Kulen (Serbian Cyrillic: Кулен) is a type of flavoured sausage made of minced pork that is traditionally produced in Croatia (Slavonia) and Serbia (Vojvodina), and its designation of origin has been protected.
The meat is low-fat, rather brittle and dense, and the flavour is spicy. The red paprika gives it aroma and colour, and garlic adds spice. The original kulen recipe does not contain black pepper because its hot flavour comes from hot red paprika.
An annual "Kulenijada" festival is held in many Croatian and Serbian cities to honour the history and great regional masters of making kulen.
The meat is stuffed and pressed into bags made of pork intestine, generally the colon (because it is wider), and formed into links that are usually around ten centimetres in diameter, and up to three times as long, weighing around a kilogram.
The pieces of kulen are smoked for several months, using certain types of wood. After the smoking they are air-dried for another several months. This process can last up to a year. Although similar to other air-dried procedures, the meat is fermented in addition to the air-drying. High-grade kulen is sometimes even covered with a thin layer of mould, giving it a distinct aroma.