Pinnekjøtt is a traditional Norwegian Christmas dish typical to Western parts of Norway, but is now popular in other regions as well. Traditionally Pinnekjøtt is made from ribs of lamb or mutton which has been either salted and dried or salted, smoked and dried. Pinnekjøtt is literally translated as “Stick Meat”. This is for the birch sticks that are put in the bottom of the pot that the meat rest upon. The birch stick will not add any flavor so you can use a steamer basket instead.
You can also use ribs from kid goat, deer, venison and even moose. I prefer ribs of kid goat because the ribs can fit i my fridge and it’s slightly tastier than lamb or mutton. Regardless of what type of rib you choose this process will enhances the flavor of the meat. If you want to cold smoke the rib it need to hang and dry for one day after three days in salt. Smoke it for 6-8 hours.
This is how to make Pinnekjøtt
- 1 or 2 halves of mutton, lamb or kid goat rib cage
- Some instacure #2 to be on the safe side. Use cure #2 according to package directions, usually 5 tsp pr 25lbs of meat.
- Remove the bone marrow with a butter knife or the back side of a teaspoon.
- Wash the rib racks with cold water and dry with paper-towels.
- Add enough sea-salt so it cover the the bottom of a container.
- Rub salt (and instacure 2) all over the rib and where the bone marrow has been and push it skin side down into the salt in the container.
- Cover with salt.
- Put it in the fridge and leave it for 3 days. You can flip the rib every day or every other day, add more salt if needed.
- Remove the rib from the container and brush of all the salt.
- Hang the Pinnekjøtt “stick meat” somewhere cold, dark and with some air movement for 6-8 weeks or more. The meat should be dark in color and firm to the touch. In Norway pinnekjøtt is usually made around autumn/winter time so we have no problem with bugs. Important to remember to use a cheesecloth tent if you want to make this in areas with warmer climate.
- Cut the mat between the rib with a knife, meat cleaver, ax, saw or a reciprocationg saw with new blades.
- Take the cut ribs and soak them in fresh water for around 16 to 30 hours. It’s all depending on how salty you like your food. I usually end up with around 30 hours.
- Use a steamer basket or peel the birch sticks and use it as a grate in the bottom of a large pot. Pour water in the pot, but not touching the meat.
- Let it steam for 2-3 hours. Refill more water if needed. It’s finished when the meat loosens of the bone.
Serve your home made pinnekjøtt with swede purée and potatoes.