Monday, February 14, 2011

Culatello update

As promised, here it is. This was a bit labor intensive, but, it sure looks good. After curing for 3 weeks, I removed it and scraped off excess salt. I then gave it a bath in red wine for about 10 minutes. Then, the fun started. I stuffed this in a beef bladder. When I removed the beef bladder, I immediately felt a little uneasy. I thought, "oh, no way that thing is getting in there, that's ridiculous." I soaked the bladder in warm water for about 20 minutes. It stretched some, but, even then I thought I was going to be stuffing 10lbs. of shit into a 5lb. bag.......still no way. I proceeded to fill the bladder with water and hold it up, getting it to stretch out a little. I emptied it out and filled it up again. I performed this mundane task 4 times. Finally, I made the decision that if it wasn't going to fit now, it wasn't going to fit, period. I had to cut it down the middle to squeeze it in. Amazingly, it was wide enough to accommodate the culatello. The issue I know faced was it wasn't quite long enough. I had to stretch the end, pulling and turning, pulling and turning. I got out the trussing needle and magically trussed it shut. It looked a bit ugly, but, at least I got it closed. Now on to the fun part.......the tying. I'm not sure I can effectively describe the tying process, so, have a look here this exactly how I learned. Using hemp twine, basically, it's 4 vertical passes, which becomes 8 lines going around the culatello. At that point you start the horizontal passes. Starting from the top, you work horizontally, tying a half hitch around every one of the 8 vertical passes, spiraling your way all the way to the bottom. My horizontal passes are a little wide, I should have done more. But, my verticals are great, they stayed put as I ran my way around doing the horizontals. I think it's pretty impressive for just my second effort. I sprayed it with some mold spray and left it to "ferment" for about 24 hours. I hung it on Friday morning, 2/11/11(says it right on the label). There it will hang for 9-12 months. Look for me to cut into it sometime around Thanksgiving. Sounds waaaaay too long for me.