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U.S.S. Prosciutto, Maiden Voyage

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

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. :rolleyes:

 

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.

post #2 of 58
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
post #3 of 58
I should still be around in 2018, I'll watch!

Gonna give us an update now and then?
post #4 of 58
I'm in....for the long haul! Lol!
post #5 of 58

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

post #6 of 58
Thread Starter 

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

post #7 of 58

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

post #8 of 58
I'm in too!
post #9 of 58
Thread Starter 

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.


Edited by mneeley490 - 3/19/17 at 4:32pm
post #10 of 58

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... 

post #11 of 58
Thread Starter 

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.

 

post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mneeley490 View Post
 

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.

 


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

post #13 of 58
Thread Starter 

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

post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mneeley490 View Post
 

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

Awesome, cant' wait to see the result.

post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 

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?

post #16 of 58

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..  

post #17 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post
 

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..  

 

Thanks, Dave. That's about what I figured. :icon_confused: 

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. 

post #18 of 58

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...

post #19 of 58
Just saw this....following. I want to see the end result!
post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mneeley490 View Post
 

 

Thanks, Dave. That's about what I figured. :icon_confused:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post
 

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...

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. fire.gif 

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