meat curing at home – the setup

January 21, 2010

After the radio interview I did earlier this month for the KCRW Good Food Show I thought I might well just do a post about how gosh darn easy it is to make a little setup at home to cure meat in.

When I first started making moldy meat in my garage over a year ago I figured that it must take very specialist equipment, and a team of well read meat science boffins to make anything resembling a decent cured product. I quite frankly am not a meat science boffin, or have very specialist equipment. Nor do the thousands of other people around the globe that cure meat at home, and make a darn fine product too I should add.

It turns out it is actually exceptionally easy to make a basic reliable setup at home to cure meat in, and one that doesn’t cost a pretty penny either. In fact, with a little wheeling and dealing, I reckon the whole thing can be put together for around $100 – even less if you have an old fridge already, or a room/garage/basement that has some of the right environmental properties (more on that later).

My first ever setup was a just simply hanging the meat (inside a cage incase any animals got in..) in my garage. This proved somewhat unreliable because temperature and humidity fluctuated so much – often outside the limits of what should really be considered safe. From here on in I started looking into making a more controllable setup at home that wouldn’t require a walk in fridge area, and lots of special equipment.

So – meat curing is just really the slow controlled release of water from meat. Once the water activity level (aW) of meat gets low enough it is considered safe to eat, since living organisms (bacteria included) need moisture to survive.

A setup for curing meat is really just making a small area with the right environmental conditions.

These conditions are temperature, humidity, and air flow.

In order to make a decent (and safe) product you need some way of controlling all three – or at least keeping them within a certain range. Lets look at each element separately, and see what we can do to control it.

temperature: a safe temperature range for curing meat is below 60F. Above that and bacteria grows a lot faster. Ideally you want the temperature between 50F and 60F. Below 50F and the curing process slows down a great deal, making the process take much, much longer (which also means it takes much much longer for your charcuterie to reach a safe water content level, but that is getting a bit geeky). Most likely you are going to find that you will have to cool and area to get it to 60F rather than heat it.

humidity: for most of the curing you want the humidity between 70% and 75%. Below 70% and you run the risk of the outside of your salami/meat drying out too fast, which means moisture is trapped on the inside, leading to spoilage. If the humidity is really high for too long then the sausage wont dry correctly, and you run the risk of getting a lot of bad mold on the charcuterie.

Ideally when you first put something in to dry cure, you want the humidity at around 85%, and then over the course of the next week you want to drop the humidity down to 75%. The reasoning here is that you want your humidity just a bit less than the water content of the meat you are curing – this stops the meat drying out too fast and developing case hardening. At the start of curing the meat has a lot of moisture in it (especially leaner cuts), so you want your curing humidity to almost match that. As the meat looses water you drop the humidity down accordingly (or roughly anyhow).

Typically we find that most areas in a house aren’t this humid, unless you have a cold, dank basement. Often enough we find ourselves having to add extra humidity to a space to make it perfect.

air flow: some air flow is critical in not only helping to dry the meat (pulling moisture away from the surface of the sausage), but it also really helps keep bad mold (green, black and fury mold) off the meat too – since there isn’t stagnant damp air constantly around the sausage. In practical terms this can just mean fanning the meat a couple of times a day, or setting up a low powered fan to blow a little air around.


So, we know that we have a bunch of conditions that we need to control. How on earth does one go about making a space that has the right temperature, humidity and air flow?

1) buy a temperature and humidity sensor and find an area in your house with good temp/humidity

the first thing to do is get your hands on a temperature and humidity sensor. Over the course of a week, put it in different locations around your house for 24 hours, and see what readings you get.

If you have a basement that is somewhat unfinished (and not heated) then you might have somewhere with decent temperature, and possibly even humidity. Here in Seattle especially in the winter, most peoples basements can get pretty humid, thanks to all that fine rain we have.

I recommend against curing meat in a garage that you will have to open the garage door a few times a day with. Been there, done that, thrown away the meat because of it. Opening the door is going to lower the humidity quite a bit, and it will stay low for a while. Unless you get a humidifier to bump it back up as needed. Obviously don’t cure meat in a garage that you are going to drive a car in to either! Salami flavored with car fumes ain’t gonna taste too pretty.

The temperature and humidity sensor I recommend is this one: HygroSet II Adjustable Digital Hygrometer

It is relatively cheap, accurate, and most importantly adjustable. Often enough hygrometers (humidity sensors) aren’t incredibly accurate out of the box, and you need to calibrate them. Most digital sensors don’t allow this, but this one does. How to calibrate you ask? Spend less than your daily latte on this: Boveda One Step Calibration – a simple calibration kit that is so incredibly simple to use.

2) OK, my house is rubbish for meat curing.. now what?

Worry not, that is how it goes for most of us. The next thing to do is to construct yourself a curing chamber. Rent some old MacGyver episodes, read up on Heath Robinson, and make some friends at Home Depot – you are you going to need to!


Here is what you do… Go to craigslist. Search your local area for people selling old frost-free fridges. You shouldn’t spend over $25 on it to be honest. Quite a few are being given away free, if you can get your mits on a truck to take it away with. An old fridge makes an almost perfect curing chamber, albeit with some modifications!

Oh, and don’t worry about these old fridges draining the power grid, and your salami causing massive widespread deforestation and global warming due to the high power consumption. The fridge won’t be on that much – we are going to setup a controller that will turn it on and off to maintain a temperature of 57F – which is much higher than the regular fridge temperature of 36F.

3) Fridge, check. What’s next?

Time to talk about controlling those environmental factors above that we talked about.

Controlling temperature:

If you leave a fridge turned on, it will self regulate itself to hold a temperature around 37F. You can make go to about 45F, but that is still too low for meat curing – which should be between 50 and 60F (preferably 55-60F).

Thankfully there is a great little (and simple) product that will automagically turn a fridge on and off to maintain whatever temperature you set it to. It has a temperature probe that you put in the fridge that monitors the fridge temperature. You plug the fridge into the controller, and the controller into an outlet. Set the temp at 57F, and you are done. The controller simply turns the fridge on and off to maintain the set temperature.

