Home-cured Spalla

spalla3Our spalla is ready. I am so excited by it I keep squeaking!

Spalla: (recipe from the River Cottage book of Curing and Smoking by Stephen Lamb). Cure ingredients – 120g sea salt, 1/2 tsp of dry mustard and grated nutmeg, 50g each of ground juniper berries, allspice and black pepper, 86g dark brown sugar, 10 shredded bay leaves. This amount of cure is for 4 kg of boneless pork shoulder. The percentage of salt to meat is 3% – if you have a smaller shoulder you need to adjust the cure.

I used our free-range Large Black pigs for the meat. Mix the cure together. Put half in a plastic bag, add meat, rub rest over the meat and seal bag. Leave in a cool place for 3 days per kg of meat. After the allotted time, wash off cure, pat dry and leave to dry out in fridge for a day or two. Roll and tie the meat – I am rubbish at this bit – and hang for 6-12 months in a game safe or something to keep flies away –  until it has lost 30% of original weight. I left ours for about 4 months – it lost 30% in this time.


The spalla was covered in all kinds of odd mold including the slimely green variety. As a supreme act of self-sacrifice I ate some of the spalla as a test and when I wasn’t violently ill I knew it was safe! I wiped off some of the mold with a rag dipped in vinegar. You can see the mold here


Initially I sliced the spalla as is – this worked quite well, but then I decided it would be nice to cut off the rind (thus getting rid of some of the weirder mold) so I did this on each individual slice which was a little time consuming. So I cut the rind off the rest of the unsliced meat  and then sliced it – this made it not quite as easy to slice – a dilemma I still haven’t resolved. I sliced it ever so thin, so thin you can fold it up and eat slice after slice without really noticing.

The main point is, it is delicious. We have eaten it just as is, on freshly baked bread with butter and home-made pickles, in sandwiches with cheese, and in omlettes. I will be making lots more of this.

open spall sandwichN.B. of course the fat is the best bit.



7 responses to “Home-cured Spalla

  1. Pingback: Home-made Prosciutto | smallholding dreams·

  2. Awesome recipe! I was looking for a way to make spalla at home and your recipe seems easy enough even for me 😉

    I’m still a bit afraid of all the molds, tho. But I guess it’s no risk, no fun.

  3. Hi Claire, so pleased to find this post. I am using the same recipe, though I’ve used less spices. I used a 4jg boned shoulder from my local farm butcher and rubbed the cure thoroughly into the hole that the bone came out of into the flappy but too. I rinsed it off, blotted it dry with kitchen towel, and left it in the fridge for 2 days. I have just used my new found skills in tying butchers knots (thank you YouTube!) to roll and tie the thing but I’m worried that it’s leaking a little. Is this normal? I’ve made bacon before but obviously there’s a lot more salt involved with that cure. There didn’t seem to be much liquid that came off this piece of pork, and it didn’t seem to change texture.
    It would be a rather expensive mistake if I’ve got it wrong. Please advise!!
    Thank you!

    • Hi Tessa, is it leaking a lot? I don’t think mine leaked – maybe during the curing (I can’t remember now). I hung mine in a game safe in the shed after rolling so maybe it leaked a tiny bit there. I guess maybe the type of pork might make a difference. I would think if you used the right amounts of salt, then it should be fine. I loo forward to hearing how it hangs 🙂

      • Ok, I am a chicken. I left it hanging up for 5 days, but it was still leaking rather thick “juice” (not a nice consistency, more pus than egg white). It still smelt sweet, so I’m probably being paranoid. But,…I went back to my friends at the farm shop and they suggested I unrolled it and washed it with salty water. I came home and unrolled it, blotted it with kitchen towel, and then rubbed a bit of salt on it (I didn’t want to make it wet again). I left it for a day, then wiped off any liquid and excess salt. I’ve left it in the fridge to dry out a bit more and will re-roll it tomorrow when it’s dryer to the touch. Then I just have to be patient…. I will let you know how it goes…..

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