If I were Bourdain, I would've bit in with gusto. I'm not. I trembled and felt I had to do it. It's now 3:45 and we're off to a 4-yr old birthday party. Wish me luck. It's been 5 minutes and I'm still alive.
How was that suspense? No, didn't die, not even a twinge of stomach disruption. And, it tasted darn good.
My advisor in all things pork, Andrew, suspects it's a tad under-cured, because the innermost core of the sausage still looks a bit more moist than the outer ring of familiar dried sausage.
• I'll let the remainder hang in the humid environment and keep cutting them open for observation every couple months. This will be a learning batch.
• I think it was a reasonably good run; no rancidity observed at the temps/humidity.
• In the future, I will go one step further regarding safety and freeze per CDC recommendations to insure a higher level of safety. It's an easy step, no reason not to do it (although some French buthers would never freeze meat prior to processing).
• The way in which I pierced the casings was not good. I must use a PIN and not a knife point. Some of the sausage was funny shaped and it could have compromised the integrity of the casing during drying.
• I'm switching to fresh (not dry cured) sausage (sage and sweet Italian for starters) for additional experience with grinding and mixing techniques.
• The humidity fussing I did earlier was silly. From all I've read, more humid is better. Too much humidity only slows things down. I simply hung them on a hanger inside of a tall, clean trash bucket in which the bottom had a few inches of water. This environment, with the sausage curing gives a steady 80%+ relative humidity and my basement was about 65°F during the entire cure.
• Finally, I think I need much wider casings for the sausage since it shrinks a lot on curing.
• Definitely a project I will revisit!