All the Venison salami I ever tried was cooked and it always tasted the same. Garlicky, peppery. That's it. I was pretty keen to see what it would be like to make a raw cured variation. I couldn't find any recipes in that vein so I used the saucisson recipe from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. It's a very simple recipe only using garlic and black pepper for flavourings so I decided to do a couple of variations on this. The one I was really buzzed about was trying cocoa and chilli as a flavouring. Venison is often paired with chocolate or cocoa in stews so I figured it would be worth a crack. The other combo was more traditional, northern European style sweet spices like cloves, mace and cinnamon.
The cocoa variation had a much mellower flavour profile than I expected. It's chief characteristic was a sour flavour akin to that of a fermented salami like Nduja or Finocchiona . Underneath this was a deep gamey funk. The chilli came forward towards the end. The cocoa was not particularly noticeable other than it's bitter contribution to the fermented aspect.
The other flavouring was not as sour and much mellower. The light spice notes were there, but overall it had a less funky flavour than the cocoa variant. I guess it had a less gamey aspect as well. At present I dig this flavour a little more than the cocoa version but fear I may oscillate between the two.
Below is the base recipe then follows the two flavour variations
2 kg venison trim meticulously stripped of all sinew and connective tissue and diced
225g pork back fat, diced
40g sea salt
18g of minced garlic
Cocoa and chilli variation:
2 cups of port
1/2 cup of good quality cocoa powder like Vahlrona
3 tsp of dried chilli flakes
Combine in a saucepan and reduce to 300ml over a low heat.
Strain and cool.
Sweet spice variation:
2 cups of port
zest of 2 mandarins
1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
10 juniper berries, lightly crushed
combine in a saucepan over a low heat and reduce to 300ml.
Grind the Venison and then the pork fat through the fine die of a thoroughly chilled mincer.
In a large metal bowl or stockpot combine the ground meat and pork fat with the remaining ingredients from the base recipe and your choice of port infusion from the flavour variations and mix thoroughly and quickly by hand.
I stuffed my saucisson into 40mm casings which I must say were ideal. I wouldn't want to go bigger than this but smaller would be fine.
Load the thoroughly soaked and then rinsed casings onto your stuffer and then tie a knot in the end. Stuff the casing to the desired length for 1 salami, pinch off the portion and then pull off 10cm of extra casing. Cut the salami free and then tie off the end of the casing on the stuffer and repeat.
Once you've stuffed all the saucisson you'll need to tie a hanging loop into the long end. Make sure your string is thoroughly wound into the slippery wet casing or the salamis will slide right out of the knot. For a few photos of this process see the recipe for Nduja
Prick the saucisson all over with a sterilized pin or specialized salami pricker and hang up to dry your drying chamber.
Its a good idea to tag your saucisson with the date, variety and their weight.
During the drying process you'll need to monitor the mould growth and may need to give them a bit of a scrub to get rid of some nasties. All part of the fun!
My saucisson took 35 days to dry to my satisfaction. At the end of this time they had thorough covering of noble white mould. I was stoked!