It’s got to be almost 15 years ago now that I came across a vendor of Italian salumi in London’s Borough Market, who had this bizarre Calabrian specialty: a smoked bladder of creamy, spicy porky goodness. It blew my mind, literally and figuratively. At the time, I had never come across any mention of Nduja, but I had to know what this fiery alchemy was. So I set about tracking down recipes, getting friends to translate the Italian for me, and trying many versions before settling on this one, which is very close to what I remember tasting all those years ago. It might seem like an insane amount of hot chile peppers, but that’s the whole point! The Calabrians love their hot peppers, and as Nancy Harmon Jenkins has said, Nduja is meant to “take the top of your head off.”
- fatty pork (jowl and belly, approx. 70% fat)
- 30% (of meat total) fresh cayenne peppers, including seeds
- 2% (of both of the above) salt
- 2% smoked & dried cayenne peppers
- 0.25% cure #2
- Bactoferm T-SPX culture
- Peppers were processed and frozen and then added to the meats in a bowl cutter with the other ingredients.
- Chopped for several minutes to the desired texture while keeping the temp of the mix under 45F.
- Stuffed into beef middles and fermented in the smoker over three days at 70F.
- Hung in my curing chamber for a month and a half at 42F and 80% humidity, they've lost 25% of their weight.