Sopressata is one of the most popular cured meats. It is made in many regions throughout Italy, each region boasting its own distinct flavor of sopressata. If you’re a sopressata lover and are up for a new challenge, try making some at home! Homemade sopressata is fresher, tastier, and it has intense natural flavors. You also avoid any artificial seasonings or unhealthy additives. Making sopressata at home means that you can experiment with each batch and edit your recipe until you find your perfect signature sopressata.
What is Sopressata?
Sopressata is an Italian dry sausage, the most famous of which comes from the Veneto region in Italy. It differs from salami in that the meat is not as finely ground. This gives sopressata a less uniform appearance.
There are numerous seasonings that can be used in sopressata, so there are hundreds of recipe variations. Here we share a simple recipe for how to make sopressata at home, which you can adapt as you master the process over time.
A good meat grinder is the first key requirement. It is important that the meat stays cold while you grind it, so the faster the meat grinder operates, the better. You should chill the grinder in the freezer for 20-30 minutes prior to grinding the meat. Good commercial meat grinders, while expensive, make a huge difference in the sopressata making process. They are powerful and grind cleanly, rather than smearing the fat which will ruin the sopressata.
The next tool you will need is a sausage stuffer. Manual stuffers are the best and cheapest option for making small amounts of homemade sausage such as sopressata.
Next, you need a fermentation chamber. Fermentation should last 12 hours in 85F temperature and 90-95% humidity. A large water cooler works well as a homemade fermentation chamber. Hang the sopressata inside and cover the top with plastic wrap with only a small area open for circulation. Add a container filled with hot water or include a heat pad to increase the temperature inside the chamber. Measure the air inside the cooler using a portable temperature and humidity meter and adjust as needed. You will want to look out for dangerous molds while the meat is curing. Any bad growth is usually a sign of incorrect conditions.
Finally, you need a meat curing chamber. It must be equipped with a temperature and humidity controller so that the meat can cure for weeks without constant tinkering with the settings.
- 1 lb pork back fat
- 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 1 tsp Bactoferm F-RM-52 starter culture
- ¼ cup distilled water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 1 tsp Insta Cure #2
- ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup Pinot Bianco
- 14 inches hog middle casings soaked in tepid water for at least 30 min and rinsed
- Sterile needle or pin
- While the fat is very cold, grind it through the 6mm die into a bowl set in ice. Chill while you grind the meat through the 12mm die. Combine the meat and fat in a large bowl and refrigerate while you set up step 2.
- Dissolve the Bactoferm culture into the distilled water and add it, with the remaining ingredients to the meat. Mix by hand until the seasonings are thoroughly distributed.
- Stuff sausage meat into casings. Tie ends of the hog middle. Using a sterile needle or pin, prick the casings all over to remove air pockets.
- Weigh the sausages and record the weight. Hang the sausages in the fermentation chamber for 12 hours.
- Hang the sausages in the curing chamber (60F with 60-70% humidity) until completely dry or it’s lost 30% of its weight. Usually 3-4 weeks.
Curing meats at home can be a fun, creative activity. Sopressata is a great first meat to try, as there are so many possible variations. Practice makes perfect and with little tweaks here and there you can develop your own unique recipe to share with friends!