Dear Reader(s): My recent attempt at saucisson sec bit it. At the last minute, I decided to conduct my curing in a cooler where the humidity was >95%. I did this because I feared rodents in the basement. The run went bad. Really, really bad.
The more I read, the more pissed I got. Seems the 3 body problem of dry curing comes down to: humidity - around 70%, temperature - 55-60°F and air movement. Getting all these things is tricky; any environment I tested changed drastically when the meat was tossed in, giving off a lot of moisture.
Some days later, I reported my dreadful failure to a friend at our daily coffee and brainstorming session. He follows these efforts with great interest and provides good advice. I was retesting spots all over the house, but was skeptical of finding the perfect environment. My basement, during this warm early Summer is already up at a steady 68-70°F. My friend suggested I just hang it in the basement. Who really knows the upper limit of temperature for this curing? The aging will just go a bit faster at higher temperature - right? And the rodents? He suggested I feed the cat less and make him stand guard. I tossed my analytical gear to the side, stuffed a couple pounds worth and only used the thin (ca. 32 mm) casings giving myself a bit easier a task to dry out the sausage. So, it wouldn't have the best final attributes, but it'll still taste good (if it doesn't kill me).
I made Ruhlman's saucisson sec recipe, no fermentation, aged 20 days at about 68-71°F, 70-85% RH and plenty of air movement. Oh, and a spritz with a suspension of white mold. Finished, really, really good. But, I wait 48 hours before giving out samples. I'm still alive at hour 1.