The 10 Best Salamis will Cure Your Hunger

Salami has been a tangy and fatty constant throughout my life; it goes into so many of my favorite meals. Salami is a spectacular component in a brightly acidic chopped salad with red onions, pepperoncini, and Italian dressing. It’s iconic in my favorite pasta salad. It provides necessary meatiness to a briny artichoke and olive antipasto. Friend, even my favorite sandwich in the entire world, the muffuletta, has salami in it. The best pizza I’ve ever had? It was in Portugal, made by a guy named Tiago, and it featured salami and tangy peppers. Good salami is also delicious eaten plain with some red wine and Parmesan cheese. But let’s be honest, most of the time I pair it with nothing at all—just my bare hands in the middle of the night when I’m fending off hunger pangs.

For this taste test, we looked for quality. I repeat, we want quality salami. While I think food should be cheap and accessible, I also think that the food industry should be less centralized, particularly when it comes to meat. As a result, I’m partial to smaller companies that provide a great, natural salami product that’s big on flavor. But I was also surprised by how well a big brand like Oscar Meyer held up to our high salami standards. As far as flavor, we want salami to be fatty and salty, yes, but it should also taste like meat. Porky notes were important; we didn’t want this to taste like a weird, homogeneous meat mixture. Additional flavors from pepper, fennel, paprika, and chili peppers were also welcome. Here are ten salamis we’ll be stacking our sandwiches with in the very near future.

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best salami

Best of the Best

Foustman’s Hot Toscano Salami

Foustman’s is a hot seller on Amazon and a family owned business in the Bay Area of California specializing in artisanal salami. Apparently, San Francisco provides the perfect temperature for curing meats, so salami is quite popular there. All of Foustman’s products are superbly rich and flavorful, but the Hot Toscano really warmed our hearts. This tastes just like Calabrian chiles—there is such a wonderfully tangy heat embedded into every tiny morsel of this artisanal pork sausage. There are some subtle garlic notes happening here, too. The flavor of this sausage is just off the charts. I think it’s the best snacking sausage, and although it’s quite small for a sandwich, you can throw it on pizzas, dice it up to put into pastas, or just go to town with it on some fancy crackers and cheese. It’s available on Amazon, and via their website, with free shipping on orders over $25.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Spiced

Foustman’s Fennel and Pepper Salami

The fennel and pepper flavor here is excellent; this smells and tastes like Italian sausage in dried salami form. Fennel and pork is a classic dynamic duo, and the fennel’s anise-like, peppery notes complement the salty and fatty pork extremely well. This is just a great product—it tastes like high quality farm raised pork. Add some slices of Foustman’s Fennel and Pepper to a meat and cheese board if you’ve got money to spend. I’d also cook with this—add it to a hash, or use it as a base for a nice pasta sauce like arrabiata. I even liked Foustman’s lamb sausage, although it didn’t make this list. These are on the pricey side, but $15 for a stick of salami this good is reasonable.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best salami

Best for a Sandwich

Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami

Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami is smooth, fatty, and melts in your mouth. It’s nice and salty, and aromatics like garlic and pepper give it extra flavor. Weirdly enough, this salami also contains swiss chard powder, an addition I’d never spotted in a list of ingredients. I suppose it’s there to add some extra bitterness and earthiness. Anyway, Applegate’s texture is just delightful. Salami should melt in your mouth, taste porky, and have subtle hints of added spices. This accomplishes all three. Use this confidently and make your best salami sandwich. Go ahead, I dare you!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Hard Salami

Boar’s Head Sliced Hard Salami

Boar’s Head Sliced Hard Salami has the proper amount of fat for a hard salami, as in, a lot of it. It has slightly more fat than Applegate, and you can really taste it. The pork flavor of this salami is really strong, and it’s also nice and salty like you’d expect. Boar’s Head feels decadent without being too heavy. You can make appetizers with this, or throw it on a sandwich. Lots of wonderful versatility with Boar’s Head hard salami.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Fatty

