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My first attempt on curing my pork legs ( proscuitto)

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
My first attempt at curing my pork legs, my goal is too make air dried proscuitto style ham, I was inspired by

a good Italian friend of mine , who's father was a mason and he built his own cellar, it was then, I first

tried home made proscuitto, it was delicious, finally after 35 years , I get my chance to make it .


Just got done trimming my first pork leg ( ham ) and exposing the ball joint, I did alot

of research and saw many videos, I particularly paid attention to how the Italian artisans

made theirs.
 
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spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Date 01/19/13

Just got done salting my pork legs, Used Mortons Kosher sea salt and mixed it with a little

curing salt ( pink salt) made sure that the bottom of my wooden box was lined with platic and

then used aluminum container with salt ont he bottom so the salt was on the bottom and the top

 

thoseguys26

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Joined Jan 4, 2012
What a great adventure. Few things I would recommend.

1. Use non-iodized salt

2. Use a food grade plastic or glass container.

3. If you're hanging them to dry, slice a hole between the ligament and bone at the end. This hole provides a great place to put salt into for safety reasons as well as provide a nice place to hang it from.

Do you have the rest of the process laid out?  How long on the salt? Rinse & Hang? I'd love to hear some more info.

I'm trying a mule deer leg for the first time and she's about a week from being done!

 
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spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
After 4 days in a cool room, I removed the pork legs and replaced the salt , I found

quite a bit of liquid on the bottom of the foil pans, seems like the salt is doing its job

I also removed the all liquid from the foil pans .


After 7 more days on the salt I removed the pork legs, removing the

old salt and cleaning the foil pans free from any liquids, this time

I added pepper to the salt and rubbed it on the legs .


Notice the picture above the pork legs are placed facing down

this allows gravity to due it thing and also keep the fresh salt/pepper

mix on the open flesh part of the pork leg .


Picture above shows the pork legs in the wooden box in the storage room

I have a fine messh screen to keep out any critters or bugs , just in case

my storage room is clean and sealed up pretty tight already, I am a little

paranoid so not taking any chances .
 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
More pictures to come still trying to figure how to upload and all that kinda stuff,

This is what I know from reading countless info and looking at countless videos on you tube

#1 Pork legs must be fresh , not  frozen .

#2 Pork legs must be trimmed and ball joint exposed .

#3 Pork legs must be weighed after trimming, why ? because for every pound for meat u have it must sit in salt for 1 day

#4 Use Mortons sea salt , plus a little of the pink curing salt ( saltpeter) I use very little in my mix .

#5 Rub salt into every nook and cranny especially around the hock area and the ball joint.

#6 Place in a cool aerated area for 4 days then change salt and turn pork legs, I placed a fan nearby .

#7 After 7 more days, I replaced the salt again making sure each time that I did that, I also cleaned up the liquid .

#8 After 5 more days, I replaced the salt one last time, but this time I added black pepper to the mix , I also

     constructed a device of which consisted of two all threed rods with nuts and big metal washers, drilled a hole

     on either side of the wooden box and slipped the all thread thru and tightened two pieces of wood creating a clamp

     type of a device to squeez the two pork legs, to release the moisture and also create that shape that proscuitto is known for .

#9 After 20 days in the cure, I removed the pork legs from the salt box and rinsed them off thouroghly with cold water, I then

     wiped the pork legs dry and rinsed the pork legs with red wine ( merlot was my choice ) something to do with the acidity?

     I then wiped the red wine off the proscuitto, took some lard,very little of it and wiped it all over the proscuitto,so that when

     the pepper is applied it would stick on .

#10 Hang in a cool breezy area and keep ur fingers crossed , hahaha just got my two pork legs peppered and hung today i will wait till end of October

  let you know then  by the way i also sniffed the pork legs to check for any rottenness after 20 days the pigs smell great , hope that helps

I am a hunter also , let me know ow u do with ur thank s Geo
 

michael ark

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Thanks for shareing! I will be watching this closely. So italian ham is pressed and southern ham is not?
 

michael ark

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Thanks for shareing! I will be watching this closely. So italian ham is pressed and southern country ham is not?
 
