U.S.S. Prosciutto, Maiden Voyage

Discussion in 'Curing' started by mneeley490, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My first try at a full prosciutto. Been thinking about it for several months, reading and watching videos, and now everything seemed to fall into place. With the help of some friends, I now have an extra fridge in the garage for the initial salt cure. I also now have two wine coolers in the basement that I've tinkered with. One is now a cool curing chamber, and the other is heated with a flat, reptile heating pad, for blooming sausage. Both have analog Johnson Control units attached that keep the temperatures pretty steady.

    Then yesterday I was in my local business Costco (geared more like a restaurant and business supply store) looking to see the prices on corned brisket packers, when I stumbled upon 2 whole, skin-on pork legs. I bought the biggest one, 22.5 pounds at $1.09 lb, and now I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't grab the smaller one as well. Oh well.


    I don't know what whole legs go for in other parts of the country, but the best I found earlier was $2 lb, and that had to be special-ordered.


    Trimmed, it came to a little less than 19.5 lbs. Had fun removing that Aitch bone. [​IMG]


    Back side.


    Packed securely with 3 lbs. of Kosher salt. I debated about using Cure #2. I read the arguments here for and against. In the end, I decided to use it, feeling better to be safe, than sorry.


    Now it's in the fridge with a load of bricks on top. I'll keep an eye on it, and drain any liquid in the next few days.

    Hopefully, sometime in 2018, we'll have something good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
    humdinger likes this.
  2. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    On the bucket list for sure. I haven't seen any whole legs up here but I bet it would be over 2 bucks.
    Jason
     
  3. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I should still be around in 2018, I'll watch!

    Gonna give us an update now and then?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  4. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'm in....for the long haul! Lol!
     
  5. redheelerdog

    redheelerdog Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That's awesome, take lots of pics - 2018 will be here before you know it!
     
  6. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I should have more pics in a week or so, when I drain and repack it.
     
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm in too neeley....  should be a good one....
     
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm in too!
     
  9. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, I repacked the leg yesterday; there wasn't much to see, so I didn't bother taking pics.

    There was some slushy salt in the bottom of the tray, which I removed, but not much liquid to speak of even though I'm guessing that I have about 30 lbs of weight on top. The most obvious thing I noticed was that all the salt on top, which was about 1/8"-1/4" thick and directly under the weight, had completely disappeared. So I don't know if it dissolved straight into the meat or what. I reused the rest, and some new salt, to repack and replaced it in the fridge. 

    I'm figuring 1-1/2 days per pound, so that comes out to just over 29 days. I'll go 30 to be on the safe side, which will mean that it will be pulled on April 12th.

    There are many variations on Youtube about what to do after that. I like the idea of rinsing in wine, then coating the exposed area with lard, black pepper, and pureed garlic or powdered garlic before it goes into the dry curing chamber. I have a low-speed fan installed in there to give air movement. Humidity is a little trickier; I have a paper towel partially draped in a bowl of water. I have to check on it every couple of days and refill to make sure the humidity is right.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Black pepper is supposed to keep the flies off...    Lard, slows down the drying process so you don't get case hardening..  and end up with a soft center... 
     
  11. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Week two, and yesterday I drained about 2 cups of liquid from the tray, and flipped the leg before repacking with the weights. No off odors, so I think things are progressing alright.

     
  12. hdhong

    hdhong Fire Starter

    looks good mneeley, do you put the cure #2 on the skin as well or just the meat only?
     
  13. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It was mixed in with the salt, so it covered everything.
     
  14. hdhong

    hdhong Fire Starter

    Awesome, cant' wait to see the result.
     
  15. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Coming up now on the time to remove from the salt cure and hang. But I have a question for those who have made prosciutto before.

    Looking around the internet for the best temperature to hang them, and I get numbers from 55° up to 70°, and everywhere in between. Is there a consensus?
     
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    50-55 deg. F to keep bacteria growth to a minimum..   and 75-80% relative humidity so as to not case harden the meat..  A periodic gentle breeze to keep mold from forming too badly...   Anyway, that's from sources I read..  
     
  17. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Dave. That's about what I figured. [​IMG]  

    I have a low-speed fan inside my curing chamber, but I'm also thinking that I might have to look around to find some sort of timer that would allow it to run intermittently, instead of constantly. 
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can slow it down by blocking the "push" side of the air stream also..  Stuff I have read notes an air flow of about walking speed...   about 4-5' per second...  no idea how to measure that...   just a reference...
     
  19. gnatboy911

    gnatboy911 Meat Mopper

    Just saw this....following. I want to see the end result!
     
  20. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm a little more concerned with the little motor burning up after a year of constant use than I am with constricting the airflow. [​IMG]  
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017

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