Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Culatello – Tasting Notes

20120121-IMG_6733 It was a long journey, but the culatello is finally ready. Actually, it was ready about 4 months ago. We cut into it to celebrate the birth of my son as it just happened to have lost enough weight by then and felt hard enough to go for it. It lost a total of about 40% weight in about 7 or 8 months in the curing chamber. I guess I was so excited to taste it that I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing before cutting it!

20120121-IMG_6727

Here is a nice picture of the culatello after being cut. This is about 1/2 (excluding what i’ve eaten). The other 1/2 was taken by my brother and quickly devoured.

There was a small air pocket on the top left which I think is where I cut around the bone. Luckily it didn’t affect anything. Next time I’ll be sure to clean up loose flaps of meat

20120121-IMG_6734 Backside of the culatello. It molded up nicely on the areas where there was meat contact with the casing. Where there were thick layers of fat the mold didn’t grown, which is something I’ve noticed before on other meats too.
20120121-IMG_6745 Sliced and ready to eat. So good. So, so good.

Overall it’s delicious. Really really fantastic. The aroma is intoxicating. It smells like old caves and ancient places. It’s has a nice strong flavor sort of like a prosciutto but with some added……funk. It’s hard to describe. It’s very tender. There is a small ring on the outermost edge which is just a little harder. I think if i had followed the traditional method to wrap the culatello in a wine soaked cloth for a couple days before cutting it would have softened it. I may still do that.

The flavor is much better than the fiocco, The additional waiting time was certainly worth it. It’s a more mild flavor than fiocco and quite different. Somewhat surprising to me given that they both came from the leg, just opposite sides. The fiocco has more “funk” and this has more meaty, pork flavor. Not sure if it’s due to the different casing or the additional time. Just like for the fiocco I think a nice pasture raised hog would make a big difference here.

26 comments:

Sean said...

Pretty please submit to Punk Domestics?

Ken Albala said...

Well congratualtions! On the son and the ham! It looks magnificent. I just put up some coppa that I think will look very much like yours. I guess I'll have to see what you did.

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Ken

Avi said...

Hello Jason,

Culatello looks great! I have question I am hoping you can help me with. I have always sprayed mold on my salami and always gotten a beautiful bloom. After the salami is ready what is the best way of storing it without loosing the bloom or moisture. I usually vacpac to prevent moisture loss, but lose the bloom from lack of air. Can you suggest any other methods of storage that addresses mold and moisture issues? Thanks in advance.

Jasonmolinari said...

Avi, seems to me those 2 are mutually exclusive. You need air for the mold to stay alive, but no air to prevent further drying....
i put them in a zip bag.

grass fed beef manitoba said...

Are the pictures of the cuts from grass fed animals? Just curious

Jasonmolinari said...

This is from a commercial pig.

Walter Little, Jr. said...

I'm just learning the finer points of being a "foodie" and learning to appreciate really good smoked meat. Please educate me by telling me more about this particular kind/cut of meat. Thanks! :)

Jasonmolinari said...

I'm not sure what you're asking Walter, but here is a link to a previous post about this.

http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2011/02/culatello-king-of-cured-meats.html

Anonymous said...

Jason-

I am going to do a culatello in the next week or so. I ordered a bladder for casing from Butcher & Packer (http://www.butcher-packer.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=970) for this project but have not yet procured the culatello.

A couple of questions: is this the right casing to use? Would "an average" sized culatello fit in this 6 kilo bladder? Also, in the event I have to cut the bladder open to get the culatello to fit in what kind of needle and thread (string?) do you use to sew it up. I watched the video you linked to in the initial culatello post and it does not look like he is using a normal sewing needle. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

Brian, a 6kg bladder should be fine. I used some "sail" needles i got at a craft store with hemp twine..nothing really that special.

You will definitely have to cut the bladder and sew it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jason. I found "Trussing needles" on Amazon for $4, which look like they will work.

Another question for you... according to your original post you tied the culatello up to hold its shape while it underwent its 21 day cure. Did you then untie the culatello before casing it the bladder?

Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

Nope the culatello remained tied inside the casing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jason.

Is it correct to think that when you buy or are served prosciutto you in fact get either culatello or fiocco since those muscle groups together make up the cut that is prosciutto? Or if you cured an entire leg for prosciutto would slices off one part of the leg be culatello and the other fiocco? It would seem that if culatello was far tastier than fiocco then a certain area of a prosciutto would be far tastier than another.

-Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

Brian, it depends how it's cut. If it's deboned and sliced width wise, you'd get a piece of both the fiocco and culatello in each slice.
If it's sliced on a ham stand like in Spain, you'd have either fiocco or culatello portions depending what side they are slicing from.

Bbq Dude said...

Wow, this looks fantastic.

Kenth said...

Fantastic

Carl McLain said...

Awasome meats. I would like to try one of them.

Anonymous said...

I followed your post on making culatello and ended up with the best thing from my curing chamber yet. That post is probably one of the best posts I have read on any site.

Cheers, rob

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Rob, i'm glad it came out well! Next time i'll use a little less salt.

mike said...

I have a question about bladders, when using a fresh bladder what are the necessary steps in prepping it for culatello and what is needed when using a dried bladder from butcher-packer?

Jasonmolinari said...

I dont know about fresh bladder, but the dry bladders need to be soaked.,

Mike said...

I've heard that they need to be evpanded with air pressure

Jasonmolinari said...

Hadn't heard of that.

Kenth said...

Fantastic blogg!

Scott in Oregon said...

I just tied a culatello up yesterday. I procured 5 beef bladders from Scott at sausage debauchery. These are nice to work with, no odor, clean and well prepared. The first one that i pulled from the salt was too small for this job, so I experimented a bit. I ran water into the neck of the bladder to open it up some, then cut the opening enough to get my hand in and really reefed on the bugger. These are very tough. Pulled about as hard as I could trying to stretch it and it held up. You could probably poke your finger through it if you really tried, but if you use the back of your hand you can stretch it out a long way. The second bladder was much bigger and had no problem dropping the 4 kg + culatello in. Used a big regular sewing needle and nylon upholstery thread to truss. Not pretty, but effective. Hope this helps.