Making Prosciutto at home with John! Part Two

It’s been fourteen days since I’ve salted and been curing the pork hindquarter.  So every second day I’ve been draining the liquid off, adding more salt where needed, putting it back into the bag, and keeping it in a cool area. Now the salt curing is done and it’s time to rinse the salt off the prosciutto which I will do in a clean kitchen sink.  You want to thoroughly rinse all the salt off with really cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.  The next step will inhibit any bacterial growth, so the prosciutto will get a “vinegar bath”.  Put the prosciutto into a clean tub and generously pour white vinegar over the pork leg. Make sure that you get some vinegar into the hock area.  Some friends use red wine instead of vinegar whereas I have always used vinegar.  I take a clean cloth to wash the vinegar into every part of the prosciutto, especially paying attention to the hock area. Once that is done, I take the pork leg and give it a very thorough drying with paper towels and get into all the crevices to make sure it is dried as best as possible.

When it is dried off, it is ready to go into the hanging cellar to chill down and lose more moisture.  You can do one of two things. You can use sturdy string to tie around the hock or use a meat hook which is what I’m using.  I put the meat hook in between the two bone portions in the hock.  The ligament is going to keep the hook in and stop it from tearing through the meat.

In the next stage, the prosciutto is going to dry out and lose moisture which means that it’s also going to lose weight.  I want it to lose about 20 percent of its’ current weight.  So I weigh it and record the weight.  Knowing that the meat hook weighs 5 ounces means that I will subtract that amount. I use a digital fish scale to find the weight. I will check the weight periodically, every week or two and monitor the progress until I see 20 percent of the weight come off. I hang it in my cellar where the temperature ranges from zero to five degrees Celsius.  This is where it will stay for the next few months.

In part three you will see that the prosciutto will have dried and shrunk considerably.  The skin and exposed meat will have firmed up and dried out quite a bit.  We will then coat it with a layer of lard, a process called larding or stuccoing the outside.  Then in the last stage of the drying process is where we aim to get a 35-40 percent reduction in moisture and weight lost from the prosciutto.

Thanks for joining me today.  I’ll see you for the next video/blog when there is a 20 percent reduction in weight, and the pork leg is closer to being the final product. If you haven’t already watched “Part One” just click on the link. Making Prosciutto Part One

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