitues. A Novel Casing & Stuffing Approach Oh, wait you ask what did we stuff it in? Son and I hit upon using Ball canning Jars. A pound of the meat mix fits nicely in a one pint wide mouth straight sided Ball jar. http:// Breaking new ground, we decided to spray the inside of the Mason jar with cooking spray as a release agent. We packed half the jars with the meat directly (son’s approach). On the others we put the meat on a piece of plastic wrap (dad’s approach) and then inserted and packed into the jar so that the plastic wrap acted as a sleeve or interior casing. I did this because I did not anticipate the shrinkage in the jars we experienced and wanted to make sure we could extract the sausage rolls. I said plastic wrap would be necessary - son said not needed – even though he also did not anticipate any shrinkage. He won this round. We both now think the cooking spray is not needed either. http:// http:// Pack the meat tightly to eliminate air voids. Seal up the jar and place in the poaching bath. Measure internal temperature on a jar (target is 152 degrees) by removing from the bath and opening to access the product. http:// Flip jars periodically to even out the interior cooking temperature profile due to varied heat transfer in the jars. http:// The bath temp was set at 155 and based on the diameter the sausage had to cook for 4 hours to get there. In a do over, since I was spot checking the internal temps I would have set the bath to 170 degrees to speed the cook. Do not exceed 170 as that will really cause fat melting in the meat. As noted, sausage did shrink back from the jar walls and did also have some liquid/fat that rendered out the sausage even cooking in a 155 degree bath. http:// Had one been using the recommended high barrier plastic casing that is air and liquid tight, it is designed to be stuffed tightly and elastically shrink with the sausage inside. And in the cooling/blooming stage the moisture would have remained in the meat. We cooled the jars in running water to drop the internal temp to below 110 degrees and let them set to bloom. Pour off any remaining liquid before refrigerating. Save the liquid. You can refrigerate and skim any fat. The remaining gelatinized broth is delicious. I removed the sausages from the jars at this point, wiped down with paper toweling and plastic wrapped/vacuum sealed. http:// http:// http:// Yes, we could have hand formed sausage logs into rolls and vacuumed sealed then poached, but I wanted a resulting Cotto Salami that was close to commercial look and feel with artisan taste. After Action Analysis -- The recipe is good. Still considering additional personal/family tweaks. In this smaller diameter salami versus a large 4 inch diameter as in the recipe, next time we will not use the whole peppercorns rather substituting an equivalent amount of cracked ones –or a mix of cracked and coarse ground black pepper. With the whole peppercorn in the smaller diameter slices it can get overpowering. A more thorough mixing to ensure peppercorn/cracked black pepper is important also. Be aware that the just cooled/bloomed sausage will not taste at all like it will after a nights rest in the fridge. So do not judge your result from the immediate gratification samples but wait until the next day for judging. BTW, the initial samples do go pretty quickly. The overnight fridge rest significantly equalizes salt and flavors throughout the sausage in this next step of maturing. In this case an almost too aromatic and salty initial flavor profile became much more subdued and mellower. The final texture also improved. The cooking method works using the jars. It’s quick and easy. Measuring internal temperature is simple. Periodically flip the jars over in the bath top to bottom to equalize the cooking. The collected liquids as well as the air space above the meat alters the heat flow profiles into the sausage by several degrees on the internal temperatures. The sausage texture is good on the interior. Some occasion air voids. The exterior is not the perfectly smooth result from the use of preferred casing which shrinks with the sausage but good enough to serve to company and not really an issue. Shrinkage means they come out the jar easily. Liquid that does not get reabsorbed means some flavor loss. There was less liquid exuded in the sausages in jar with the tight plastic wrap inner cocoon. I might do the plastic wrap cocoon again just for this reason. Bottom Line: If I had the correct casing - sure I would have used it. Would I do this jar method again? Yes. Would I do it for small batches or test batches requiring cooking to avoid getting out the stuffer – you bet. I am going to use this jar approach again just to refine the technique and to experiment. Why not? The End