The history of dry sausage

Author: Baron de Adrets [Link to the original article in French: http://racinescharnelles.blogspot.ca/2010/06/le-saucisson-sec.html]

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We have no idea if it comes from the Gallics or the Romans, but we think that the Romans and their legendary salting and terrine-making expertise actually played a big role here. And let’s be clear, they loved the Gallic-raised pork fed with acorns and other berries. Their delicious meat was sought-after in the entire empire. Now, we’ve been eating this salted pork delicacy for 2000 years, without knowing which latin word is behind the word we now use – salsare, salsiusculus, salsicius…?

Let the linguists fight over this issue and let’s find exactly what we’re looking for. A dry sausage is made from 75% lean pig meat and 25% fat. The filling is minced with a knife or roughly ground with a meat grinder, but rarely finely ground, except for specific kinds of sausages. It is then salted with 25g to 35g of salt per kilogram depending on the final size of the product (some add dextrose or wheat to this mix). Or course, we must always add ground pepper or entire peppercorns, herbs and spices depending on the specialty, the recipe or the creative mind of the sausage-maker. The filling must then rest, before being inoculated with micro-organisms and cased into pig intestines or cæcum. Sausages must dry during 1 to 3 months depending on its size, in a room kept at 14°C. It can also be lightly smoked.

The outer flora of a sausage helps it age and protects it. It covers the sausage and gives it a light fungus smell and a powdery appearance. It can be natural (inoculated) or be made of marble or charcoal dust. Some sausages are even dipped in wine lees. There are many dry sausage varieties ailing from different French regions… Each and every one of them has a different taste and shape profile. I could go on and name a few, but there are way too many and each and single one of them is worth talking about.

If you pass by a great sausage-maker or a small salting business, make sure you stop by and get a taste of the delicacies on offer. You’ll never go back to industrial sausages and will also support your local businesses.