Poke it with A Horse Bone

By D. J. Costantino

By

D. J. Costantino
Chef Karl Holl's ago d’osso di cavallo
Chef Karl Holl's ago d’osso di cavallo

Did you know horse bones don’t retain scent? Of course not! Why would you? But for the artisans working in the prosciutterias of Parma, Italy, it’s a commonly known fact, as Chef Karl Holl discovered on a trip to the region. The workers wield a tool called ago d’osso di cavallo or “horse bone needle.” One end of the bone (usually taken from the pelvis) is sharpened for easy insertion into hanging charcuterie. When checked daily for quality, the tool is poked into hams at a few different points and brought to the nose. “You want nutty, bleu cheese nuance,” says Holl, for whom charcuterie is an important part of the program at Spatzle & Speck. The bone only requires a quick wipe on the apron in-between uses, so every leg can be checked accurately. The scent, whether nutty and wonderful or rancid, is erased in one firm wipe.

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