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Basement prosciutto

Jgetch

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Sep 14, 2017
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428
Location
Wisconsin
Here’s a new project that my buddy and I started last month. We came across a deal for a live pig that we couldn’t pass up and we’ve wanted to make prosciutto for quite a while. We had the hams left raw and I picked those up special right away from the butcher when they were ready. Then we salted both hams:






I don’t remember how many pounds of salt it was but I’m thinking right around 10 for both. A layer down first, rub it into the cut part and then cover the whole thing. Of course kosher salt and it can’t be “table salt” because that has an extra agent added to it to keep it from clumping. Did not use pink salt since this is whole muscle. You can use that if your worried but I figure the millennia of history of it being done with just salt is good enough for me. (I’ve never used pink salt or curing salt for whole meat aging but it should always be used if grinding or slicing for aged sausage)

After 21 days we removed them from the salt and washed them thoroughly to remove all surface salt.



Honestly we forgot to take many pictures of that part but it’s a ham in a sink with water running over it. Pretty self explanatory.

Then for the fun part. We lightly coated the hams with canola oil. The oil was so that the seasoning would stick. We each had our own seasoning that we wanted to use. I went with a six pepper blend that was very sweet and nicely spiced and combined that with an equal part of a Bavarian seasoning that I can’t get enough of. My buddy’s mix was a bit more traditional italian but he had some sweet black peppercorns that I really hope we can source again in there. After we spent about 20-30 minutes (the longer you rubbed the better they looked) rubbing the seasonings into the two hams we took them down to my canning cellar and strung them up.




That was the Friday before Father’s Day (6-19-20). Now the most important thing that can happen after hanging them is for the beneficial and protective white mold to start growing. I figured with all the salt and pepper that it would be about 7-10 days before it showed up and I checked daily to make sure no blue or green spots showed before the white did. If it had a simple wipe with some white vinegar would have taken care of it. But right on que 7 days later.


I know, what am I looking at here, it’s just like the other pic? Well, on the very top of the shank of the ham on the right is two quarter sized little white spots. As soon as I saw that I knew we were golden and when I checked the back side....



See all the little wispy white hairs. That’s beneficial mold and it will colonize the meat and protect it throughout the curing process, just like ages cheese.

And this one will be a long age. We plan on pulling these for the holiday season 2021. No that’s not a misprint. It’ll be about a 16 month total aging process from when they touched the salt to when we start carving these bad boys up. We’ll be pulling them early November so if your in Wisconsin for the rut (2021) then look me up and you might get to try it out along with some of my other ages meats and sausages that we always make sure are abundant that time of year.

Happy cooking.


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Coathanger15

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Sep 13, 2018
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200
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for sharing. That is super interesting. I love me some prosciutto and am sitting here drooling. Do you have a good deli slicer?
 

sweats

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Apr 17, 2018
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352
During the initial salting phase, did you have to change the salt at all while fluids were pulled out of the meat?

I've always wanted to try aging meat, but I dont have space with the proper conditions.

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BCHunter

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Mar 10, 2016
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We’ll be pulling them early November so if your in Wisconsin for the rut (2021) then look me up and you might get to try it out along with some of my other ages meats and sausages that we always make sure are abundant that time of year.
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Hey now... don't invite me if you don't mean it! I've been wanting to do this for a while, might need to do this with one of my pig legs from saddlepalooza
 

MrTumnus

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Jan 8, 2020
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DIY prosciutto....never thought I would run into that on a hunting forum. Super cool man! Enjoyed the read. Looks awesome


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Jgetch

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Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Wisconsin
Thanks for sharing. That is super interesting. I love me some prosciutto and am sitting here drooling. Do you have a good deli slicer?
We do but we won’t be using a slicer on these. We’re making the traditional wooden mounts for them and we’ll be slicing by hand as needed rather then processing them out. They’ll be the centerpieces or our holiday celebrations.
 

Jgetch

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SH Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Wisconsin
During the initial salting phase, did you have to change the salt at all while fluids were pulled out of the meat?

I've always wanted to try aging meat, but I dont have space with the proper conditions.

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We expected to but we never had any accumulation of juices which definitely surprised us.
 

Jgetch

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Joined
Sep 14, 2017
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428
Location
Wisconsin
I've always wanted to do this but I'm too lazy to build a curing chamber and my basement is not cool enough.
Might be surprised about your basement. In the old countries these were and are still usually just hung somewhere around the house that’s convenient. Once you’ve stabilized the meat it is safe, and even beneficial for taste profile, for the hams to get quite warm. In my hanging room the temp is currently 74° and when the sun shines on that stoop it sometimes gets up to 90°. In the US when people make country hams they actually purposely hang them in a warm place that’s out of the sun (80-100° during the day) and they call this “sweating” the hams. Even with most aged sausages you really don’t need a chamber. Everyone thinks you need refrigerator type temps but it’s just not true once you’ve done the research (not YouTube research). There’s some really good science based books out on the subject.
 

Jgetch

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Sep 14, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Wisconsin
Hey now... don't invite me if you don't mean it! I've been wanting to do this for a while, might need to do this with one of my pig legs from saddlepalooza
The invite is open. I’d recommend against using wild pigs for this. There’s some pretty nasty things they can be carrying that could potentially get you sick. The heritage wild hogs that are used in Spain are actually raised in captivity so they get the proper vaccines.
 

BCHunter

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The invite is open. I’d recommend against using wild pigs for this. There’s some pretty nasty things they can be carrying that could potentially get you sick. The heritage wild hogs that are used in Spain are actually raised in captivity so they get the proper vaccines.
good to know, guess I'll have to raise a pig :) will you have a booner tied up in the woods for me too?!?! haha
 

Jgetch

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Sep 14, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Wisconsin
good to know, guess I'll have to raise a pig :) will you have a booner tied up in the woods for me too?!?! haha
I can’t guarantee a pet to shoot but if you make it up I’ll take u on a public land hunt if you have the time. Hate to give away “state secrets” but I do live in a very productive area for large racks And quite a bit of public access. Unfortunately also have a very high percentage of cwd also though. Ruts usually full swing first week of November here.
 

Bigburner

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Mar 4, 2014
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208
Location
Delaware
That looks fantastic. I'm stoked for you the day that you take it down and have a slice and take in the satisfaction of having done that.
 

Jgetch

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Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Wisconsin
I've seen a few videos of people trying it but don't actually know anyone. Next deer I get I will be trying this out for sure.
Where do you live man! If it’s anywhere close I’d be in to lend a hand. It’s a simple process. I’m honestly hesitant because of cwd and the possible issues with that. I wasn’t until I was listening to our state biologist talking about how a monkey caught it under lab conditions by eating raw venison and then our whole world changed on the farm. We’re no joke above 60% infection rate here and I just can’t risk it with the kids, ya know. But if your in a low infection or no infection area I want in!!
 
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