Prosciutto attempt #1

Discussion in 'Curing' started by cdn offroader, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. With the country ham aging nicely and two brined hams successfully completed, I started work on a prosciutto. The nice part about not being of Italian decent is that I didn't feel bad about adding cure #2 to the recipe. Anyways, after resting in salt and cure, regular rotations, and 3 reapplications of salt and cure, it was rinsed and began aging this weekend. Original weight, 22lbs.

    Pressed with a 25lb weight throughout to give it a nice flat look....

    Update... After a week of airdrying, brought the prosciutto out of hiding and gave it an application of lard and BP. Weight down to 19lbs. Only 11months 3 weeks to go...

    And then back to the cellar to hang out

    almost 5 months in...

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like a great start!! I've always wanted to try that. How does prosciutto differ from country ham? Just the pressing and longer aging? Or is there a different technique altogether?

    Good luck and I hope it turns out well!
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm all in for this one! It's going to be fantastic!
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  5. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I'm gonna watch this one love prosciutto!
  6. I think mostly the pressing, and the ham generally uses sugar in the cure as well. The prosciutto was just salt and cure #2( which is not part of an authentic recipe). Gonna let it air dry for about a week, and then give it a lard, BP rub on the exposed ends.
  7. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice start! Do you have a curing chamber or somewhere secure to hang it?
  8. I have a fridge with a water bowl for my curing chamber, it has worked for bresaolla and lonzino so far. The basement keeps a pretty consistent temp and humidity as well, so initially it starts in the basement, then moving to the fridge for the long haul. Planning on getting a proper curing chamber set up over the spring/summer as soon as i can find a double door cooler.
  9. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have you used cure#2 in all your dried meats or have you tried salt-only cures as well?
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. So far have used cure on all of them. I still new at this, so playing it safe. I may delve into the salt only once I get the curing chamber built and can control the humidity and temp more precisely.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    CDN, morning..... Remember, you only have to get botulism once, to ruin your day..... :jaw-dropping:
  13. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am sure this topic has been talked to death but I need to ask a few questions:

    1. Why would the botulism toxin show up on a heavily salted whole muscle dried in open space (lots of oxygen)? It wouldn't: such environment is just as hospitable to spores turning into bacteria as is low temps.

    2. Are there documented cases in North America other than Alaska, where people got sick from eating botulism infested cured or smoked meats (whole, not ground and not uneviscerated fish)?

    I am not trying to minimize the seriousness of botulism poisoning (it is more toxic than cyanide - for a 160lb adult lethal dose is ~70ng), but we are trying to inhibit generation of said toxin in situations where it would not be present anyway.

    3. Won't you agree that the meat processing industry got lazy and would cut corners knowing that adding nitrites/nitrates to meat will mask unsafe food handling practices?

    Got nothing against nitrites/nitrates in cold smoked or dried meat (It turns out they are actually good for your circulatory system - blue pill is an example), I eat a lot of lettuce, celery, spinach and radishes;
    but I don't want all my dried meats to taste like ham.

    I tried Bresaola and lomo both with and without cures. Yes, I used a lot more salt for the no- cure version (rinsed, soaked after curing so it wasn't too salty). There is a major difference in taste, appearance and texture.
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    atomicsmoke, afternoon..... Looks like you answered all your questions........

    Anywhoooooo...... Are you saying, it is not possible for botulism to multiply in meat, during the curing process while the moisture levels Aw and salt levels have not been achieved....... ie. the 2-12 months hanging, waiting for equilibrium to be achieved, in a temperature above 50 degrees F...
    AND.... folks attempting to make those "unique" meats do not have the skills professionals do..... nor do they have the "sanitary" environment professionals do.... and as a generality, many types of meats are mixed in the home, without sanitizing between home projects and cross contamination can occur.....

    using cure is such a simple, effective step in the process, it should not be overlooked and should be considered mandatory...

    NOTE..... On this forum, there are no "FOOD POLICE" ....... some of us take food poisoning serious and try and pass on some friendly advice others may not be aware of..... we try to accompany points of food safety with articles and documentation so others can learn.....

    I feel I would be remiss, when noticing others want to attempt "Old World" recipes, that "MAY" pose a serious health risk, if I did not take notice and provide some sort warning......

    You obviously has used "old world" methods..... PLEASE IGNORE MY WARNINGS ABOUT FOOD SAFETY....
  15. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I respect and appreciate your and other members' advice. I am only asking some questions (one was kind of rethorical I apologize). I am not trying to make a "unique" meat - only looking for authentic taste and feel.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.
  16. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    back to topic.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mike, afternoon......

    What foods have been commonly associated with Clostridium botulinum?

