Homemade Elena-Style Pork Leg

Homemade Elena-Style Pork Leg

Rosi TrifonovaRosi Trifonova
"An extraordinary delicacy, whose preparation requires not only skill but patience as well. But the result is beyond phenomenal."
Servings1 leg
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  • pork - 1 whole leg, from a freshly slaughtered pig
  • salt - 1 4/5 tbsp (28 g) per 2 lb (1 kg) of meat
  • cabbage juice - for pouring over the meat
  • bacon

How to cook

This is a specialty from the region of Elena in Bulgaria and is the result of the microclimate there. The technique requires the leg of a pig, freshly slaughtered during the winter. It needs to have a smooth surface and without any injuries or punctures to the surface.

Salt the leg while still warm in a special oak tub, whose bottom diameter is 41 1/4″ (105 cm) and has a height of 3.5 ft (1 meter). Sprinkle the bottom with salt and arrange a layer of bacon.

Cover it with another layer of salt - about half a finger deep, and put the leg on top. Sprinkle on salt - the exact measure is 1 4/5 tbsp (28 grams) per 2 lb (1 kilogram) of meat. Once the meat has sat for 20 days, remove it and take a close look at it - if there are spots where the meat is still red, rub them with more salt.

Put the leg back in the tub and leave it there to season until March. Then pull it out, rinse it with hot water. Pour boiled cabbage juice over the dried leg.

Hang the leg in a well ventilated area, shielded from drastic climate effects (rain, etc.). At this stage, everything is in the hands of the Elena climate. In general, the Elena-style leg should be ready by the end of May - it will still not be completely dry.

To protect it from the flies during that time, cover it with special muslin bags in which the leg continues to dry.

Another option that has been practiced in the past was to bury the meat in bran, corn or wheat flour.


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