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Wild Boar Salami California

This is a special salami I developed to celebrate a set of ingredients that all came from within 50 miles of each other: A wild boar I shot at the Native Hunt ranch in Monterey County, some California white sage I found there, and some California bay laurel my neighbor brought me from Santa Cruz. And I also use wild fennel pollen from a company that harvests it along the Coastal Range.

If you can’t find these ingredients (likely, in the case of the white sage), use traditional sage and bay leaves. You can of course do this with domestic pork, too.

I also use a hard-to-find sweet wine called Angelica in this recipe; it is the original wine the Spanish friars made when they settled in California, and records show it was made as early as the late 1700s here. The Angelica I used is a Heitz Cellars 1974: Pretty heady stuff, but you only need a 1/4 cup. If you cannot find Angelica, use a white Port.

Other than the ingredients, the other different thing I am doing here is hand-cutting all the fat into dice 1/4 inch or smaller. I like the look of hand-cut fat, even though it is a pain in the ass to cut. Cutting frozen fat is a bit easier, FYI.

You need a meat grinder and a stand mixer to do this. I use a Kitchenaid. You also need a sausage stuffer; get one that can handle 5 pounds at a time; I bought mine through a local restaurant supply store.

Wild Boar Salami

You will notice a lot of odd ingredients in the list, like “starter culture.” If you are not familiar with making dry-cured salumi, buy a book like Marianski’s The Art of Making Fermented Sausages, Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie or Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Handand read up first. All these special ingredients (culture, dextrose, Instacure, casings) can be bought online at Butcher & Packer.

Makes about 3 1/2 pounds of salami.

Prep Time: 45 days

  • 4 pounds wild boar or pork, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound pork back fat
  • 45 grams Kosher salt
  • 6 grams Instacure No. 2
  • 2 teaspoons Bactoferm T-SPX starter culture
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 2o grams dextrose or sugar
  • 45 grams dry milk powder (helps salami retain moisture)
  • 1/4 cup Angelica or white Port
  • 10 grams cracked black pepper
  • 2 grams fennel seeds
  • 5 crushed, dried California bay laurel leaves
  • 2 grams crushed, dried California white sage leaves
  • 15 grams fresh minced garlic
  • 3 grams wild fennel pollen(optional)
  • Beef casings, about 8 feet worth

  1. Cut the pork fat into small dice, no larger than 1/4 inch. Set in the freezer.
  2. Refrigerate the Angelica. Mix the the Instacure and regular salt together well. Cut the meat into chunks that will fit into your grinder and combine well with the two salts. Put in a covered container and let this rest overnight.
  3. The next day, soak the casings, which will be salted, in tepid water.
  4. Mix 1/2 the black pepper, then the sage, bay leaves, fennel pollen and garlic together. Add to it the dry milk and dextrose. Mix this with the meat chunks and grind through your coarse die; I use a 7 mm grinder plate here, but 6.5 mm is fine, too. Check the temperature of the meat, and if it is warmer than about 35°F, put it in the freezer to chill down. If you need to do this, chill your grinder attachment, too.
  5. Meanwhile, gently stir the Bactoferm T-SPX into the distilled water. Let this set at room temperature at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes.
  6. When you are ready, grind 2/3 of the meat through the fine die into a cold bowl. Add to it the fat, the rest of the meat, the fennel seeds, the other half of the black pepper, the chilled Angelica and the starter culture. Mix with your (very clean) hands for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. You want the mixture to cohere to itself, forming a paste. You know your mix is cold enough if your hands ache from the cold. Alternatively, you can mix the sausage on a Kitchenaid’s lowest level for 2 minutes.
  7. Rinse your casings out and thread them on the stuffer. Pack the sausage mixture into the stuffer and stuff your casings. I prefer salami about 10 inches long or so. The longer they are the harder it is to tie them without commercial sausage netting (also available through Butcher & Packer), and leave at least 2 inches of casing on either side as a “tail.” You will find that beef casings are too wide for a normal stuffing tube, so regulate it with your hand, letting out more casing only when the section being filled is full.
  8. Get some clean kitchen string and tie off your casings. I use a butterfly knot, which entails cutting your casing vertically, then making a series of knots both around the casing itself and then the strips you’ve just cut. Bertolli has the best description of it in Cooking by Hand. If you keep your salami shorter than 10 inches or so, you can go with regular knots. I also use commercial salami netting, which helps with compression and pushes air bubbles to the surface. Slip it on in stages, with a jerking motion. Do this a little at a time, so you do not damage the salami.
  9. Once they are netted and tied, hang in a warm, humid spot for 36 to 48 hours. When I mean warm and humid, I mean 70-85°F and as close to 90 percent humidity as you can get. I hang my salami on a clothes-drying rack and then tent it over with heavy plastic sheeting. I stick a humidifier underneath — and then I still mist the salami with water twice a day.
  10. After the salami have cured, move them to a cooler place to age. My curing box is an old fridge with a regulator set at 55°F. I have a desktop humidifier in there that keeps the air at about 70-75 percent humidity. Hang the salami a month to 6 weeks before slicing to check. They can hang for a long time in that environment, so better to err on the longer side. To store, vacuum seal and freeze, or just leave in the curing box.

