Berkshire Culatello 2022 Transition to 2nd Winter Phase

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indaswamp

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Apr 27, 2017
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Well, I am actually doing 2 of them this year. It is 3rd week of October so that means it is Culatello time! Big front rolled through and it'll be 35* for the low tonight. Called my butcher-yep, they have fresh legs...butchered pigs Saturday so super fresh!
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Got home and got to work extracting the Culatello out of both hams. The Culatello is the muscle group off the back portion of the thigh, and trimmed in a natural pear shape.
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I weighed out the coarse Trapani Sea Salt and coarse half peppercorns. I am doing a traditional cure on these, not an eqilibrium cure. I am using 3.25% sea salt and 0.5% half peppercorns.
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Will massage with garlic infused wine every day for the next 4-5 days, then case in pig bladder and truss. Hang in my old chamber 0-5*C for 23 days. Then adjust the temp. according to the drying schedule. As the salt migrates in, it will push moisture out along with 0.3-0.5% of the salt. The Culatello will lose 4-5% or more water just from the salt driving into the meat. This will help speed the drying of the Culatello so that by June\July 2023 it will have lost 30-35% weight and be ready for the summer phase.

The traditional wine used is a semi dry Lambrusco. That proved very difficult to source locally so I went with this one as a substitute. It's 60% Barbara 40% Bonarda grapes...a dry fizz wine. I tasted it and it is a good wine for a fizz wine.
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Here is the first one rubbed with garlic infused wine then rubbed down with the salt and Black Pepper...
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Will case, then truss in 4-5 days...See y'all then....thanks for looking...
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So, one of the hams had a 2" long, 2" deep poke from a knife right in the middle of the Culatello section. It was not from me or my knives, bought it like that from the butcher. With the new people at the butcher shop, I should have closely inspected both hams so it is on me. A deep gash like that is not good when doing a whole muscle, but I watched an Italian Norcini prepare a proscuitto that had a deep gash and what he did was clean the cut with wine and then pack it with coarse sea salt....so that is what I did before I tied the muscle group up. The cut ran so that the pressure from the twine will keep it closed. Once in the bladder and trussed tightly, the meat should fuse back together and with the salt, I should be OK....
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Will be making Modenese, and strolghino Salami tomorrow with all the trim from the Hams and the recent pancetta I put to cure.
 
I ordered 4Kg. of coarse Trapani Sea Salt from the salt flats off the Sicilian coast of Italy...This is what is used in Culatello and Prosciutto.
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I also sourced some Larger bladders for this years Culatello....dried 10kilo bladders from Craft Butchers Pantry. I rehydrated those last night in water with a little vinegar. Will let those hydrate for a week and they should be supple and ready to go when it is time to case.
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Well after 4.5 days on salt, it was time to truss the smaller of the two Culatello I am drying this year. The other one is exactly 500 grams heavier so will let it go on salt another 12 hours, will case and truss in the morning.
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I really like how this one turned out! I impressed myself! The large bladder made the difference! I was able to shape it as I stitched the bladder up. And after watching the Maestro; Mossimo Spigaroli many, many, many, times- I picked up on all the subtle nuances on tying Culatello..


 
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More pics...
The rehydrated bladder next to a sharpie pen for reference...
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The 10kilo bladder next to the Culatello. This one weighed in at 4,3 kilos. The Culatello they make in Italy are 2-3X that size....
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Culatello in the bladder...it'll fit for sure!
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Bladder sewn up tight and shaped where I could...
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Couple more pics. of the Culatello trussed...
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Hanging in my old chamber @ 32-41*F; 80%RH for the next 21 days....
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I've heard horror stories from people trying to work with dried bladders. But knowing how to handle hog sausage casings, I got these soaking in water with just a touch of vinegar as soon as they arrived at my door. LEt them soak for 7 days, changing the water twice. I had no problems at all...they even stretched a little. Very pleased with how they worked out. Will continue to use them in the future. I will be making Culatello every October from now on until my body just won't let me do it any more! LOL!! The complex aroma coming off the one I have in summer fermentation now is intoxicating! So intense!!!!
 
indaswamp indaswamp really amazing thread, great photos! Thanks for bringing us along on this process!
Thanks D Dave in AZ ... It took me 2 years of digging around on the Internet to find enough information on Culatello to feel confident I can replicate it. Drying in natural open air, there is a reason for everything they do. And I pieced it all together. Eurika moment happend though about 2 months ago when I stumbled upon an obscure paper from 1963 on the microbiota population on the Culatello during the drying phases. That one little gem was a gold mine!

These will be ready April 2024 at the earliest......
 
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Wow Keith, great thread, and like I have said before . You have a great skill and a lot of patience.
I am tagging in to follow, hope I am still here to see the final product

To be honest , I had to look up Culatello. Now I know and want to have some
Culatello is one of Italy's best known and most prized salumi. It comes from the province of Parma and is made by curing only the rear muscle of the haunch ..

David
 
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fun to follow your work, you make it look very good!
Thanks tbern! Check back in....this will be a long one.

Wow Keith, great thread, and like I have said before . You have a great skill and a lot of patience.
I am tagging in to follow, hope I am still here to see the final product

To be honest , I had to look up Culatello. Now I know and want to have some
Culatello is one of Italy's best known and most prized salumi. It comes from the province of Parma and is made by curing only the rear muscle of the haunch ..

David
Thanks David! Culatello is Italy's most prized Salumi. Take the best proscuitto and dial that up to 11 then you might come close to the flavor bomb that is Culatello.....dried correctly that is. The process and the place is what makes it; humid cold fall and winter, brutally hot and stifling humid summer.

I'm not just trying to dry it successfully....I'm trying to recreate the conditions for the intense flavor to develop.
 
I'm not just trying to dry it successfully....I'm trying to recreate the conditions for the intense flavor to develop.
Like I said amazing and patient. Just wow

The process and the place is what makes it; humid cold fall and winter, brutally hot and stifling humid summer.


David
 
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