Monday, November 14, 2011

Schulterspeck/Speck di Spalla/Shoulder speck

I was fortunate enough to be bequeathed some more Mangalitsa to cure by Michael. Among the several cuts I received was a shoulder. Prior to receiving said shoulder, I planned on making a Spalla Cotta, which is a cured, then cooked shoulder stuffed in a bladder. Well, plans have a funny way of changing. The shoulder I received was more akin to the cut used for leg speck. I was told that the coppa was removed and it was basically flattened, as pictured. In my suspension of disbelief, I skinned it, still thinking I could roll it and tie it and make the aforementioned salume. What a friggin mistake. I knew it, too,

even before I did it. I mean, it was abundantly apparent that Spalla Cotta was no longer a possibility. Oh well. So, here I am with a skinless piece of shoulder that is unsuitable for Spalla Cotta. Now, due to it's being skinned has become less suitable for anything for w
hich it would have been suitable had I left the skin ON. Make sense? It will. I went home and pored over all my books, researched German language Italian websites(odd, I know),
and consulted some Italian salumi forums, the best of which being this one. I knew that in Sudtirol, that they make speck with almost
every cut. I also knew that they did make speck with this actual cut. The problem is finding enough detail to actually make it. With some help over at the Italian forum, combined with my research, I found something concrete. I decided to go with rosemary, garlic, allspice and black pepper as my seasoning, as seen in this terribly non descriptive picture. Further research revealed that the smoke should be provided by beech wood, which I've subsequently purchased. In about 2 weeks, this will hit the smoke, along with s
ome other new salumi, like speck di carre or karreespeck and speck di coppa. I'll be writing about those in the near future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For those of you interested..........

I have acquired several of the strange, obscure and hard to find casings. I will list them and then link where I used them. Among the casings are hog middles(Salame Mugnano and 'nduja recently), hog middle end caps('nduja), hog bladders(2 sizes, boccia al finocchio), hog bung ends(I haven't used, but they look really nice for salame), and beef bladders(culatello). Anyone interested, please email me:, they are NOT listed at the store. Thanks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Culatello results

Just a short 7 and a half months after I put it in to cure, it's ready. Typically, culatelli cure for a longer period of time. However, this felt pretty firm after the aforementioned time. Prompted by Jason to cut it open, I went for it. I was more than a little surprised, a bit dismayed, even. It was really firm, too firm. It was so lean, it overdried. Shame on me for not weighing it and tracking it's weight loss. I assumed that I would just remove it at it's 10 month birthday. I guess I won't be making that mistake again. It tastes just fine, quite mild and salty. It's just so excrutiatingly lean and very dry. Nowhere near the texture of culatelli I've tried int the past. So, somewhat disappointed by my ineptitude, I just left it in the chamber, slicing a bunch off to eat from time to time. Fast forward a month, and about midway through the culatello, it transformed. It became something better and exciting. It softened greatly and intensified in color and took on the appearance of a real culatello. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I had something to do with it, the middle just has a larger circumference. It is a completely different animal from the culatello into which I cut initially. While still a lean piece of meat, it does appear to have a bit more fat in the section pictured. So, it would seem a successful project. Definitely worthy of another go, no more commercial practice meat. I'll see if I can get my hands on a Mangalitsa leg.