Thursday, December 16, 2010

Proscuitto - Part 1, Turning a T&T hunk of pig into something salty and beautiful

Sorry for taking so long between posts, but things at work have been busier than usual.  Luckily for us, that doesn't mean I haven't been making good stuff, it just means I haven't made the time to blog about it.

Since the end of September y'all have missed about 6 whole salmon that I cured and smoked, at least 20 lb's of bacon, as well as a lonzino and basturma.   I'll do a better job of keeping up with the posts in the new year ( early resolution ).

Now on to my current project.  Proscuitto:

Proscuitto is one of the simplest charcuterie to make, yet one of the most intimidating to the home charcutier. I don't feel the trepidation that some of my peers do with this, but I still have yet to make a salume.. which needs to be rectified over the holiday season.
Whole muscle charcuterie to me is simple, and provided you follow the basic steps, relatively foolproof.  If they could do it one thousand years ago.. I can most likely do it today.

On to it.

On November 27th, I started with 2 legs, approximately 30lb's each from my good friend and pork dealer, Morgan Brownlow of Tails and Trotters.   For something as pure as proscuitto, nothing but the best pork will do and for me that's the hazlenut finished goodness that Morgan brings to the table.

This is a simple curing recipe:

( for each 30lb leg )

4lb's kosher salt
1tbsp Sodium Nitrite

That's it.

Rub the salt in as good as you can, without going crazy.  don't forget the slits cut into the pig foot (trotter ).. make sure you get the salt in every nook and cranny.

let it sit for a week, then come back and salt it again.

let it sit for 4-6 weeks more in your fridge ( anywhere the temp is lower than 45 degrees is fine ), and then it's ready for step 2 - The hanging. ( this is where it gets really complicated :-)

Some people press their proscuitto when curing, but I'm not bothering with it.  Also, this time I have the hams carved spanish style, which means the aitch bone is in and it's a flatter cut on the bottom, as well as having the full trotter on.  This not only looks "neater" when serving.. it allows for full use of the leg.

Stay tuned for part two, sometime in Mid to Late January.


  1. Count me as one who wants to do this, but is currently intimidated to commit the meat to it, despite the fact that I have the space, meat, and time.

    I'll be eager to follow your project to see how it goes.

  2. Kevin: Go for it... I love looking through your website and I don't think you'd have any problem.

    Besides.. at the price you're paying, it's only a $60-$70 gamble.

    I"m more intimdated by the salume.... but getting ready to do my first one next week.

  3. These posts are always interesting, you can almost hear the disbelief by those who read them at how simple it is. Go on Todd do your best and convert a few friends to charcuterie!

    p.s. I like the choice of pork leg!