Meet the prosecutor who cures huge slabs of pork in his basement // Secret Life

Rick Visca
As much as 100 pounds of salami at a time

By Jeremy Freed

On Tuesday May 30th, 2017


Forget the monogrammed towels and fancy soaps. Rick Visca often decorates the basement washroom in his house with something far more beautiful, at least in his opinion: dozens of sausages hanging from a steel rack. “I sometimes have as much as 100 pounds of salami curing,” says the federal Crown prosecutor, rattling off an extensive inventory of home-cured meats currently aging in his basement. Salami goes in the bathroom because it only ferments in intense humidity. Visca fills the tub with warm water and puts a towel under the door to lock in the moisture.

Rick Visca

Rick Visca, Public Prosecution Service of Canada

“I like the product, I enjoy the taste and I like being able to do all of this stuff by hand,” says Visca, who grew up making sausages with his parents. Since embarking on his own meat-curing experiments seven years ago, this dedicated foodie — his other toys include an eight-burner stove, an outdoor pizza oven and a Brazilian churrasco grill — has learned how to make a dazzling repertoire of homemade charcuterie. Among his favourites are smoked duck breast, coppa and garlic-and-paprika-spiked chorizo sausage. He makes the sausage in batches of at least 40 pounds.

The basic curing process involves aging and drying out meat — pork, most often — to make it more flavourful. But the real secret is the beneficial mould, which Visca buys online and applies to the meat casings by hand. This both prevents bad mould and gives the salami its umami taste. “Moulds can really impart some interesting flavours into the meat.”

Visca may be a fan of all things salty and porcine, but there’s only so much salami one man can consume. “In truth, I give away more than I eat,” he admits. The rest goes to friends and family. Visca also hosts charcuterie nights for his colleagues, among
whom he is surely quite popular.

Precedent Summer 2017 IssueThis story is from our Summer 2017 issue.




Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth. Makeup by Mark Jordy Gonzales.