Amazon is always ahead, damn them! They’d been advertising an August 27 release date for my new book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing, but suddenly I’m getting twitpics from people who have ordered and already received their copy!

The video isn’t ready, but you folks clearly are, so here it is, Brian Polcyn’s and my Salumi, the follow-up to our previous love song to animal fat and salt. The new book focuses on dry-curing meat, both whole muscles, such as coppa and pancetta, and ground meat, such as salami.

Charcuterie encompassed a broad range of preserved foods, including pâtés and confits. With a couple of exceptions (mortadella, the sopressata of Tuscany, which is the Italian version of french fromage de tête), salumi refers to salted, dried meats that are, when done well, with well-fed, well-raised pigs, some of the best foods on the planet. I would argue the healthiest, too, though American nutritionists would be all over me for that (let’s define “healthy” first, can we?).

I think Brian is most proud of how we’ve defined and illustrated breaking down the hog, both in the American style, but more importantly in the Italian fashion, which is designed both to follow the natural seams of the animal, requiring only one saw cut, but also to take advantage of the best salumi cuts. In America, we slice right through the coppa, for instance, the long neck and back muscle that segues into the loin. In Salumi, we show how to capture the entire coppa, which is one of the easiest and tastiest cuts to dry-cure, with its perfect interior marbling.

Brian removing the shoulder blade of a Berkshire hog for spalla, dry-cured shoulder./Photo by Michael’s iPhone as we taped the promo video.

For me the pleasure in writing it was the revelation of how simple salumi actually is. Walk into a salumeria and you might be overwhelmed by the variety and seeming complexity of its offerings. But in fact the entire craft of salumi can be broken down into eight basic categories, and that’s how we organized the book, first describing butchery, dry-curing basics, the fundamental techniques, the eight basic categories of salumi, variations on those categories (more than 100 recipes), then how to put salumi to use, whether you make your own or purchase it from the burgeoning salumerias around the country (see below).

As with so many ancient culinary traditions that America learned only recently (great cheese, wine, beer, charcuterie), chefs and home cooks have already embraced the Italian traditions of salumi with passion.

It makes us proud. It also is yet another example of why there’s never been a better time in America to be a cook.

He’s wearing shoes and I’m not. He also just drove 3 hours from Detroit, arriving at 9 am and out of breath. He is about to break down that hog in about 6 and a half minutes./Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Other links you may like:

© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

 

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50 Wonderful responses to “Salumi, It’s Here!”

  • Andrew Burke

    Congratulations! I am looking forward to receiving my copy… Your ‘Charcuterie’ book opened up and presented so many new things to me, thank you.

  • KristineB

    I want to eat that cover. I’m going to assume that’s Donna’s photo. Beautiful and congrats.

  • E. Nassar

    I should get mine today and I could no be more excited. Using my wine fridge for making Salumi has been working very good (I just made a great Bresaola and cured/dried it in there). Looking forward to the butchery section most of all, especially how to properly recover the copa.

    BTW, Sopressata is really head cheese?? Isn’t it just another type of salami? Maybe I am missing something….

    • Michael Ruhlman

      in Tuscany, it’s headcheese, elsewhere it’s salami. nutty Italians!

  • Rob P.

    Another quality salumeria is Il Mondo Vecchio in Denver. [ ilmondovecchiosalumi.com ] Owner Mark DeNittis teaches several classes around town, and is an enthusiastic ambassador for the craft of sausage-making.

  • Joe Massie

    I am a sausage snob. I learned from my Father in law who is eastern european. I loved “Charcuterie”. I will be purchasing this book as soon as I can. I live in CT. Do you have any recommendation in CT or NYC for some good artisan cured meat?

    • Michael Ruhlman

      as best as we can, every situation is different. and there are no small home versions available. we don’t have instructions on how to build your own.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      again, no, but for tinkerers who like to do that it’s googlable.

  • kate hill

    Sometimes the world just can’t wait. Looking forward to adding this to our kitchen staircase, M. best from Gascony

  • Candice

    Michael, that date is actually set by your publisher. It’s always hard to guess when a book will be in stock, though. Congratulations on publishing!

  • Bob Oppedisano

    Auguri! But please let’s not assume that these new US salumi makers have invented a tradition–they celebrate one created by the many independent salumerie that dotted the Italian neighborhoods of New York, Philadelphia, and other cities–and still do, like the Calabria Pork Store in the Bronx, Bari in Brooklyn, and Salumeria Biellese in Manhattan. These folks were (and are) rightly “artisans” even if they, nor anyone else, ever called themselves that.

  • Chad

    Congratulations. Received mine today – two days before expected – have a wine fridge designated for this very purpose and can’t wait.

  • Marina@Picnic at Marina

    I like your note: “let’s define “healthy” first”. It’s about time!
    I think I am becoming a Michael Ruhlman’s books collector. Waiting eagerly to receive this one… Thanks, Michael and Brian!

  • Allen

    I love a hardcover cookbook, but they get so abused in my kitchen, at least the good ones; like Charcuterie. I’m debating on getting the Kindle version, no food stains or wrinkled pages, easy to access anywhere, but to have them side by side on the shelf seems like the way to go. And I’m a sentimental fool by nature. Need a cocktail post so I can think about it properly.

  • Victoria

    I am out of town, but I can see that my copy has been delivered to NYC. Can’t wait to read it. Both my grandfathers were butchers; my grandfather in England was a pork butcher (he made the pork pie you like so much).

  • Stott Noble

    My wife pre-ordered it for my birthday. It’s hidden somewhere in the the house but i don’t get it until 9/6. It’s killing me!

  • Peter Chenaux

    Just got the book today, and it looks great. Really happy to see a recipe for Nduja. One place you didn’t mention is The Fatted Calf in SF and Napa (www.fattedcalf.com). Great selection of salumi and other charcuterie made with heritage pork in house.

  • Sean Maki

    Received my copy on the 16th as well. Can’t wait to dive in. Bringing a large black to butcher on Wednesday and will be starting a guanciale this weekend. Can’t wait!

  • Rick

    I am definitely buying this book. I don’t know if it has been mentioned but you must include in your listing of salumerias Salume Beddu in St. Louis. I am on a temporary work assignment here and have been enjoying their local product. They supply many restaurants in the area and have been on several of the national cooking shows. See their product at salumebeddu.com.

  • Adriana

    Just got my copy. Outstanding. Brilliant sequel of Charcuterie. Have been supplying a restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil, with salumi cured and aged thanks to your guidelines (and Bob del Grosso’s advice through email…) since last year. Great work, many thanks.

  • Tim

    I add my Congrats – unfortunately I have to wait for Christmas to read it, since the kids saw this and said “We know what to get Dad”.

    Is the Italian butchering similar to Austrian seam butchery?

  • Frank

    Chef,
    Already have some lonza curing in the wine fridge., thanks!…just thinking..any advantage to vacuum sealing after a dry cure is applied? Maybe eliminate weighting and or overhauling?

  • Ben Moscia

    After my first look-through, the book is amazing. I loved the message in the forward. You are great at summarizing our food philosophy.

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