    C. botulinum is present in water and soil, so potentially any food that comes into contact with such vectors is a potential hazard. Home canned products, however, especially low acid food products, are attributed to most cases of foodborne botulism. Foods commonly associated with botulism are canned asparagus, green beans, garlic in oil, corn, soups, ripe olives, tuna fish, sausage, luncheon meats, fermented meats, salad dressings, and smoked fish. Spores have also been found on the surfaces of vegetables and fruits. Infant botulism has been linked to the ingestion of C. botulinum spores in honey, corn syrup, and other foods.
    4.4. Atmosphere

    Clostridium botulinum is an anaerobic organism and is sensitive to oxygen. Sensitivity to redox potential (Eh) is not as pronounced. Therefore, growth and toxin production may occur at high Eh if compounds other than O2 are used to establish a positive Eh (Lund and Peck 2000). Due to the intolerance to O2, most attention has been paid to vacuum- and CO2-packaged products. Many studies have documented that O2 removal enhances toxin formation (Eklund 1992), but several studies have found that toxicity may also occur with oxygen present (Table III-4). Thus, Huss and others (1980) found that air-packaging delayed toxin formation by C. botulinum type E in hot-smoked herring stored at 15 °C (59 °F), compared to vacuum-packaging if the fish were handled under aseptic conditions and C. botulinum type E was able to grow and form toxin under 100% O2 atmosphere. Kautter (1964) also reported that toxin could be produced without packaging. In fish contaminated with aerobic spoilage bacteria, toxicity occurred after 4 - 5 d when vacuum-packed, compared to 5-6 d when air-packed (Table III-4). Thatcher and others (1962) reported that hot-smoked fish packed in plastic wrappers had caused cases of botulism. They, therefore, investigated the influence of atmosphere on toxin formation in fish surface inoculated with 103 spores / g. After 8 d at 30 °C (90 °F), both samples incubated under anaerobic and aerobic conditions were toxic. In a study of spoilage and botulinum toxin formation in cold-smoked trout, Dufresne and others (2000) found that at 8 °C (46 °F), fish packed in high O2-transmission films became toxic before fish packed in low O2-transmitting films (Table III-5 and 6). As implied in these studies, although there is no doubt that vacuum-packing and CO2-packing may enhance toxin formation, aerobic packaging or the inclusion of O2 in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) cannot be relied upon as a safeguard. ACMSF (1992), an advisory body reporting to the Department of Health under the UK-Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (UK-MAFF), concluded on the safety hazards of C. botulinum in vacuum-packed foods: "It is now recognized that the growth of C. botulinum in foods does not depend on the total exclusion of oxygen, nor does the inclusion of oxygen as a packaging gas ensure that growth of C. botulinum is prevented. Anaerobic conditions may occur in microenvironments in foods that are not vacuum- or modified-atmosphere packaged. For example, in the flesh of fish, conditions which are favorable to toxin production can exist in air-packaged fish as well as in vacuum- or modified atmosphere-packaged fish."

    In cold-smoked fish, aerobic conditions lead to faster spoilage than under vacuum- or MA-packaging (Table III-5). Under aerobic conditions pseudomonads, yeast, and some lactic acid bacteria develop, whereas anoxic packaging conditions result in development of a lactic acid bacteria flora with a minor component of gram-negative bacteria. Typically, shelf life is reduced by a factor of 1.5 to 2 by aerobic storage as compared to vacuum-packed storage (Table III-6).

    The United States requires that vacuum-packed, cold-smoked fish contain 3.5% NaCl (water phase) or 3.0% if combined with 200 ppm nitrite. Only 2.5% NaCl is required of aerobically packed fish, which spoil more rapidly. No clear definition of an aerobic pack exists. The more rapid spoilage not the presence of oxygen is relied upon as a safeguard against C. botulinum. Recent data by Dufresne and others (2000) showed that in aerobic-packaged, cold-smoked trout (with 1.7% WPS) stored at 8 °C (46 °F), toxin formation occurred more rapidly when packaged under high O2-transmission than under low O2-transmission. The data emphasize that although spoilage did occur more rapidly under the highest O2 transmitting film (10,000 cc / m2 / d / atm @24 °C, 0% RH), toxin formation also occurred more rapidly, and oxygen was no safeguard against botulinum toxin formation.
  18. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    back to topic. wont let me delete.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  19. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's the story-of-my-life. Traveling down the road doing 75 Mph, and get passed by ten cars doing 90, with 10 behind me which are approaching me doing the same. A cop will pull me over and write a ticket for 75 because he figures I wasn't doing 90 for a reason.

    If only one person gets botulism its not going to be due to my lack effort. Oh and BTW you'll note the infant rate for it is like 65% of the known cases. Infants have no defense, its also why there is usually HUGE warnings on honey because it is a natural source of botulism.

    I don't know a single person who's ever contracted the disease and I hope to keep it that way.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  20. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    back to original topic. wont let me delete.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014

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