The controller that you see on the left is just under $50 and can be ordered here, and is meant for home brewing – but works exceedingly well for meat curing applications.

Controlling Humidity:

Humidity is a different ball game to temperature. Humidity can vary a lot depending on where you curing chamber is. In most situations you are going to need to add humidity, and not remove it.

Since humidity in your chamber (er, old fridge..) varies depending on atmospheric conditions, how long your fridge is on for (the cold air pumped into fridges has very low humidity), how much meat you have in there, and at what stage the meat is at – we need some kind of humidity controller, and humidifier.

Some options for controlling humidity:

1) bowl of salty water. Yes it can be that simple. In the bottom of your fridge put a big bowl of very salty water. The salt prevents bacteria growth in the water. This might be enough to raise your humidity to a decent level.

The problem here is that as those conditions above change, this salty water doesn’t give out any more or any less humidity, it is constant. This leaves you forever checking it to make sure it isn’t getting too humid in there.

2) a humidity controller (hygrostat) and humififer

This is by far the best solution, but it is more expensive. The humidity controller works in pretty much the same way as the temperature controller. You set a dial saying what humidity you want, and the controller will turn a humidifier on and off to maintain that rough level. All you have to do is make sure you keep your humidifier stocked full of distilled water.

On the left is the Dayton Humidifier Controller. This does exactly what is mentioned above. Set the humidity you want on the dial, plug a humidifier into the front of it, and put the thing in your curing chamber. Easier than breathing. This will turn your humidifier on and off to maintain the humidity you set it to.

One thing that I have done is actually to add a fan into this equation too. I have a power strip plugged into the humidity controller, and into that strip I have BOTH a humidifier and a fan plugged in.

So, when the humidifier turns on, so too does a fan. This pushes the humid air around the chamber, and makes sure the chamber has even humidity across it. This also provides some much needed airflow every now and again.

Now lets talk about humidifiers for a second.. You want to make sure that you get an “ultrasonic” humidifier. This gives out a much finer mist than regular humidifiers, which is absorbed into the air much easier, and wont leave you with large water globules sitting on your meat. You also want one that will just start going when you plug it into the wall – and doesn’t require 10 button presses to start – since the humidity controller cannot press buttons for you..

I use this one:

A simple cheap ultrasonic humidifier.

This one has a dial on it to determine how much moisture it kicks out. I have it cranked all the way up, and it raises humidity rather quickly. The unit is pretty small, which is great because you don’t want it taking up valuable meat space. For me, I have to fill it every couple of weeks. Oh, and on a note on filling humidifiers – always use distilled water, otherwise you get mineral deposits in your humidifier, which causes it to conk out much faster.

So you put the humidifier in the bottom of the fridge, along with the fan if you are using one (you don’t have to). Hook it up to the humidity controller, which needs to sit somewhere in the fridge too. Set the controller to the desired humidity, walk away and have a beer (the beer part is instrumental to the success of the whole seutp).

Controlling airflow:

You can get uber-complicated here. Certain airflows are best at certain times during the curing process. You could buy a small 120V computer fan, drill a hole through the side of you fridge, and mount it in the fridge, to give some air flow. Heck, even just drilling some holes in the top right side and bottom left side of your fridge would most likely give enough airflow, without the fan.

You could do that if you want.

Personally for me, I just leave the door of my chamber open a little bit. It isn’t like I don’t check on my meat twice a day, swing open the door, take the meat out, give em a squeeze, and so on. Plenty of airflow going on there.

If you have your fridge in a place where you cannot leave the door open, then seriously consider drilling some holes through the side of it (don’t worry, there shouldn’t be anything bad to drill through in the SIDES of the fridge) for some airflow. If you have rodent problems, then I suggest putting some fine mesh over these holes too. Rats can squeeze through a hole smaller than a quarter you know..

So there you have it – your basic fridge curing chamber setup. With the temperature and humidity controllers in place, this really is a pretty hands free setup.

3) Make some cured meat!

This is the fun bit. Get some recipes, get some meat, and all the stuff you need for it and get cracking making some lovely moldy bits of pig. There are some particular products you are going to need – curing salts, dextrose, casings if you are doing salami. I highly recommend Butcher & Packer for these.

You are also going to want to break down a buy a decent kitchen scale. Using cups and tablespoons isn’t accurate enough for most meat curing antics. Quite frankly, I have no idea how people bake/cook using volume measurements for dry ingredients anyhow. Scales rock. They aren’t expensive either.

Oh wait.. I nearly forgot recipes. Well, there are a couple of great books to get you started:

Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn – a great book covering cured meats, salami, pate, sausages

The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Stanley Marianski – fabulous book on making salami. A lot of information here, including a lot of science – however it is extremely accessible, and not at all dry. Marianski has managed to write a technical book with great recipes that is easy for you and I to read.

Finally, if anyone gets started curing meat, let me know! I want to hear about it.

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  • ravenouscouple January 21, 2010 at 1:09 am

    we have no intentions now of curing meat, but read this with such fascination…great and easy to follow tips

  • Sharon Miro January 21, 2010 at 4:08 am

    OK, I gotta ask: is that a toy fridge set -up? Seriously, tho. You just saved me a lot of sleepless nights..Right after your KCRW show, I started thinking about curing meats and building a “chamber”–now I don’t have to think, I just need to find an old fridge! Thanks!

  • Dawn January 21, 2010 at 4:31 am

    That isn’t a 3D model of your refridgerator, is it? Hahahaha. Your garage wasn’t tidy enough to take a photo?

    Thanks for this excellent how-to guide. I kept wondering if my basement has the right conditions to use some of my Charcuterie recipes, and now I know how to find out.

  • matt January 21, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Sharon – nope, not a toy – just a quick illustration I did..
    Dawn – yep, it’s a 3D rendering! a little different to my setup, since I use that huge wine cooler fridge I got from Earth and Ocean.

