Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Round 2 'Nduja update.

So after the four days of fermentation in my chamber (oven) it was time to get some smoke onto these 32 'nduja monsters. The pH had dropped below 5.0 in the first 24 hours after stuffing and fermentation began, and was down to 4.6 in less than 48 hours so I felt good about food safety. I did a week straight of daily smoking with hickory wood. Because I don't have a cold smoker I simply waited for the full blast of smoke from my propane smoker to hit and threw these guys in and killed the gas, in two rounds, for 15-20 minutes a day. Everyday before I smoked them I cooled them down in my fridge for an hour beforehand and returned them for another hour to cool back down slightly. Each day our apartment smelled like the best smoky Slim-Jims you've never eaten. This was great for me, Rebecca wasn't so excited! After the week and a half of fermentation and smoking it was time to see their new home, my recently built drying rack at Emily and Henning's.

At the point they had arrived at the room, they had already lost 15% of their weight. The room has stayed pretty much at 67˚ the whole time as our testing showed us beforehand. I have set the humidifier at 67% humidity and the sausage continued to lose weight a bit more quickly than expected. Only a couple smaller white mold spots have formed. We have redirected the humidifier spray to see if this helps.

In the week and a half since they've been in the room they've lost more weight, just about hitting my desired 30% total. I had originally shot for 30% but I have decided to let these ride to 35%. They have a great give when they're squeezed and are still spreadable so I'd like to let the flavor continue to develop. I have increased the humidity to 70% so they don't lose more weight than desired. I will have to keep an eye on this though as I don't want more mold to start on this normally mold-free delicacy. Also, at this point they have some company in the room from some other wedding day charcuterie. Less than two weeks for the final verdict for the wedding round!


  1. Look great, Darren. With regards to N'duja and the weight loss subject, I'm not sure it's all that important. As long as it stays spreadable. In Calabria, it's hung for about 6 months. Mine's been hanging for almost 3 months, I've never weighed it. I just give it a squeeze from time to time.

  2. So I gave in last night and tasted the runt piece from this batch. And I have to say, HOLY CRAP it is good. The piece I tasted is the small guy I made with one end open for regular checking of the pH levels. Because of this it is slightly drier than the rest, but still spreadable. And the heat, well let's just say I'll be needing to warn people about it before they take too big of a bite.

    I am so pleased at this point. There is no graininess like in the last batch either. I would like more smoke on it, but it is definitely not a detriment! It just supports my desire to order a smoking pistol for all my future cold smoking. Much easier! Yay, this is going to rock some people in two weeks!

    One nice aspect of this is being able to compare how it feels when squeezed and how it spreads. It feels as if it is slightly more spreadable than it actually is, which is very good to know for reference in future squeeze tests!