Gallery: See How the Sausage Gets Made at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Bernardo Flores, Master Butcher
Bernardo Flores, Master Butcher
Taking out the pig
Taking out the pig

Every few weeks, Il Buco receives a half dozen or so split hogs weighing over 150 pounds each.

Cutting
Cutting

The bigger the saw, the better.

First cuts
First cuts

First the ribs are separated from the belly and back.

Removing the trotters
Removing the trotters

The feet are given to the cooking staff for use in terrines and head cheese.

Pork pile
Pork pile

The various cuts from all the pigs are separated out in the cutting room for their future uses. Most of the bellies seen here will end up as pancetta.

Ribs
Ribs

The rib cages are set aside and used for the restaurant's family meal.

Ham
Ham

The rear legs are salted and aged for prosciutto.

Coppa, salting
Coppa, salting

Muscles from the shoulder are removed to become coppa.

Salting coppa
Salting coppa

Coarse salt is the seasoning of choice here.

Pork chunks
Pork chunks

The rest of the shoulder is cut into smaller pieces to be used for salumi.

Fatback
Fatback

The skin is removed from the thick layer of fat on the pig's back.

Fatback chunks
Fatback chunks

Some of the fatback is cured for lardo, but most of it is paired with the shoulder meat for the salumi. Fatback is useful for fine-tuning a sausage's fat content, one of the essentials for good sausage making.

Weigh in
Weigh in

The pork is weighed and batched in the proportions that the salumi recipes call for.

Fat weigh-in
Fat weigh-in
Fast chill
Fast chill

All the meat for the salumi goes in a fast chiller before being ground—meat grinds more evenly and cleanly when cold.

Grinding
Grinding

Firmer chilled meat passes through the grinder more easily, keeping its fat intact.

Out the grinder
Out the grinder
The cure
The cure

Bernardo assembles salts and seasoning for the cure.

Cure close-up
Cure close-up

Exact ingredients are a trick of the trade, but salt, spice, and herbs form the foundation of the cure.

On it goes
On it goes
Meat mixing
Meat mixing

The dry cure ingredients, as well as wine and garlic, are initially mixed in by hand.

Mechanical meat mixing
Mechanical meat mixing

The seasoned meat is then put in a large stand mixer which evenly distributes the cure and seasoning as well as emulsifies the meat into a firmer mass. Sausage casings keep meat contained, but mixing like this encourages the meat's protein to adhere better to itself.

Keep going
Keep going
Thoroughly mixed meat
Thoroughly mixed meat

The meat is mixed until it's a little sticky but not quite a paste.

Sausage stuffing
Sausage stuffing

The emulsified meat is pushed into casings and rolled together.

Sausage coil
Sausage coil
Making links
Making links

These links will eventually become Cacciatorino sausages, sold at the counter upstairs and served on sandwiches and charcuterie plates.

Hole punch
Hole punch

Small holes are pricked into the sausage to remove air bubbles.

Larger casings
Larger casings

Larger salumi, like the finocciona, seen here, use a thicker bung casing.

Fresh finocciona, tied
Fresh finocciona, tied
Aging cabinet
Aging cabinet

The salumi hangs in a sealed, climate controlled case for two to three months before it's called into service.

As they dry, they shrink down considerably.

Finocchiona sliced
Finocchiona sliced
Finocchiona on display
Finocchiona on display

Ready for grateful world.

Cacciatorino on display
Cacciatorino on display