Adapted by
May 2015
Yield: 1 culatello


1 bone-in ham, aitchbone removed
4 pounds medium coarse sea salt
8 ounces black pepper, roughly cracked
8 ounces Lambrusco
1 large sow bladder


The first objective is to separate the culatello (large rear) muscle from the shank, haunch, and fiocco (little rear) muscle. With the fat side down, make a slit down the bone, starting at the shank end. This will show you the separation between the fiocco and the culatello. Proceed to slice all the way through, removing the bone completely, set the bone and small muscle aside.

Now, the main the goal is to “milk” the femoral artery. It’s the large artery that runs along the femur bone, which is now removed. Starting from either end, use your hands to press firmly and force all the blood from the artery out the other side, kind of like getting all the toothpaste out of the tube.

Now it’s time to form the culatello. Fold the culatello together. Take butcher’s twine and securely tie it in three to four places to make sure it will not come undone. Once this is complete, round off the front and rear ends of the culatello with your knife. At this time, you will be removing the haunch and shank.

Prepare a bin full of the salt and pepper. Place the culatello inside the bin and massage the with the salt and pepper. Once covered, give the culatello a strong shake, place it in a nonreactive bin, spray Lambrusco on it, and let it sit for seven days, turning the culatello over every other day.

On the seventh day, remove the culatello and sew it into the sow bladder as tightly as possible and prick all around with the sausage pricker. Once sewn, the culatello needs to be trussed. There are many online videos which might give you an idea on how this is done. Make sure to prick the culatello once more.

At this time, you can now hang it in a < 42.3F room with a relative humidity of 75 for a minimum of 14 months. Many people will weigh the culatello and cut it open at the first sight of a 30 percent weight loss. Hold back, and wait until it is completely finished. Since there are no nitrates being used, it will need the extra time to dry and assure its safety.