  • noΓ«lle {simmer down!} January 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Matt, THANK YOU so much for this post– so clear and easy to implement! I have the Polcyn/Ruhlman book and have made lots of things from it but have been intimidated to delve into the cured/dried meats. This post was just what I needed to convince me that it’s totally accessible.

    I’m planning on moving in the next few months so I don’t know that it will make sense to get started straight away (having to move a fridge in and out of the basement, etc), but I will most definitely keep you updated on any future projects!

  • STEVE January 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I’m just getting started and need to choose between a meat grinder and a curing chamber with only temperature control… I’m leaning towards the curing chamber at the moment, mostly because of your bresaola pictures. Thanks for all the posts… it makes it much easier for those of us who are still new to the sport.

  • Alan January 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Great Stuff Matt!

    I have all the components. I managed to get an old warming box with an adjustable heat element in it at the Restaurant Supply for 50 bucks. I have been testing it everyday now and the temp is great it will sit at 77 or 85 for days. I tried the pan of water and got little result. I will be using the humidifier now and should have a small micro fan in tomorrow. After I get some consistent results we will be making a batch. I will send you photos soon.
    Thanks for all of your info.


  • my spatula January 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

    fantastic post – thank you! my husband will go bananas if i tell him about this. he’ll make me start tonight.

  • Talley January 22, 2010 at 1:11 am

    awesome post. someday, I swear, I will put this post to very good use.

  • Hobson's Choice January 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Wonderfully informative post. I too have the Polcyn/Ruhlman book and haven’t been able to try making any of the cured meats. Thanks!

  • Hannah January 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Woah, this is fascinating. One day I’ll try it, haha!

  • Scott January 23, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Matt, I found that until I installed a hygrostat, I was unable to effectively control my humidity. It was all over the map. I burned out 2 expensive humidifiers. Finally, I installed the hygrostat and paired with a low rent humidifier, it’s been fine ever since. Once I found the range, I could now set it and forget it. The bowl of salted water is rubbish. You’re better off hanging a wet towel from a dowel inside the fridge. As far as the circulation, the hole in the side works. It works better with a light pointed at the temperature probe. This makes the refrigerator cycle more often causing more air circulation. Hope this helps.

    • mattwright January 23, 2010 at 5:32 am

      Hi Scott – I totally agree with you about a hygrostat and cheap humidifier vs the bowl of water thing. When I started with the bowl of water, I spent my life down in the garage checking on the meat – an emotional rollercoaster for sure. I am so glad to have the hygrostat setup now!

      Good tip about the light for fridge circulation!

  • Alex January 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    All handy advice, exactly the info i was looking for! πŸ™‚ – one question though. How much air do you need? I have a pretty tiny flat, with an attic space, so could fit quite a small fridge in there, but not one even as big as an under counter fridge.

  • mattwright January 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    STEVE: ideally you are going to want both a meat grinder (attachment for a kitchen aid is brilliant) AND a curing chamber πŸ™‚
    Alex: I wouldn’t go much smaller than an under counter fridge to be honest. Some
    people have cured stuff in tiny wine fridges with decent enough results,
    but you do need some room in there.

    If you do use a small unit like that, you might well find your problem
    isn’t one of how to raise humidity, but how to actually lower it. The
    curing meat will give off moisture into the air, and in a small enclosure,
    this could be enough to raise the humidity significantly.

    One way around this is to buy a dehumidifier controller (like the dayton
    one I recommended, but it controls a dehumidifier – so it turns something
    on when the humidity gets too high) and have that controller linked to a
    small fan (something like: – which you
    would position near some holes you drilled through the side for
    ventilation. This would extract any humid air.

    Before you do that though, measure the ambient temp and humidity up there.
    If the humidity in there is already high, and the temp low, you might not
    even need a fridge in the first place.

    Oh, and rodents LOVE attic spaces.. I would make sure you are rodent free
    up there!

  • Hand Check! January 31, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Matt, you sir, are a Chevalier of the Cheeky Finger. More meat will harden as a result of your mojo than all the back-pew shennanigans to date. Thank you.

    To the folks with the light bulb in the fridge angle…isn’t this more suitable for frost-free fridges that attempt to regulate humidity ‘the new fashioned way’? The bulb raises the temperature, activating the fridge, which cools the interior, condensing the excess humidity, with the bulb bringing the temperature back up etc…?

  • Steve February 7, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Great informatiion. I have to tell you I have cured meats coppa’s and prosciutto’s for years following my families old ways brought from Italy but I want a higher quality product. My fermentation chamber is ready to go as well as my drying chamber only waiting for the humidistat. I am looking foreward to seeing what I can do. thanks for the information.

  • Sam February 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Matt, you’re a diamond! We got a quarter carcass of veal from our nextdoor neighbour last year. I split it into 3 and hung it in the fridge. My girlfriend started freaking out after the fourth day so we cut it up and froze it. That said, it was the best beef I’ve ever tasted. I plan to build a cold store this year so I can cure under the correct conditions for two to three weeks and have been looking for sound information and advice.
    The information on here has really helped me.


  • Stephanie - Wasabimon February 18, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Cripes! You wrote an entire encyclopedia on the topic! Thanks for this. It’s an exhaustive guide and you answered all of my questions before I asked them. Except for this one…. how do you fit this all in a fridge? Can you recommend a cubic foot-size when looking for fridges, one that’s not too big or too small?

    Also, I assume you should remove the shelves and hang the meat?

    Dreaming of salty meat……… now if only I had a hearth and chimney I could hang my sausages in. πŸ™‚

  • matt February 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Hand Check – er thanks..
    Steve – Let me know how it works out!
    Sam – Get curing πŸ™‚
    Stephanie: Well, a regular fridge (not undercounter) should be fine. If you can find one that is just the fridge, and no freezer – that might give you more room. Personally if you can only find them with a freezer compartment, I would go for a top/bottom configuration rather than side/side. I reckon this will give you more square footage on the bottom of the fridge.

    You don’t need a large humidifier, and the control system thingies you mount to the side of the fridge – the only thing in the base is going to be a humidifier, and a fan if you choose to install that.