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spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Good question, not sure I wouldn't put it that way, some Italian artisans, don't mention anything about compressing, only reason I did was because

in a couple of the you-tube videos I watched they had the pork leg in a wooden box with salt and in both videos they put a heavy weight on top to

press it down ? their explanation was that it helped push out the moisture and any left over blood that may still be in the veins of the ham .

Also it gives that prosciutto shape , next time ur at the market ask the deli man to show you a whole prosciutto, it will look kinda flat on one side

as far as " country ham " honestly I don't know much about country ham .

Hope that explained it , i will post more pics soon
 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Yesterday marked the 22nd day of my salt curing process, this is one of the pork legs

after it was pulled out of the salt box it was curing in, noticethe color of the meat ,

the meat is alot darker .


Pork leg getting hosed off with cold water, there was some white mold

on the skin side and I was told that "WHITE MOLD" is ok , I hope that is true.


more pics to come, I am having a hard time trying to line up the right pictures in the right order .
 

dave54

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Joined Dec 12, 2009
looking good!!!  

  And just a thought, since you did two ,let one cure another 6 months

or longer and the flavor will be more intense.

 I've been doing these with a friend and I do three a year so I

have them staggered out at cures of 1 year, 16 months and 2 years

  You'll be glad you did 
 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Great minds think alike ! I was thinking late Nov early Dec I try the small one and then the larger pork

leg, leave it till easter, dont want to get to cocky ,still keaping my fingers crossed

I am planning to do 4 next season  and some cured smoked bacon
 

thoseguys26

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dave54, when you are ready to slice your 2 year one, how do you go about it? Do you cut off the hard exterior or soak it in water first and then cut it? I've been doing these for a couple years now too and I'm always eager to learn how others do theirs.
 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Red wine used to rinse pork legs, My understanding, using red wine helps with the curing

process, something about the acidity ? I dont have any info to confirm that, I saw

it done on you-tube by some chefs in New York and by some other fella .



Dried red wine off, I took some lard and very lightly spread it all over the pork leg

reason for this is that, when i apply the pepper i want it to stick and stay on, I did

one leg this way and the other with-out the lard .

 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
Both pork legs peppered and hanging in my storage room, notice the

hole I made, in the hok area so that I could hand them from


Another look at the peppered pork legs, peppering them for those of you

who may be new to the curing process , keeps bugs and critters away

and man oh man does it make the proscuitto smell awesome ,

Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well i will post pictures again

sometime in late oct / Nov


Take care everyone
 
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dave54

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Dec 12, 2009
I'd put a fan on it now that you have it hanging for a couple days

to help dry it more ,as long as tempature is 60 or less you're golden 
 

spartan1967

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Joined Jan 21, 2013
The weather in Los Angeles is about 40 degrees at the moment this week is cooling down

I had a fan on from the very begining of the curing process and it still running .air circulation is very important
 

spartan1967

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jan 21, 2013
This is my first time so, I wouldnt be able to tell u , I dont expect to wait 2 years before i slice into mine My friend father sliced into his between 12 -16 months

I am going to slice my first one , which happens to be the smaller of the two late november and the other 4 - 6 months later
 

smokink

Newbie
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Joined Feb 9, 2013
I've had mine hanging for 3 months now.  Vegas is dry - so it began drying fast.  No odor.

The one thing all the info I found said not to do was to put cure it in anything reactive.  So Plastic, glass or wood were recommended. Many suggested not allowing the leg to sit in any fluid it drained off - better to have it drain away entirely.  So I used a turkey cradle - covered with plastic wrap.  All fluids flowed cleanly away.   When it came time to rinse, I mostly found advice to not get it wet - water that is.  Wine or vinegar and a good towel dry before final coating.  

I'm not totally sure - this too is an experiment for me.  As the weather heats up for the summer - I'm moving my hanging to the fridge.  Can't leave it where it is now.  Maybe with a small computer fan.  

Any ideas or wisdom on the above? 
 

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