Like most people, I used to think salami was just one kind of sausage. However, in truth, there are hundreds of salami sausage recipes around the world.
And there are even more special variations being thought of each day. After all, salami is a sausage made up of meats and spices.
What is the best type of salami?
There’s no good answer to this question as it all depends on personal preference for your salami sandwich (and sides). And while I can’t cover every single type of salami, I can at least give you a sample of nine of the most popular types along with their unique qualities to help you decide on the best kinds of salami for sandwiches or any other side dish.
#1. Genoa Salami
This type of salami comes from the Genoa area of Italy. It’s called a “medium grind” with a garlic-heavy flavor that’s smooth with a clean finish. The simplicity of this type of salami makes it one of the best kinds of salami for sandwiches.
The essential ingredients for this type of salami often include sea salt, pork, spices, sugar, garlic, natural flavors, and starter culture.
This salami also pairs well with roasted peppers, fontina cheese, warm bread, and sparkling prosecco on a charcuterie board.
This salami has a mild taste with cracked black peppercorns and Calabrian crushed red pepper flakes for its spicer version. The pork is ground with specific spices that depend primarily on local traditions.
Then it’s encased before it’s hung up to dry. The final result gives this sausage a deliciously smooth texture with a provocative bold flavor.
Common ingredients in soppressata are sea salt, pork, spices, sugar, garlic, natural flavoring, and starter culture.
Sopressata also pairs well with crackers with seeds, fresh goat cheese, dry rose wine, and wheat beer.
#3. Felino Salami
Felino salami is also called “the king of salami,” and it comes from a small village in Italy by the same name. This salami has a reputation for its dazzling flavor and smooth consistency; it mainly derives from ingredients such as wine and peppercorns.
Felino is a mild salami without as many spices and is slow-aged, which brings out its sweeter flavor.
In appearance, it has a bright red inside. You see coarse lean ground pork and fat bits sprinkled throughout the sausage when you cut into it.
When serving, it’s recommended that you cut each slice around 1/8-inches thick to achieve the best balance of smooth fat and zesty peppercorn.
The most common ingredients in Felino salami are cane sugar, pork, sea salt, natural flavorings, garlic, Chianti red wine, spices, and starter culture.
Felino salmi pairs well with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, country-style crusty bread, and red wine.
Pepperoni is perhaps the most well-known type of salami. However, most people don’t know it’s in the salami family. This popular pizza topping is also one of the very few American-made salamis.
It’s believed pepperoni came from Italian-American butcher shops during the early 1900s. The meat is the most popular pizza topping in the US, showing up on no less than 85 percent of all pizza orders.
As the rockstar of the salami family, pepperoni stands out for its signature sweet, spicy, and smoky flavor.
Key ingredients include pork, sugar, sea salt, paprika, natural flavoring, spices, sunflower oil, and starter culture.
Pepperoni pairs very well with your favorite pizza, fresh mozzarella, salads, and craft IPA beers.
#5. Peppered Salami
This salami is finely ground and encased inside black pepper to produce a robust and peppery finish. The peppery also adds to the spicy flavor, and this salami is best used as sandwich meat or served on a charcuterie board with cheeses and crackers and sauces.
The main ingredients are sea salt, pork, spices, sugar, natural flavoring, and starter culture.
Peppered salami pairs well with crostini, mozzarella di Bufala, salted tomato-basil, and chianti.
Chorizo is a Spanish-style sausage that’s dried and rich with fresh garlic, smoked paprika, spices, and herbs. There are two primary types of chorizo, the Spanish and Mexican versions.
In the Mexican version, it’s made using ground pork and typically sold uncooked and fresh. Meanwhile, Spanish chorizo also has ground pork with various spices, but it’s cured and not sold raw. After it’s cured, Spanish chorizo is the only of the two types technically classified as salami.
Spanish chorizo is also a tasty pepperoni alternative if you’d like a sausage with a bit more kick. It’s a dream come true for those who love spicy and bold salamis with a rich and smoky undertone.
#7. Finocchiona Salami
Finocchiona salami came from the Tuscany area of France and was created several centuries ago. According to local folklore, the pepper, the main ingredient in salami, was pricy at the time. So instead, locals used a spice that grew in abundance around the region – fennel.
The name “Finnochio” is Italian for fennel, and this variety of salami contains a rich spice blend that uses toasted fennel seeds to produce a sausage that’s both mouthwatering and fragrant.
Common ingredients include pork fat, fennel, sea salt, pepper, sugar, natural flavoring, starter culture, and garlic.
You can also pair finocchiona salami with olive oil, salad, pinot grigio, and warm bread.
#8. Cacciatore Salami
Cacciatore, or “hunter style” salami, earned its name from Italian hunters who liked its flavor and size since it provided them with a nutritious and hardy snack.
This salami has a wonderfully simple recipe that allows the meat’s natural flavor to shine and uses very few spices to enhance the flavor. You can taste subtle notes of coarse ground black pepper and garlic.
This salami is made using cane sugar, sea salt, pork, garlic, natural flavorings, and starter culture.
You can pair cacciatore salami with crusty bread, Parmingiano-Reggiano cheese, cold ale, and pinot grigio.
#9. Wine salami
Wine salami is just what the name suggests. It’s salami made with wine. As just about any salami lover will tell you, wine is perfect with nearly any cured meat, so the idea of crafting a unique blend of salami using wine seems only natural.
The art of infusing salami with wine goes back several generations to the earliest days of cured meat.
Master Salumieri recognized the potential of using homemade wines to enhance the salami’s flavor; since then, it’s become a cherished tradition.
As far as taste goes, wine is an ingredient that harmonizes perfectly with the spices used in most salamis and can bring out extra flavor, aroma, and texture to the sausage.
The most common ingredients in wine salami are salt, pork, wine concentrate, spices, sugar, acid starter culture, natural flavoring, and garlic.
Wine salami pairs well with warm bread, soft cheese, and multigrain crackers.
What is salami anyway?
First, let’s start with defining salami. For one thing, the word “salami” is very old. In fact, it’s centuries old, and it comes from the Italian word “salume,” a reference to all forms of salted meat.
The three main things that set the many kinds of salami apart are:
- The ingredients
- How the sausage is cut
- And how the meat is prepared
There are some forms of salami that use different blends of spices to make more complex flavors, and then there are others that take a simpler approach.
What’s the difference between hard salami and regular salami?
With hard salami, you have a firm sausage that’s made using pork. This variety is a bit lighter than other salamis and will have more of a marbled appearance.
Hard salami is processed using garlic along with other seasonings. Next, it’s cured, then air dried, and finally wrapped in its casing.
Also, hard salami comes from Germany, whereas Genoa is from Italy. Genoa salami is a dry, spiced, and salted variety. It’s naturally fermented, which means it’s treated using yeast or bacteria as a method of preservation.
When it comes to ingredients, both salamis are made using pork as their main ingredient. However, Genoa is also sometimes made with beef or veal, whereas hard salami might occasionally use a beef and pork blend.
Genoa salami also features vinegar and wine along with more spices than hard salami, giving it a tangy, bright, more acidic flavor that’s less mild than hard salami.
Is Genoa or hard salami better?
It’s all a matter of personal taste. Many enjoy the tangy taste and softer texture of Genoa salami, while many folks also prefer the chewy texture and milder taste of hard salami. And, of course, there are those like myself who love both.
What is the best brand of hard salami?
According to Forbes Magazine, the best brand of hard salami in America comes out of St. Louis, Missouri, and is made by Salume Beddu. Then again, many argue that Molinari & Sons San Francisco Italian Dry Salami is the elite sausage. Another great brand is Volpi.