Anyone that has seen some of the results of recent Summer of Charcuterie reviews, or pays any attention to the UK charcuterie scene, will be aware of Brighton’s lively and innovative gang of Curing Rebels.
The coming together of 3 creative chefs with a passion for high welfare, sustainable produce led to the formation of curing rebels in 2020, who have gone on to make inspired charcuterie (as well as delicious smoked salmon) on the south coast.
They build from a foundation of sourcing the very best produce, with dedication to high welfare, free range, local supply. The pigs the company use are only a few miles from their Brighton HQ, living life in the open fields of the south downs. The importance of this high quality produce makes all the difference to their products and how they stand out as a result. Similarly, their salmon is sourced from the oldest independent, owner operated farm in the rugged northwest of Scotland. The fish are carefully reared with plenty of room to grow and without any antibiotics or growth promoters. Again, this dedication to sourcing the best ingredients shines through in their produce.
From the outset, curing rebels have been conscious about supplying their products without single use plastics and as a result, packaging includes recyclable materials that are also often compostable.
Overall, the guys take inspiration from tradition but do not always follow it, preferring instead to try bold, vibrant, new ideas which shine through in many of their award winning products.
Our roving reporter, Torquil Mackintosh, recently went down to one of Curing Rebels’ fantastic one day, hands on, salami workshops and this is what he had to say;
“I recently had the tremendous pleasure of attending The Salami Workshop on a Saturday morning at the end of March, down at Rebel HQ in Portslade, a stone’s throw from Brighton.
As an enthusiastic bacon home-curer and smoker, but a complete salami-making novice I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to get the low-down on the process, having enjoyed many of their products over the last few years.
The small group of us participating were warmly welcomed by Rich and Will with a cup of coffee and some nibbles, to be given an introduction to Curing Rebels and a rundown of the morning’s itinerary.
- Sourcing pork, why free range/local, high welfare, size, sex, age
- Contamination safeguards, fermentation, preservatives
- Butchery, fat contents for varying products
- Mixing, pitfalls, how to counter
- Fermentation process
- Hanging, ageing, case hardening
- Moulds and harvesting, variations, reproducing ideal conditions
- Sustainable compostable, recyclable packaging vs shelf life
- Hand-on salami making
The idea of the workshop is to take you through the process of creating a salami (approx 1kg), culminating in all of us producing one of our own that will be fermented, aged for around 6 weeks, at which point it will be sent to our homes when it is ready to enjoy. A real hands-on experience!
We were then shown round the two production units, including the butchery /processing area, the fermentation chambers, hanging/ageing temperature/humidity controlled refrigeration and slicing, packaging and labelling areas.
It was then time then to get stuck in and prepare a batch of belly and shoulder pork for the mincing machine, mixing the salts and flavourings by hand, before filling the casings, pricking, weighing, labelling and dating, then finally hanging in the chamber.
The recipe I produced was for their Hunter Salami, which should be ready for despatch in around 6 weeks and after an incredible experience seeing how its made, I cannot wait to taste my first slice!
The workshop morning finished with a good Q&A session and round-up, accompanied by a spot of lunch before departure.
Altogether, I cannot recommend this enough as a great, enjoyable and informative way to spend a Saturday morning. Now just to wait for that salami to arrive!”