More Wild Boar or Pork Recipes
More Salami Recipes

15 responses to “Wild Boar Salami California”

  1. Home cured salami | Wrightfood

    […] next decision was really what recipe to follow. Hank Shaw has a great looking salami recipe which he developed on his blog. Talking to Hank, he suggested it as a great recipe to make, especially for it being our first ever […]

  2. Joe Posa

    Hank, My firewood is cut stacked and dry. 25 Gal wine started and racked in the wine cellar/Salami room you inspired me to create… Last night my son and I made 15 lbs of the wild boar salami, 20 lbs of the Italian type you listed (my wifes uncle has already shown me how to made that one) and 6 Lonzino in the fridge… All looks and smells like heaven. I’ll let you know how it goes by christmas.. Regards, Joe

  3. Tom Osborne

    Hank, I notice in all your dry cured salami recipes you call for 2 tablespoons of Bactoferm T-SPX for 5 lbs of meat. I’ve always heard 1/4 tsp. to 5 lbs and that is what I have been using successfully. I’m wondering if you have secret to using this much culture I’m not privy to? Any info would be appreciated.

  4. Legnicki

    Hi Hank,

    You state that the dried milk powder is used to help the salami retain moisture. But are we not trying to lower the aw in the salami and therefore lose moisture?

  5. Diana

    Curing meats has been on my to do list for a while. What type of humidifier are you using for the first stage? Is this the same/similar to the kind used in the house to moisten the air? Can one use that type?

    I’m getting ready to move into a much smaller space (with a lot more land), so I prefer not to have too many single duty gadgets.

    Do you happen to have a good source for info on converting a fridge to a curing fridge? I’m thinking that I need to pick those up before I move, since likely most people where I’m going will be using them until they give up the ghost. 😉

  6. Nick

    Here you go. I did this and it works great!

  7. Nick
  8. Matin

    Hi Hank,
    A hunter friend of mine just brought me some fresh wild boar meat. I want to try making your salami with it. It is my first time doing this. I bought all the ingredients you have mentioned, but I am not sure if I need to do anything to the meat before going ahead with the salami-making process. Someone told me that wild boar meat needs to be frozen to kill its worms.

  9. Brian


    Looks like a great recipe, I can’t wait to try it out. I wanted to know what sizes casing and netting did you use for your salami? I noticed you linked Butcher & Packer.

  10. Brian

    Thanks, Hank. ‘Just looking at your photos has me hungry. I will also forage the wild fennel pollen and seeds, bay laurel and white sage from my local mountains. What a great touch to add to my Paso Robles boar!

  11. Brian

    Hey, Hank…

    Your wild boar salami recipe turned out great! I foraged all the herbs/spices myself from the local woods and chaparral, and harvested the boar up in Paso Robles. I pulled one of the salamis that I made for myself (the others are for Christmas gifts) and it was near perfect at 4 weeks. I think if it was a little harder it would be perfect, so I thought maybe I’d go another 2 weeks in the drying incubator. For that matter, if it seems really fine right now (60-65% of its original weight) do you see any harm in letting it stay in the drying incubator at 55%, 70% humidity until I give it out at Christmas time?

    Thanks for your help!

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