What is Salametti?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Salametti is a dried Italian sausage traditionally made with beef, pork, and spices. Depending on the filling used, it can be spicy to mild in flavor, and it has a dry, slightly chewy texture. There are a number of ways to use this sausage in cooking, ranging from eating it plain as a snack food to slicing it into sauces, stews, and other dishes.

Beef is a common ingredient in a salametti.
Beef is a common ingredient in a salametti.

This dried sausage is very similar to salami. In fact, the primary difference between salami and salametti is the size, with the latter being around a quarter of the size of traditional salami. This makes them more convenient for people who have trouble eating a whole salami, and also makes them very handy for picnics and trips, since it can be packed whole in its protective casing without taking up a great deal of space.

Salametti is traditionally made from raw meat that cures during a fermenting and drying process.
Salametti is traditionally made from raw meat that cures during a fermenting and drying process.

There are two basic types of salametti: fine ground, and coarse ground. Fine ground ones are made with ingredients which have been ground very fine, creating a more smooth and uniform texture. Coarse ground ones have larger pieces of meat and spices, creating more of a rough texture in the finished product. Both classically include garlic, salt, and black pepper in their spice mixtures, although a range of other ingredients can be added as well.

Traditional salametti is made with raw meat which cures during a fermenting and drying process, allowing people to eat it as-is, without the need for cooking. Drying can take two months or even longer, depending on the producer, and during the curing process, the salametti develops a thick whitish crust. As long as the food remains whole, it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year, although it becomes perishable once it has been sliced open.

Some delis sell partially-cured salametti which is a bit softer than the traditional version, making it easier to eat, but also perishable. As a general rule, if salametti is stored under refrigeration at the deli or butcher, it should be refrigerated at home, but if it is stored at room temperature, it can be kept in a cold pantry or cool cupboard.

The best way to serve salametti is sliced very thin, allowing the meat to almost melt in the mouth as people taste it. It can be served on antipasto platters, eaten with bread and cheese, wrapped around various fruits, or used in any other circumstances where a cured meat might seem appropriate.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@feruze-- Salametti is just "small salami" so the history of salami and salametti are pretty much the same.

I know that the word "salami" comes from "salare" which means "to salt". Salami and other Italian charcuterie are made by salting and drying.

I don't know when salami and salametti were introduced to other regions but I think it's probably fairly recent. The history of salametti goes back to the 16th century and mostly it was made from pork. Beef salametti itself is much more recent than pork. If pork is not eaten at all in the Middle East, they may have been introduced to it much later when beef salametti became popular.

It might have been developed simultaneously too. I think all nomadic cultures have a history of using salt to preserve foods. So I wouldn't be surprised if different versions of salami and salametti were made simultaneously in other parts of the world.


I wonder where the name salametti and salami come from? I'm curious because I've seen sausages called "salam" in the Middle East. It was never made with pork because the Middle East is mainly Muslim and pork is not eaten. Instead there were a variety of "salam" made of beef and chicken. Some were more fatty, spicy and one type had pistachio nuts in it. But all of them were very uniform and minced finely.

I wonder if they picked up the recipe of salametti or salami in Italy and then altered it to their taste? It would be interesting to find out the origin of the word and how it spread to other countries in the region.

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