Oh my, it’s been a while since a last posted something here. I haven’t stopped making stuff, I’ve just been making stuff which I’ve already posted about, like coppa and bresaola. So I didn’t think it was worthwhile to post them.
But now, finally, I’ve made something new. A whole, bone in prosciutto crudo. Don’t think prosciutto needs any introduction, but just in case, basically it’s a whole real hog leg salted and then dried. I didn’t have veyr high expectations for my outcome, given it was my first try with a prosciutto. I followed Craig Deihl’s advice on salting time and general process.
In this case I used a rear leg of an American Guinea Hog, a small heritage breed hog from Carolina Heritage Farms. This is a great breed for home curers as they are only about 100lbs fully grown.
As you can see from the recipe above, it’s exceedingly simple. Just salt in the cure. You can count on the quality of the pork coming out in this.
|Here’s the hog leg, removed from the body. I cut through the hip, leaving the aitch bone in as recommended from Craig Deihl to avoid removing any more meat than necessary, given how small the leg is already. |
The femoral artery was well massaged to make sure to get all the blood out. A video of that operation can be seen in my culatello post.
|The hog leg ready for salting. Trimmed up and artery milked.|
|The leg was rubbed and covered with the salt. 3.5% and was then bagged for equilibrium curing. The leg was left in the fridge for 35 days. It was flipped and massaged every so often.|
|After the 35 days it was rinsed and soaked in water in the fridge for 24 hours.|
|The leg was then put into the curing chamber for a month to start drying out. |
It lost about 9% of its weight after a month uncovered in the chamber. (Edit: Mar 30, 2017 - In hindsight, this wasn't really enough loss before larding. The meat was still a bit too wet, delicious, but not quite right. I should have let it lose about 20% before larding)
|After a month it was wiped off with vinegar and water to clean off any molds and covered with the sugna, which is a lard/rice flour/pepper paste. This slows the drying and protects the meat. |
Make really sure any exposed meat is covered and all cracks and crevices are filled.
|Prosciutto stuccato (prosciutto to which the sugna has been applied) hung.|
|After 18 long months the prosciutto is ready. The plan was to cut this at 12, but for various reasons it aged 18. That can only be a good thing really. Assuming no rot at the bone (unknown until cut or skewered with horse bone, shown in picture), or assuming I didn’t oversalt. |
A couple skewers with the horse bone promised well. The aroma was great.
|After cutting through a rather substantial fatcap we finally hit the meat. |
The meat is a dark ruby red, very very moist. Much moister than I would have thought after 18 months of aging.
|Upon tasting this my mind was blown. There is no point even describing it because words wouldn’t do it justice. |
The salt level is perfect, very low, making the prosciutto very sweet. It does not taste like a Parma prosciutto, it’s much much closer to a Jamon Serrano Iberico in flavor. It has that “funk”.
Upon trying it I immediately contacted Gra’ to procure another leg and get it going ASAP.
It’s truly a masterpiece. It’s, BY FAR, the single best piece of cured meat I’ve made.