Friday, October 16, 2009

N'duja neurosis

Yep, time to give N'duja another go. Again, I went pretty straightforward. I had enough trouble last time with plain old meat and fat, never mind throwing in offal. Well, Larbo beat me to the punch this time, using ingredients I planned on using. (Please someone tell me how to make those nice little links, instead of these bush league links I keep posting.)
So, I ground up some pork shoulder along with some backfat through the course die. Then back through the fine die. One thing I have to mention, and I have to give credit where credit is due. I saw Chris Cosentino on "Chefs vs. City," making fresh sausage. He advocated the use of thin "strips" of the raw meat, as it will sort of thread through the grinder. I figured if a guy who pays his rent with salame does it that way, I have to at least give it a shot. I'll be god damned, worked wonderfully. For the strips that weren't overly frozen, I didn't even need the plunger. Once they grabbed in the grinder, they got dragged right through.............perfect.
1658 grams pork shoulder
414 grams backfat
62 grams kosher salt(3%)
5.2 grams cure #2(.25%)
4 grams dextrose
310 grams hot pepper paste
207 grams Calabrian dried hot chili powder
Not one to leave well enough alone, I had to do something different than Larbo, otherwise it would have been the exact same salame. I went above and beyond his big chili numbers. The 25% number is good benchmark for N'duja from what I've read. I went with 15% of the Calabrian hot pepper paste and 10% of the Calabrian dried chili powder. While measuring out the powder, I really did think it was overkill, but, whatever, that was my first instinct, so, 10% it was. I mixed it in the mixing bowl of the kitchen aid, it was little full, so some got spit out. A little aside regarding the paste, that shit stains, and stains, counter tops, utensils, etc. I took out a little piece to saute up. No sooner did that thing hit the pan and I was coughing my ass off. I was a little apprehensive to taste it. But, my fears were allayed when I bit into it. Don't get me wrong, it's friggin hot, but delicious. I'll take better pictures once it's been fermented, which I'm thinking on the order of 3 days.


  1. Way to turn up the heat, Scott! It's been a couple weeks since I fermented my last batch of nduja. Can't wait to cut into it and see if a little more hot pepper is what's called for.

  2. Great site! Two questions... Did you use beef middles or x-large hog casing? (They look natural and not collagen from the pix) Only asking as I JUST can't get past that smell of the Beef middles!

    Secondly, do you have a good source for the Calabrian chile powder?

    Thank you


  3. Used beef middles for the first time. They had no noticeable aroma. They are not quite as durable as collagen, as I found out the hard way, breaking the casing several times. As far as a source for the powder, I use a little Italian importer in Brooklyn, as was discussed in a blog post you can find here:

  4. Scott, how's this batch of 'nduja doing? Am curious to know how long (if at all) you're hanging it?

  5. It's been hanging for 9 days. Seems to be stiffening up some, yet still feels soft enough to spread. I have a small, extra piece I may pull and try at 2 weeks. I initially wated to smoke it, but, I think I'll just hang this for awhile. Still not sure how long.