  • Kenneth Oster April 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I am writing a book on preserving meat for Atlantic publishing Company. I can across this web page during my research and was very impressed. I would like to use this article just like it is in my book as a case study. I need your permission to do so. You would be properly recognized, and would get a copy of the book for your kind cooperation. Please e-mail me if you would be willing to be part of the book, “The Complete Guide to Preserving Meat, Fish, and Game: Step-by-Step Instructions to Freezing, Canning, Curing, and Smoking book.” If you are interested I would email you a release form for permission to use this web page in the book. Thank you, Kenneth Oster

  • Tony Valsamakis April 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    You are the MAN! I have been looking for a way to do this and had been unsuccessful. This is the last step to being able to do my own charcuterie. I come from the New York City area and have always had easy access to salumi. I moved to San Antonio, TX and access to quality salumi is almost nonexistent.

    Thanks alot.

    Take care,


  • Dave May 26, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Shit, 3 weeks into a saucisson sec run, mine got really rancid. I did it in a cooler. Temp good, humidity too high (>90%) and no air flow.

    Nice post, thanks for the tips.

  • Jim June 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Matt, Thanks for posting the site and information, it’s very helpful.

    I’m setting up a fridge to dry meats & sausage but I’m reluctant to drill holes in it. I’ve dried pancetta, bresola and proscuitto in walk-in refridgerators but never in a smaller fridge. My reluctance results from using a rather expensive commerical refrigerator. You thoughts?

  • mattwright June 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Hi jim – I am not going to recommend doing anything you feel uncomfortable with. Almost all fridges out there have nothing but insulation in the side walls. I haven’t drilled through one yet and found a problem with it.

    What you can easily do is use some stick-on hooks to hang a power-cord off. You can also just have all the power stuff on the base of the fridge. I personally however recommend against this, since you can get some liquid in the bottom – a mixture of meat drippings, and some condensation. Also, if your humidifier was to develop a leak, and it leaked all over the electrics down there, that would be rather bad news.

  • Jim June 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I was planning on using a drip pan. I’m not worried about drilling through anything but it is an expensive refrigerator, not an old junker.

  • Derek June 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for posting such a great write up on this topic. I’ve been sticking to non-dry cured meats because it just seemed to complicated. I’m excited to find a fridge and get started! Will post build photos once i’ve actually built it up.

  • Michael June 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks! This process is easier than I thought.

  • mark June 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Any recommendations on scales?

  • mattwright July 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    mark – I like the scales from American Weigh – I have one of their pocket scales that does up to 100g with an accuracy of 0.01g. Works great for measuring of cure ingredients.

    You will need a regular kitchen scale for weighing the meat – accuracy to 1g is fine for that. They sell those too, I have no idea how good they are however.

  • MyPigsGood August 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Matt,

    I have wanted to try curing meats since my first trip to Italy 5 years ago. The fact of not having a controlled environment and the fear of creating a deadly batch of toxic meat has always stopped me. I’ll be getting a fridge and setting this up in the coming weeks. One question. Won’t drilling holes in the fridge lower it’s ability to maintain temp? Requiring it to cycle on and off more often?

    Can you do proscuito in this type of environment? I also wonder if this type of setup could be used to do cheese.

    Mmm, what a tasty website.


  • Matt Thompson August 30, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I’m wanting to cure meats and I will need a cure box. The big question for me is whether a cure box could be set up outside? Has anyone done this? Any thoughts on how this would work out? I would like to set up a cure box as described here on my back porch.


  • mattwright August 31, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Yes, the fridge will cycle more often – but since it is only keeping at 55F not 35F (regular fridge), that isn’t much of a problem. You absolutely have to have airflow, otherwise things get nasty. Been there, done that. Not repeating it πŸ™‚

    You can certainly do proscuitto in this environment, a lot of people do. One thing to think about however that such a large piece of meat gives off a lot of moisture, so think about a decent system to get that moisture out of the chamber. What I suggest is drilling holes in one side of the fridge. Then in the other drill a 3″ hole. Mount a 12V DC CPU fan over that 3″ hole. Hook this up to a dehumidifier controller, and when it senses the humidity is too high, the fan turns on and pulls that damp air out of the chamber.

    The larger your chamber, the less you have to worry, since the meat wont effect the relative humidity that much in a larger air space.

  • MyPigsGood August 31, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Had another thought that since we live in the same neck of the woods. My fridge will be in the garage where during the winter months it can get quite cold. Do I need to be concerned with heating during the winter? I was thinking a light bulb may be enough considering the small, insulated nature of the space. Perhaps even the light bulb that is in the fridge, though that may not put out enough heat.


  • MyPigsGood August 31, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Other than smell what are some of the signs that your salumi should not be eaten? I have purchased the Ruhlman book (hasn’t arrived yet) and I’m hoping they have a bit on this subject. Would appreciate what you have to say on this as well.


  • Meghan September 1, 2010 at 1:59 am

    This is a treasure trove of information! And great Blog over all! I will hopefully get this set up somehow. I’m sure all I have to say to my boyfriend is endless proscuitto and salted cod and he’ll be all over the idea! Now I just have to find a good butcher who wants to sell me his meats!

  • Carl September 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I use a large cooler w/ water for fermentation (only) & spray the product every 5-6 hours w/ mold solution….keeps it moist & at room temp for 36 or 48 hours no issues….not ideal for culturing mold, but has worked 100% so far.

    For curing, I’m using a 20.5 CF freezer w/ a humidifier, (high end) humidstat, thermostat, medium sized fan I pot down w/ a rheostat which runs 24/7…it is important to have constant air flow….I’m using larger fan blades moving more slowly rather than a small fan moving more quickly…

    something most folks are not doing…..

    I have a 50 CFM bathroom exhaust fan that kicks in for 5 minutes a day to exhaust bad air. I placed a large hinged chunk of Styrofoam over the exhaust vent which the fan easily blows open & seals when the fan turns off. This keep the temp & humidity in place…and I can leave the thing for about ten days beforeit needs tending.

