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An open sandwich with lettus and many slices of fenalar

Making Fenalår – Cured leg of a lamb

Fenalår a Norwegian specialty is a salted, dried and cured leg of lamb or young mutton. Curing time is normally around three months. In the past the drying process could be from one to six years in storehouse.

If you only have tasted the fenalår you can buy in the Norwegian convenience store, which is more than okay, this recipe will knock your socks off. Much more meat/ lamb flavor and less salty taste.

If you don’t have the climate or a curing camber i would advises you to cold smoke it for 3 hours or more before you hang it up to dry.


  • Leg of lamb. 2-3 kilo is perfect
  • salt
  • Some instacure #2 to be on the safe side. Use cure #2 according to package directions, usually 5 tsp pr 25lbs of meat.
plastic container, bag og seasalt an a leg of lamb
Fenalår ©FoodNorway

How to make Norwegian cured leg of a lamb at home

1. Massage out the blod. Start from the thin part of the leg and work your way upwards. There are two blood vessels in the middle of the inside of the thigh and one on each side. The more blod you remove the better the final product will taste.

2. Wash with cold water and dry with paper-towels.

3. Add enough sea-salt so it cover the the bottom of a container.

4. Rub salt (and instacure 2) all over the leg and push it into the salt in the container.

5. Cover with salt.

6. Put it in the fridge and leave it for 0.6-1 day pr. kilo of meat. You can flip the leg every day or every other day, add more salt if needed.

plastic container with salt and leg of lamb
Fenalår ©FoodNorway

7. Remove the leg from the salt and brush of all the salt.

8. Put a grate or som sticks at the bottom of the container and place the leg on top. Put the leg and container back in the fridge. The temperature should be 3-4 degrees C.

Fenalår, Norwegian cured leg of lamb
Fenalår ©FoodNorway


9. Leave it in the fridge for 14 to 45 days. The longer you leave it the more “fenalår” taste the meat will develop. If mold appears, wash it off with brine or vinegar.

10. Remove the leg from the fridge. The fenalår is usually dried at a relative humidity between 69 to 76 percent and a temperature of between 12 and 18 degrees. Duration of drying varies, but between 60 and 90 days are usual. The Fenalår is completed when the weight is reduced by 30-40%.

This next step is optional. But vacuum sealing your fenalår will stop the drying prosess and also make the meat more moist and tender. It will also preserve the quality for a long time.

Time: 120 days
Difficulty: Easy


22 thoughts on “Making Fenalår – Cured leg of a lamb

  1. Hi, I have read the article and your recipe and would like to attempt doing a mutton leg Fenalår here in Canada.
    However I would need more details for my first attempt not to fail. I would very much like to see my attempt look like the slices of Fenalår lighter colored cure like in the first photo (on the salad)
    Quantities of salt and type of salt per kilo of meat.
    Instacure #2 quantities per kilo of meat .
    Do you use instacure #1 also. If so quantities per kilo of meat
    Did you keep the bone in through the dry curing
    Was the leg covered in lard or oil for the air drying afterwards or is this all done in the fridge.
    Many thanks for all of your advice and help in advance

    1. Hi Carm.
      Welcome to my blog. It’s so nice of you to drop by. First of all since I don’t use a curing chamber my fenalår turns out different every time, both in taste and color 🙂 It’s always edible tho. I use salt with iodine from a Danish brand called Jozo but you can use any brand. And I only use Instacure #2 not #1. Use cure #2 according to package directions, in my case it’s 1 tsp pr 2.27 kg of meat. The amount of salt depends on how big the leg of lamb is and how large container you use. The leg of lamb must be completely covered. You can also use some fine salt together with the Instacure so you’re sure it will cover the hole leg. This days i usually debone the leg before i start the salting process. Because it’s then very easy to cut thin slices and you can also use a meat slicer. I dont use any oil or lard when i hang it up to dry, only fresh air. The process is like this: Salt, maturing (fridge) and then removed from the fridge and hang to dry in a suitable room or stabbur 🙂 Hope this helps. And let me know how it turns out. Good luck.

      1. I would like to try this with boneless leg of lamb. You say you debone before starting the salting process. Does it then take as long to dry without the bone? It would seem like it would go quicker without the bone.

        1. Hi Liana.
          I usually debone these days. It makes it easier to cut thin slices. I think you are right that the process is faster due to the smaller size of meat cuts. I only weigh the meat and let it dry until the weight is reduced by 30-40%. The drying is also affected by the temperature, humidity and the air flow.

          Good luck making Fenalår.

          1. I did try this with boneless leg of lamb and it came out amazing. I’ll never go back to using bone-in.

  2. I was wondering if you used sea salt with a fine grind or more of a standard table salt grind for the entire salting process? also do you think you could salt 2 legs in one container at the same time as long as they are covered with salt? I am starting to fine tune my curing chamber although where I live the outside weather is almost perfect temp and humidity but probably not for long Thank You for your help/Pat

    1. Hi Patrick.
      I use a mix of Coarse Sea Salt and table salt. 2 legs in one conainer is okay. I only make one at a time due to limited space in my fridge.

      Good luck making fenalår.

  3. I spent a lot of time in Norway in the 1970’s and loved this. In the Hardanger region it was referred to as tørket kjøtt – dried meat. Much better than a jerky, but maybe that’s because it has the richness of lamb rather than the dry beef usually used for jerky.

    1. Hi Christopher.
      I live in the US at the moment so I’m actually hooked on beef jerky 🙂 But I agree the jerky flavor is often sweeter than the typical Norwegian dried meats.

    1. Hi Erik
      As a rule of thumb I use 0.6-1 day pr. kilo of meat. So 2.5 kg is 2-3 days. If there are a lot of fat on the meat I would say 3 days.

      Good luck.

  4. Hi there, thanks really excited to try this. For the part where it is dried out (outside the refrigerator), should the container have a lid or some other kind of covering? Thanks

    1. Hi Jonathan.
      Welcome to my blog. It’s so nice of you to drop by. I store and dry my fenalår in an old pantry room. Uncovered since this is a bug free room. I would recommend a food drying net if your room/ shed is not bug free. Hope you will try to make cured leg of lamb, it is quite easy. You should also try to make Stick meat. It is very easy to make:

      Good luck.

  5. I wonder if you use (nitrit salt) cure # 1 or # 2 during only 2-3 days of salting, does this have any effect at all? Nitrite salt never goes deep in such a short time! Thanks in forward for answer.

    1. Hi.
      I use #2 cure. And there is some nitrite salt in our table salt that I use as well. I’m not sure if #2 is needed, but I often end up with a really nice color if I do.
      The leg of lamb may be in the salt only three days, but I guess the process continues tru the maturing and drying process as well 🙂 Just a guess.

      Kind regards,

    1. Hi Jennifer.
      It think it would work very well. But I have seen several recipes that say that the temperature should not be below 30°F. I think
      it will delay or stop the process.

      Good luck.

      Kind regards,
      Food Norway

  6. My son gifted me a salt cured leg of lamb. I have never eaten it before. What are your recommendations for dishes or serving? Thanks.

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