Fiorucci Uncured Sliced Hard Salami

Fiorucci Sliced Hard Salami is so fatty that it’s a treat. It’s also really toothsome and tastes like pork, not some mysterious and suspicious meat mixture. You can rip these slices apart with your teeth like an animal. The main selling point, though, is the wonderful fat. Truly, when you eat salami at close to room temperature it becomes so decadent and smooth—it just melts in your mouth. You might be saying, “Room temperature salami?!” Yeah, you can eat it at room temperature. I almost prefer it that way. Don’t leave it out too long, but overall, I feel when salami is served cold, it detracts from the wonderfully decadent texture and flavor. I described this one as “meat butter.” Do with that information what you will.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best with Mustard

Trader Joe’s Salame Di Parma Mild Salami

There are a lot of different flavors here which work in unison to produce a pleasantly mild, salty, and fatty salami. Trader Joe’s Salame di Parma also melts in your mouth a bit, but it still maintains a nice, rippable texture that you can sink your teeth into. This salami is sebaceous, substantial, and spiced—the type of thing that pairs excellently with some creamy dijon and pickles. This is definitely cheese board worthy, but I’d also let some slices of this sit out at room temperature for a bit and serve them on Triscuits.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Peppery

Columbus Italian Dry Salame

Columbus’ Italian Dry Salame has a wonderful pepper kick and a slight hint of garlic. It’s made with some red wine, so there’s an additional bitter, funky flavor, too. This dry salami is also a tad sweet, which helps tame the other bold flavors. Of all the Columbus salami products we tried, this was our favorite. It’s got a great pepper flavor that adds a welcomed kick to the fatty pork. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Game Meat

Creminelli Wild Boar Salami

This is one that I brought home with me, and I’ll tell you why: It has all the wonderful funk of game meat without any of the offputting tang. This Texas wild boar product is tamed well with salt and fat. Also, wild boars are an invasive species in Texas, and Creminelli touts that their animals are humanely raised with no antibiotics or synthetic nitrates (I talked to a chef I love, Jesse Griffiths, all about this). The flavor here is really great and subtle. It’s definitely made to be included on a charcuterie board of some kind. Plus, you can feel good about purchasing a product this sustainable—and delicious. Personally, I love wild boar.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best salami

Best Budget

Oscar Mayer Hard Salami

Honestly, for the price? This is a pretty damn good product. I was ready to scoff at Oscar Mayer Hard Salami (their Cotto Salami was disgustingly bad), but this is a fatty, salty cold cut that I can easily see in a sandwich. It’s hard salami, so it’s supposed to be a little bit drier than Genoa, but it still maintains a nice, soft texture that will go great with cheese and bread. Oscar Mayer’s hard salami is deliciously smokey and salty. It may not be as high quality as some of the salamis on this list, but it’s hard to differentiate it from other pre-sliced salamis, and the price is great.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best salami

Best with Parmesan

Trader Joe’s Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami

I was so pleasantly surprised by this cased salami. It has a wonderfully bitter, sweet, and aromatic red wine flavor. And the pork flavor is really strong, as well. A lot of salami tastes like some weird, homogenous meat mixture that feels far removed from the actual animal it was made from, but not this. Trader Joe’s Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami is nice and winey with a strong meat flavor. This would go great with some sharp, salty, hard cheese like Parmesan or even some sharp cheddar.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Gallo Italian Dry Salame, Columbus Genoa, Columbus Peppered, Oscar Meyer Cotto, Dietz & Watson Genoa, Boar’s Head Bianca D’Oro Stick, Boar’s Head Genoa Stick, Foustman’s Lamb + Garlic

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • Pickles, salami, cheese… are we going to get an Official Sporked Charcuterie Board Suggestion?

    Reply
  • Applegate uses swiss chard powder as a curing agent (celery powder is also common) because those vegetables are high in natural nitrates/nitrites. Is it truly “uncured”? That’s for you to decide.

    https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/19106-to-cure-or-not-to-cure

    Reply