    Happy Charcuterie! – Carl

  • Mike September 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for all of this great info Matt. These are is the most detailed yet easy to understand instructions on this setup I’ve found anywhere. Now I’ve got no excuses :).

  • Jon September 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    What a great Idea using the fridge and it started me thinking for an alternative source other the an refrigerator.I happened to have a Kenmore wine cooler (small 18 bottle) and have been doing test on keeping the temps at 55 deg. Wine coolers seem to keep Ideal temps for curing meats as well as wines. I like to keep my wine temps at 58-60 deg. I reset the thermostat on the cooler to achieve 55 degrees and after 3 hours the cooler went as low as 54 to 56 swing this seems to be perfect for curing meats. Now I am looking at a reptile fogger for RH using distilled water. What do you think?

  • mattwright September 19, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Jon – Wine fridges make excellent curing chambers, since they are designed to hold temps in the 50s.

    Some words of warning though –

    Typically wine coolers are pretty small – that means you can get a lot of stale air in there very quickly, which can in turn yield some very unsavory mold on the surface of whatever you are curing. Make sure you give the thing good ventilation. You could drill 10 small holes through one side of the unit, and 10 in the other – in somewhat of a circular pattern – that would give some air flow. If you needed more, you can mount a small DC computer fan over the holes, and set that up to a timer to turn on for 30 minutes every now and again.

    For humidity I like to use an ultrasonic humidifer, linked up to a humidistat. I set the humidistat to whatever RH I want, and let it automagically turn on the humidifer. Works for me.

    Make sure to get a temp and humidity sensor, and put it in the chamber too – don’t rely on the humidity reading from your humidistat, they are often pretty wrong.

    I know a lot of people that hang meat in their wine cellars to great success. In fact, If I ever get in to gear I want to build out a section of my basement into a curing room – for which I will cool it with a wine room refrigeration unit I am sure.

    My main curing fridge is now a very large wine cooler in fact – big enough to just about stand it. It works great.

  • Jason November 4, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Great Blog! One of the best I have seen.
    I will be doing this over the winter. And I also will be putting my chamber in the garage exposed to the winter temps. How will that effect things?
    I see that you suggest using a humidifier plugged into a hygrostst, can you use a humidifier w/one built in?
    One last question is there a way to detirmine if the meat is bad before you eat it?

  • mattwright November 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Jason – to answer some of your questions:

    my garage is insulated. It stays somewhere between 50F and 70F through winter and summer. If your garage isn’t insulated the temp in there might get too low over winter for curing.

    I personally prefer a simple humidifer, plugged in to a decent humidistat. I started out with a humidifier that had a humidistat built in and it was bloody terrible. Then the humidistat on that gave up, so I had to throw the whole thing away.

    As for determining safety – some stuff I go by:

    Make sure your workmanship is good, and everything is ridiculously clean. Meat has to be kept cold during processing – especially salami.

    Use nitrates and use a starter culture if you are curing salami.

    Any mold other than white powder mold should be rubbed off with a cloth soaked in distilled vinegar.

    If any black colored mold appears, ditch it. Don’t even think twice about it.

    Make sure your curing chamber never goes over 60F.

    Weigh your meat before curing. Look for around 40% weight loss as an indication that something is ready to eat.

    The meat should feel firm all the way through at that point. If it feels like the outside is very dry, but the inside is squishy, you have case hardening. This means the outside has dried too much, meaning none of the internal moisture can escape. Raise humidity if that is the case.

    Buy meat from small local trusted farms, that slaughter and butcher their animals properly. Mass market feed lot stuff is more likely to have E. Coli and so on (in my totally unprofessional opinion).

    Smell and look. If it smells dicey, like rancid meat throw it out. If it looks odd, do the same.

  • dan November 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Matt,
    Gorgeous site! I plan on setting up a curing chamber similar to what you’ve described, but have a question (just one? yeah, right). In your recipe for salami, you suggest starting the fermentation at 75F, 85-95% humidity, for 35 hours. How do you set up the environment for that? Not in the same fridge set-up I suppose; just a humid room?

    Thanks for any advice, and the inspiration

  • Wade November 9, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Great info Matt,
    I have been making sausage for a few years, from kits. We have to start somwhere. But, I have always wonted to do more of the traditional making of cured goodies. I have a fridge(scored an old sub-zero for $50) and the rest of my parts and supplies are starting to show-up.
    My first question. Do you find that a fan and ventilation holes work the best?
    2nd, is salami more tempermental than curing others? In other words is there somthing you would recomend for a starting cure?
    Thank you so much for your great insight.

  • mattwright November 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Dan – if you have a warm humid room, that would be fine. If you have an area with a heat lamb, just enclose that in with plastic sheeting, pop a humidifier in there, and all should be fine.

    Personally I actually use a second fridge into which I put a heat lamp, and use that as my fermentation box.

    Wade – If you are using a traditional fridge with 0 airflow in it, then a fan is a good idea. You can simply set it on a timer to run for 15 minutes every 4 hours or so, or you could also hook it up to a dehumidifier controller and have it set to come on when the humidity gets too high.

    I have had temperamental salami and whole muscles! If you are used to making sausage, it isn’t a huge jump to making salami. You will need an area for fermentation however.

    If the grinding and stuffing process goes well, then actually drying salami is pretty easy – they are a uniform diameter, and have good surface area to volume – they dry really pretty well. However if your drying box isn’t well tuned, or you got some fat smear or something during making, they can be far more troublesome.

    I suggest you start with something small like a duck prosciutto (cured duck breast). They cure quick, and dry reasonably fast. After that a pork loin is pretty easy, or some pancetta which is so easy you could do it in a regular fridge! Once you are happy with your drying environment, salami will cause you no problem!

  • Wade November 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks Matt
    I’m loving your web-site and cann’t wait to have my cure chamber up and running. I’m starting my search for duck breast.

  • Allan November 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Matt,

    I am starting out making sausage, but…. I live in India in the south where the humidity is high. do you think your setup will be ok for this environment?

