... And for your question, tristar, temperature is very important. That's why refrigeration was such a revolution. The better you can control the temperature, the better things will turn out.
It's just that we carry out our innoculation at elevated temperatures for an extended period of time, I would have assumed that as our ph decreased and our cured sausages dry they would become more resistant to bacterial growth rather than less.
Michael himself says in the book that humidity control is more important than temperature control I believe. I was just curious about how important temperature control is, as I said in my original post the locally dried meats are dried in the sun, and in South Africa Biltong is dried without the benefits of refrigeration!
Richard, I think you are over-interpreting the single sentence in Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book (P 175) "Humidity is the critical factor and the one most difficult to control."
It is critical, but I understand that is even more important that the temperature be "cool", certainly much cooler than your 30C (86F) ambient.
Just how cool isn't terribly critical (as long as it is cool). Exactly how humid *is* critical.
My understanding is cheerfully simplistic.
Things aren't 'cured' (preserved) until the curing is finished.
I think your understanding of the different functions of the curing components may be a little off.
The acidification (from the incubated culture) and the Prague Powder (Nitrate and Nitrite) is about (taste and colour considerations apart) protecting primarily against Botulism. Not *all* the other possible nasty wee beasties that can 'spoil' the meat.
Most of the others can be dealt with by raising the concentration of salt in the meat. Much of the raising of the salt concentration is done by water removal, drying.
*After* enough water has been removed, what remains is too salty for the majority of moulds and bacteria. So the meat is preserved. Yet it remains somewhat soft and very slightly moist.
But *until* enough water has gone, during the days, weeks or months of curing (pepperoni, salami or whole hams) - you need to look after it. Not least by keeping it cool.
The brief excursion to "warm" temperatures for culture incubation is a necessary evil of that process (although there are other ways of acidifying salami). Warmth encourages all sorts of stuff to flourish - which is why you wouldn't eat it until its dried enough, to be salty enough to kill them off.
I think the comparison with Biltong is plain false.
That ends up as a *very* dry product. Brittle. Would you want salami that dry?
Biltong is a *dried* as opposed to an *air-cured* product.
Different process. Different result.
Its best not to divert this particular thread by discussing the 'how' of practical climate control!
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan