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lamb prosciutto

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

well I'm really getting in to this cured meats and sausage thing. My ultimate goal is to eventually make a pork prosciutto. But before I go to the expense and the risk of ruining such a lovely cut of meat, I'm going to do a trial run with a leg of lamb (bone in).

I have a cupboard under the stairs where I think may be suitable to hang it and I will be using this dry cure-


kosher salt: 3.8%

sugar: 3%

freshly ground black pepper: 1.4%

freshly chopped rosemary: 1%

cure #2: 0.25%

crushed juniper berry:  0.4%


If any of you have done this, see any glaring errors or can offer any advice, please give me a shout.

Ill post pics as the project progresses :)

post #2 of 43
I'm just giving you a bump so maybe you'll get some answers from others with more experience in this sort of thing.
I am curious, is lamb a cheaper meat than pork where you live?
post #3 of 43

Hi Sniper


Because it will be a large piece of meat you will need a cool humid place to age it where it can dry slowly. If it is too warm or too dry then it will quickly form a hard outside and will not dry evenly. The under stairs cupboard may be OK if it is clean and cool. You should also have a good air flow around the meat too. A cool garage with the meat hanging in a net curtain cage may be a better place as it will probably be cooler at this time of year and have more air flow - but it may get too hot in the summer.


You may want to find yourself and old upright fridge and convert it into a curing cabinet.

post #4 of 43
Hi Sniper, try this as a starter.

Duck Prosciutto.


170-180g Duck Breast (6-6.5oz)
900 g Sea Salt (32oz)
teaspoon Ground Coriander
teaspoon Ground Fennel
teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
225g White Wine Vinegar (8oz)


1. rinse and dry the breast. Make a 1 inch bed of Salt in an earthware or Plastic Dish, (take away container). Place the Breast on the Salt and cover with another 1 inch of Salt. Cover the dish with Cling Film (sara wrap) and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

2. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, fennel and pepper. Unwrap the duck Breast, rinse it with the Vinegar to remove the Salt and then rinse it ubder cold running water. Pat the Duck Breast completely dry and then rub it all over with the spice mixture.

3.wrap the breast in cheesecloth and knot the cloth at both ends. Hang the Breast in a refrigerator. Let the Duck cure until it feels firm but not dry, about 2 weeks. (about 40-45% of original weight). Thinner or smaller Breasts will take less time. Start checking after a week or so.

Smokin Monkey
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hi all, been really busy, so not had much chance to get back to you all
Mdboatbum, pound for pound Lamb is a lot more expensive here than pork, but as this was a starter experiment, I didnt want to ruin a whole hog leg (which, as it is so big, would be twice the price of a leg of lamb anyway)
So, I have just put the leg (bone in) in to cure with the above recipie, and in my haste, forgot to take any pics, so ill do that when I flip the leg over next.
Wade, yep, a curing chamber may well be my next project, if i can get it past my financial advisor (Mrs Sniper!!)
Smoking Monkey, I may well give that a try if I dont get any where with this little stunt. Only problem is, I love pan roasted duck so the chance of any hanging round to get cured is pretty slim LOL
post #6 of 43
How is that lamb prosciutto coming along?
post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi Atomic, its going ok, its still curing in the fridge at the moment, and will be for 2 more weeks. I've hit a stumbling block an at the moment and that's finding a suitable place to leave to dry cure. I was thinking about the cupboard under the stairs but may have to make a curing chamber

post #8 of 43
I bet you can't wait. Have you tried cured lamb before? Is nothing like (pig) prosciutto ....very intense flavours. I love it. My family ...not so much.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 

TBH, no, not tried  it before, but I love 'gamey' flavours. I love 18month parma ham.

I think im going to scrap the idea of drying in the cupboard and make a frame covered by a pair of tights (my wifes....not mine lol) to act as a curing frame that will keep the flies out. I may hang this in a covered entry way that runs between our house and the neighbours. it out of the sunlight and has a god flow of air through it

post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 

Right, the project so far.

My leg of lamb has been in the cure for three weeks, and it smells wonderful, all the Rosemary and Thyme. It has flattened out and is now very firm to the touch.

Some pictures for you.


Ready to come out of the bag


Just before wash



Now patted dry



Got nearly all of the herbs off, but some are a bit stubborn



All ready for the reefer to rest and start to dry off for a couple of days



In the reefer....you can see how it has flattened out



I'm going to construct a wooden box like frame and cover it with some stockings (my wife's, not mine before any of you start). that should keep flies away

And this is where I'm going to hang it to dry, once I've tidied it up a bit. Its out of the sun, fairly cool with a slight breeze



Just one thing bugging me at the moment. When I have looked at how pork prosciutto is made, they cover the exposed meat at the joint with a mixture of lard and herbs or black pepper. I can understand that this protects the exposed flesh from drying out, but shouldn't the lard go rancid over time? Also, as a leg of lamb is more or less skinless, should I lard the whole leg?

Any advice would be really appreciated

Cheers folks

ATB Russ 

post #11 of 43
The lard layer is only applied after the 1st drying stage. Which for parma style prosciuttos is about 3 months. Lamb leg being smaller I expect I will dry faster than 3 months.

As for lard going rancid...doesn't matter. You wipe it off before consuming the meat.
post #12 of 43
If you believe the area where you hang is too dry or drafty you can move the leg in the fridge (wrapped) every week or so (for a couple of days) so the outside layer does not get too dry.
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 

Brilliant, then its game on ttbluesbros.gif

post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 

OK, final update for a while

This is the frame I have built today for my meat-safe




Covered it with a very fine nylon mesh. I have fixed the bottom board to it with

Velcro so that I can easily get at the meat if I have to



And here it is, in-situ, with the lamb all larded up. getting a consistent 10-12 degrees c, a constant light breeze and as

its all brickwork, it feels quite humid in here, but not got any way of taking a reading as yet

The leg weighed 900gms so ill monitor it to the recommended reduction of 30%.

Il take Atomicsmoke's advice and bring it inside in the fridge as and when needed

Just got to wait now!!!

post #15 of 43
That's a nice curing cage. You got skills.
post #16 of 43
Thread Starter 

Cheers Atomic, sorry not got back to you sooner, had a family bereavement. I just hope my curing skills are as good as my woodworking ones LOL. Its been over a week, no sign of any mould and no off smells coming from it. In fact, all I can smell are the herbs it was cured with, perhaps that's a good sign!!!

post #17 of 43
Looks great. After another 1-2 weeks you will start to feel the cured meat smell ...knowing things are moving along nicely.
post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 

OK, an update at the 4 week mark




The leg weighed 900gms, with 250gms of lard added to the more exposed areas of meat, so totalling

1150gms. The leg now weighs 950gm (inc lard), so drying a bit quicker than expected.

The shank seems to be the area that has dried the most, which has become quite firm and dark in

colour. The rest of the leg is still quite supple, but definitely not as flexible as when it fist went outside.

As far as odour is concerned, all I can detect is an over pronounced aroma of lamb. No mould visible

or any evidence of insects getting to it, but I think its going to dry cure before the expected 3 months.

post #19 of 43
That is expected (quick drying) since it's hung in ambient humidity (lower than what a curing chamber would provide). Also the dryer part in the shank area is normal: there is a lot less meat there.

Have you given it a break in the fridge to allow some moisture equalization in the meat?

Looks great...looking forward to more updates.

Get some good white wine ready. It will be done (the lamb) in no time.
post #20 of 43
Thread Starter 

Atomic, I think Im going to bring it in to the fridge for about a week to slow things down a bit

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