    I also have concerns that the meat i will be given in India is a bit dodgy and may not have been handled to proper standards… this is out of my control. recommend anything to counteract additional bacteria?


    • mattwright November 12, 2010 at 4:46 am

      Allan – High (70-80%) humidity is great – higher than that is a problem. Remember if you are curing inside a fridge, the humidity will be different, since the cooling of the fridge reduces humidity in there.

      Good cured meat starts with a good product. You are going to have to get your hands on some well produced, well butchered and handled meat. The whole idea is to start with meat with the lowest bad bacteria count possible. Personally if I couldn’t do that, there is no way I could meat.

      Perhaps contact some higher end restaurants in your area and ask where they get their meats from and contact those suppliers.

  • Ron November 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    can I use a freezer instead of a refrigerator. To make a curing chamber.

  • Alex November 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the blog Matt – very helpful and inspirational. I don’t have space for anything other than a small wine fridge. I managed to buy one with an integrated fan which I’m hoping will provide the conditions needed – all looks good so far – thought others might be interested in how I’m getting on:

    Does this look promising?

  • Peter December 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Great set up! Looking to put this together myself. However seeing as I’m from Canada, I’m having a hard time locating some of the required items. Does anyone know of any Canadian online retailers that carry the products? The temperature and humidity controllers seem to be the most difficult to locate here in Canada. Very strange! Any info woudl be appreciated.

  • Peter December 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Great set up! Anyone know of any Canadian retailers that sell these items. Can’t seem to find the Temperature and Humidity controllers from Canadian retailers.

  • Tub December 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm


    i had the same issue so I have sourced the products in Florida and will be picking them up in a couple of weeks. If you know someone in the states send the products to them and have them shipped to you. If I was not going to Florida I would use the mail a friend method. Now to get that thermostat through security at the airport…..hummmm

  • TC December 12, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Great article, thank you. I am on my third batch of salami, but first time using this method. I read Bertolli’s “Cooking by Hand” and “American Charcuterie”. Both great books with a lot of good info.
    Our first batch of salami (elk and wild pork 100 pounds) we ended up storing in our wine room, but eventually the white mold spread to the wine barrels, so we moved it into our laundry room. Not a bad product, but may have spoiled a bit. The other mistake I made was I vacu-sealed the salamis for storage. What that did was pull a lot of the moisture to the surface and leave the interior a little drier then desired.
    We set up the second batch (wild pork and venison 150 pounds), but the day we were going to do it my daughter was born. All the meat was partially thawed, so I left directions for friends and headed out to the hospital. The batch turned out ok, one of the problems with this batch it sea salt got substituted for kosher salt in the recipe. Sea salt is a lot stronger then kosher salt, and left the salami a bit salty.
    Ok, I just started the third batch the day before yesterday (venison with domestic pork butt 100 pounds), and now it’s time to get serious. I bought a two door “True” brand refrigerator, and a hydrometer. I had a new thermostat installed to raise the temperature range from 35-45 to 40-70 degrees. The new unit seems to work well. I initially had the salami at room temp for 36 hours until the PH dropped to 5. I then applied a white mold culture and set the unit to 55 degrees. I am a bit worried because currently (60 hours into the process) the humidity in the unit is at 90% at 55 degrees. I am hoping this elevation in the humidity is due to the moisture in the salami, being that is the first stage of the drying process. I ran the refrigerator before putting anything in it, and the humidity was about 35% at 55 degrees.
    Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

  • Wade December 17, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Ok, I’m up and running.
    I have a batch of “Salami” in my curing chamber.(thanks for all the great info on how do this) I’m having similiar issues as TC. With the humidity spiking once the meat is hung. I was thinking of mounting an exterior fan to pull the humid air out, through a ventillation whole. With a dehumidifer control switch inside, the chamber.
    Any suggestions on the fermentation set up? My space is limited.

  • TC December 18, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I ended up just cracking the doors and putting an additional electric 12″ fan on the bottom. That seems to have done the trick. My humidity is sitting at 70% and my temp is about 50-52 degrees. A nice white mold have begun to form and I am off and running. As a result of the initial high humidity (which the meat was only exposed to for about 2 days) a few patches of bad mold formed which I whipped off with white vinegar.
    Next batch I am going to hang them a while longer in the curing phase, until the PH hits 5 or less and the casings are dry or tacky to the touch.

  • Dylan December 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Any advice out there…..
    I’m 2 weeks into curing some toscano style salami and a chorizo. I have developed some greyish/green mold, which I wiped off with a vinegar wash, per a couple of references I have. I now have more white mold, but the other molds are returning and I have a pretty strong odor emanating from the curgin box (aka an old refrigerator). Is this batch a lost cause? Any input would be appreciated.

  • Brett December 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Hi, i’m just starting out on this adventure of curing meat, living in Melbourne Australia, and wondering does anyone know if the digital hygrometer, Humidifier Controller and humidifier can be purchased from the states and be shipped to Oz? Also, approx how long does the meat curing take place in the fridge from start to eating stage?
    Cheers any info would help.

  • TC December 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I say don’t worry. If the “fuzzy” mold is on top of your white mold you should be just fine. The white mold will stop the bad mold from seeping into the casing. Drop your humidity down, what is it at now? When I develop bad mold on top of the white mold I wipe it down lightly with vinegar. About half of the white mold will stay on there, and the bad will be removed.

  • Ron December 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    when curing is done what is the best way to perserve meat. Vac seal and freeze whole?. Slice and vac seal and freeze?,or keep it hanging ?

  • TC December 31, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I wrap it in butcher paper and just keep it cool. I would say don’t vacu-seal it. I have done that in the past and it pulls a lot of the oil to the exterior of the casing.

  • Jeff December 31, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I really want to do this but I have a question. You specify that a frost-free refrigerator should be used. I actually have a fridge I’m considering replacing with a more energy efficient model. I would like to hack the old fridge as you suggest but it isn’t frost-free. Is that important?

    • mattwright December 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      Jeff – have a go. That is what I say! Hack it up, do what you need, and try it out. Many people have very different setups – most are using some kind of old fridge. My suggestion is to run the thing for 48hours at curing temps (55F) to see how your humidity and so on is working out – and whether you get frost build up (I doubt you will to be honest).

  • Shane January 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve got my setup together with all of the items you’ve listed above. Everything that is, except the fan. I’ve just turned everything on. I’m noticing that everytime I open the frig to check the temp. & humidity the humidity is usually over 90% even though my Dayton Humidifier Controller is set to 75%. Is this normal? BTW: The frig is a frost free unit.


  • Peter January 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Just got my old fridge all set up! I had a few questions. Several websites are claiming that a safe curing temperature would be anything between 36-40Β° F (2-5Β° C). They claim that anything above that and your meat will get spoiled by bad bacteria. Any thoughts on that?

    Right now I have my fridge set-up in my basement cellar and the temperature in the fridge is about 47F (8C), and I was looking at means of bringing that up to your suggested range. 50F-60F. Just a little confused about the temperature.


  • mattwright January 7, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Peter – for curing (where the meat sits in salt) those temperatures are correct – preferably 36F, not higher (regular fridge temp). For the air drying stage, 50-60F is the norm – personally I like around 53F.

  • Seth January 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this write-up — so many questions I’ve had, answered in one place. One final one: Do you think the humidifier set-up will work in a large-ish mini fridge? It’s not one of those tiny square ones, but it’s about a third the capacity of a real fridge, and I just have this image of water-sprayed meat. I have no experience with ultrasonic humidifiers, so maybe I’m picturing the mist heavier than it actually is? Thanks very much for any advice!

    • mattwright January 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Seth – If you absolutely want to use a mini fridge, you could, but I personally don’t recommend using a small fridge, especially if you are new to curing. The more air you have around your hanging meat the better. A larger fridge is more forgiving if you don’t have perfect air flow and circulation. If a small fridge gets too humid, you can get bad mold pretty quickly.

      If you do use a small fridge, you might not even need a humidifier in there, depending on how much meat you put in. Meat straight out of the cure has a lot of moisture in it, and can raise the humidity in a small chamber quite a bit – all by itself. Have a small ultrasonic humidifier just in case, but you might not need one.

      I have seen small humidifiers that actually run off a plastic water bottle – that would be the most appropriate I think for your space.

  • Mark January 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Do you have suggestions on minimum size requirements for a fridge? I live in a rather small apartment and don’t have the space for a full-on curing chamber. Also, any thoughts on using an old wine refrigerator?


    • mattwright January 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm

      I personally wouldn’t go any smaller than a normal sized fridge. The more air you have in there, the better. If you do go smaller, make sure you have a fan in there drawing the damp air out, otherwise you will very quickly run in to some nasty bad mold issues.

      I use a large old wine refrigerator – but It is about 6ft tall, 2.5ft wide.

  • PforrestePete January 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    hello, new to all of this but am bursting with enthusiasm to get started. This may sound like a silly question but would you actually keep the fridge door open if it was in a cool enough area? It would certainly help the air flow, I’m just not sure if it would result in the fridge working overtime to maintain the desired temp and the same with the humidifier. Thanks and happy curing all.

    • mattwright January 14, 2011 at 4:28 am

      I generally keep the fridge door open a crack, or you can also drill holes in the side of the fridge too. If you open it too far however, your humidifier will be going constantly, which isn’t good.

  • Brandon January 15, 2011 at 7:26 am


    I notice on another page of your site that you show a curing chamber setup with a light sitting on the bottom of the chamber. Is that a light just for the picture or are you using it for a specific purpose like heat? If so how do you have it setup? Is it plugged into the humidifier controller along with the fan?

    I also have space restrictions and am looking at using a wine fridge. I am going to study it hard after I setup all the gadgets inside to see how much humidity and what temperature it will stay at without opening the door. Then if I leave a gap and how large of a gap will be needed to keep in a good range. All this before I start a single batch. I will keep you posted.

    Thank you,


    • mattwright January 16, 2011 at 5:33 am

      hi Brandon –
      The light is for the strict purpose of heat, during fermentation. I actually now recommend against using a heat bulb like this one, since I had one explode inside the chamber because of the humidity. 10lb of salami in the trash. Now I suggest using a ceramic heat bulb.

      The bulb is plugged in to a temperature controller. You set a certain temp on the controller and it turns the light bulb on/off to maintain that temp. very snazzy.

      Pretty soon I am going to do a post on setting up a fermentation chamber.

      With the wine fridge you are absolutely going to want some kind of air flow in there. whether you drill a couple of holes in the side, or leave the door open a tiny bit, you need some way of getting that humid air out, and fresh air in.

  • Peter February 2, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Hey Matt,

    I put this set up together several weeks ago and I now have several lonzino curing.

    I just noticed that the humidity reading on my digital hygrometer is never the same or even close to the humidty reading on the hygrostat. I have the same models as mentioned above. Would you have any idea why this may be? I also purchased the calibration kit for the hygrometer and made sure it was well calibrated.

  • matt February 2, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Peter – Yep, that actually totally makes sense, I have the same thing with mine. So here is the thing – humidity controllers are typically pretty inaccurate when it comes to measuring humidity well. They are really good at turning something on and off when a certain humidity is reached, however for an accurate reading you want to rely on your hygrostat, which should be much more accurate.

    What I do is look at the reading on my hygrostat and then just adjust the HC (humidity controller) in small increments to get the reading I want on the hygrostat. Hygrostat says 85% humidity? OK I am going to knock down the HC by 7% or so – no matter what it reads.

    You will also find that for some reason most HC’s need some airflow to operate accurately. Why is this? Honestly, I have no idea.

    Trust your hygrostat (but it is worth testing its accuracy for sure – I test mine every 6 months), not your HC. Also it should be noted that you will get quite a lot of fluctuation in humidity inside your chamber. This is totally normal, don’t do what I did and spend countless hours trying to keep it perfectly at 75% humidity. Waste of time. As long as your humidity fluctuates between 65-80% life is good.

  • David February 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Any place where one can purchase a fermanting chamber already to use??

  • Matt February 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Would an upright freezer work? I have access to one and figure it would work on the same principle as the fridge. The temperature control will just cycle it on and off. Also, it has a lot of room so I do not lose space from having a fridge/freezer combo.

    • mattwright February 23, 2011 at 5:42 am

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The only thing I can think of right now as to why it wouldn’t is that some freezers cool the space differently to how fridges do. I have no idea if that will impact the humidity inside the chamber. Should work fine though.

  • pat February 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Dear Matt,
    I have managed to get the humidity to 56-57degrees and 70 percent humidity which are recommended temperatues. The sausages look beautiful on the outside, however are soft and hollow on the inside after three weeks. Do you have any suggerstions or answers as to why this is happening?.

    • mattwright February 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      pat – give them some time. Your temp and humidity sound perfect. Do they feel really hard on the outside, but soft inside?

  • pat February 23, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    yes they do , but they are hallow inside…also it is hard to find the equipment you listed here in Canada. So I put a remote humidistat and a remote thermostat to control the temperature and humidity. 120vlt receptacle for humidistat and a baseboard heater thgermostat. hope that is helpful for someone who cannot find the equipment listed.

  • Dan March 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Very interested in curing meat as I have recently picked up a 3 door stainlesss steel cooler that would work for this. I am just unsure of how to set it up. I currently am building a revers flow smoker from a water tank and will start on the stainles once it’s finished. Ideas?

    • mattwright March 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Dan – you need to see what temp. range the cooler works in. If it generally works around 36F, you might be able to get a different temp control module for it that would mean it could natively run at 50F, which is what you want for curing. If you cannot do that, you can use an external temp controller.

  • Clark April 8, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Excellent guidelines. Now to scout out a used fridge and figure out where I want to put it…

    I’m currently in the process of losing my pancetta cherry, per instructions I found on Michael Ruhlman’s website. Right now, I’ve had the pork belly salted and in a ziplock back in the refrigerator. Since I don’t have a climate control apparatus right now, I plan to test my luck and hang it in a spare closet to dry.

    I noticed today when I turned the pork belly that there is a lot of liquid in the bag now. Should I be draining this off, or just let it brine in its own juices?

    • mattwright April 12, 2011 at 3:51 am

      some drain it off, others leave it. personally I leave it.

  • Robert April 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Matt,

    I have just started doing home Charcuterie. The setup you have shown is fantastic and I am hoping to get my own done soon. But I am having big problems getting certain bits. Being in England when I click the temperature controller link it is on the American Amazon site and I can’t get it shipped over here. I have tried searching for the the same thing on the UK one and on Google but I can’t find anything. Do you know anywhere in England that I can get the right parts? Or what other names it might be called? Many thanks in advance for your help.


  • ptw April 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Hi Matt,

    Hello from Scotland.

    Excellent instructions on how to convert a fridge. I, like Robert, am having some difficulty sourcing parts here in the UK, but come hell or high water I will find them I’m sure. I am at present curing a kilo of prk belly in my loft – has been hanging at temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and between 55% and 70% humidity. It smells ‘nice’ and has been hanging for some 3 weeks. Has small peices of white mould on it (it’s wrapped in muslin, as per Lindy Wildsmith’s recipe) and is due to be cut on the 7th of May. Excited as hell, but wish to convert an old fridge so as to be able to cure/dry all year round. Keep up your good work.

    • mattwright April 29, 2011 at 4:32 am

      PTW – be careful with temps around 70F mate, that is too high to cure meat. 60F and below are safest.

  • Epicuranoid May 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Great post, I’m really enjoying your blog Matt. I can’t believe I haven’t run across it until this week. I have an really nice open place with plenty of airspace, so I only use a fridge for curing opposed to drying in one. However, I would think that a fan would be pretty much necessary in a small space with a humidifier, as you wouldn’t want any moisture to collect on your meat while the humidifier was running and moving air would prevent this. Then you have the issue of all these mechanics adding heat, the refer comes on more, extracting heat drys the air, humidifier comes on, it’s a tricky little cycle. Thus the bigger the space (fridge in this case) the more stable the atmosphere, and the more predictable (hahaha) the outcome:)

  • SteveW May 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Matt,
    I started my dry-curing adventures last week. I went with the ‘Rolls-Royce’ option – old fridge, temperature controller, humidity controller and humidifier. Bresaola went in on Sunday night, pepperoni & chorizo on Wednesday night. Temperature has been holding at a nice 60F, but the HC has been reading “HI” (over 90%) for a day and a half, now. I’ve had about half a dozen spots of the white-fuzzy stuff on the bresaola, which were quickly dispatched with a brine-wash.

    I’m trying to get the humidity down as fast as possible. I cracked the door for a few hours with a fan pushing the air out and I’m working on cutting a vent-hole in the side-wall – which is challenging with a fridge full of meat. None of them has started working yet. I’m looking for a low-power fan to generate some air-circulation inside the box.

    After the mold-issue, is the high humidity going to endanger my product? How long do I have to get his under control?


    • mattwright May 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Steve. This is a pretty typical situation when you bung a bunch of wet meat into the fridge. Personally I actually leave the door open a crack all the time, during these early stages. A small fan in there to help circulate the air is a good idea too. A long term solution is to cut a 4″ diameter hole in the side of the fridge. Over this mount a 12V DC computer fan (Radioshack has these). Wire this in to a variable voltage AC/DC converter. By changing the voltage on the converter you can change the fan speed. I have mine hooked up to a humidity controller – when the humidity gets too high, the fan turns on. You can go a cheaper route however and just have it hooked up to a timer – start with it being on for 1 hour, then off 1 hour – see how that goes.

      High humidity with no air exchange can be a big problem. Bad mold can grow very quickly in that atmosphere. I had this situation last year, and within 24hours had black mold all over one newly introduced salami. Leave the door open a crack all the time whilst you gather your materials for the fan. Then, just hang the meat in the kitchen/wherever for a couple of hours whilst you install the fan etc.