Prosciutto attempt #1

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

  1. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    But what are the odds of that guy who was struck by lightning 3 times and living? Just because it doesn't happen every day, it still happens.

    That's like saying I don't need the polio shot because if everyone else gets it, no one can give it to me. If you can simply prevent it, why would you not?

    How to Prevent Botulism in Sausages??

    "The answer lies in the use of Nitrates/nitrites. When present, they prevent the transformation of C. botulinum spores into toxins. It is almost like applying a vaccine to eliminate a disease. By curing meats with nitrites, we protect ourselves from possibly contracting a deadly disease. Nitrites are cheap, commonly available, and completely safe in amounts recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.

    So why not use them?

    All commercial plants do. Nitrites are needed only when smoking meats or making fermented sausages. You don’t need nitrites when barbecuing or grilling, as the temperatures are high enough to inhibit the development of botulinum spores into toxins."
  2. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    Not sure the point Foam. Your last post proves my point in that the way that we already are handling our meat creates the incredibly low risk of botulism.

    I am not saying it doesn't happen. the numbers I posted proves it does happen, be it in incredibly low numbers.

    He used cure, he used salt, he held at proper temps and he wasn't making sausage without cure. There should not be an issue with botulism in his product.

    Nitrites and nitrates are not just to prevent botulism, they are also used to prevent spoilage and other nasty bacteria. Listeria has been an issue even in cured meats, most often sliced or further processed foods. It is beneficial that nitrite is more or less the only salt that will kill botulism. Its not even the spores that are the issue, it is the waste they produce, they poo some nasty toxins.

    so, I reiterate, botulism prevention is basically taken care of through proper food handling procedure and use of ingredients when working to prevent salmonella, listeria and E.coli. Take care of those bad boys and the rest should not be an issue either.

    to use your vaccine simile, if the Polio vaccine I take is also effective on measles then I really don't need to worry to much about measles as long as I have taken measures to prevent Polio.
  3. beeflover

    beeflover Smoke Blower

  4. Updated original post to keep all info in one spot and avoid the  [​IMG]
  5. I would like to try to make this. I have heard many things about what temps to hang prosciutto in. I've heard no more than 30 or 40 degrees. I have also heard that in Italy, it is cured at room temperature. Does anyone know what works best? I live in Iowa and I do not have a temperature controlled room that can keep temps low. I have a basement, but that is around 65 degrees at the coolest.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A good place to start.....
  7. Thanks for the suggestion, but is there a general guideline I could follow without having to buy the book to find out?
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No.... there is no "general guideline"..... Temp control and humidity control along with the correct amount of salt and cure #2 are necessary to prevent the growth of food borne pathogens....... I'm suggesting you learn how to process meats correctly.... Some food borne pathogens are deadly.....
  9. Just thought I'd ask. I intend to educate myself on how to process meats. I just didn't know if there were some quick tips to get me started. 
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dry curing, like prosciutto, take months.... some meat recipes take over a year to properly cure meats.... Meats that use cure #2, and cured for months are not intended for cooking.... slice it off and eat it.... Strict adherence to the recipes are pretty much mandatory to end up with a safe product.....
    Once you have mastered that art, you will be in "HOG HEAVEN" consuming a delicacy originating in the "Olde World".....

    I wish I had the equipment to make it, and many of the other aged meat products.... I had better get my s#@t together and get started.... Soon, if I start the project, I may not be hear to taste it.... Kind of like buying green bananas....

  11. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    General guideline temp 10C and RH 75%. But as Dave said: you need to know your sh|t before starting this project.
  12. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cure#2 and " old world" don't belong in the same sentence.

    Prosciutto cured with nitrites/nitrates taste like ham. I like ham too but is not prosciutto.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  14. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excerpt from Wedliny-Domowe... I guess some Italian prosciutto makers use nitrite......

    The most popular Italian hams (prosciuttos in Italian) are: Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Danelle, Prosciutto di Modena, Prosciutto di Carpegna, Prosciutto di Norcia, Prosciutto Toscano and Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo.

    Then there is Prosciutto Cotto which is Italian cooked ham. Cooked hams are easier to produce and every country makes their own.

    Without a doubt the hardest product to make at home will be European dry cured hams due to their long curing and maturing times. This will require climate controlled drying chambers and a significant time investment. Another factor which is beyond our control is the meat quality. All great Spanish and Italian hams are produced from pigs that graze freely on a pasture and their diet is supplemented by natural foods only. No chemicals or antibiotics are permitted.

    The manufacture of dry products such as hams, shoulders, butts or loins generally follows these steps:
    •Meat selection, cutting and trimming.
    •Drying and smoking (smoking is optional).

    1. Meat selection. Dry hams are usually made from whole legs. It must be remembered that pork pork should be either certified free of Trichinosis or treated according to the USDA specifications.

    2. Curing. In the past when meats had to be kept without refrigeration the curing times were longer. For example the standard curing time for large pieces as ham and shoulders was about 3 days per pound and 2 days for small pieces like bacon. Even then, those curing times would be shortened by 1/3 when a product would be consumed sooner.

    A mixture of salt and nitrite is applied to the surface, then more salt is added on top and the meat is left top cure. A lot of salt is added as at this initial stage, this is the only protection against the growth of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Keep in mind that these products are not cooked and this is why more salt is needed. Since dry curing draws out moisture, it reduces ham weight by at least 18% - usually 20 to 25%; this results in a more concentrated ham flavor.

    Overhauling. In the first days of curing, the salt rapidly extracts moisture from the meat. Some of the salt is absorbed by the meat, but some salt dissolves in the newly created liquid and drains off. This resulting liquid is not needed and is removed by storing hams in containers that have holes at the bottom or laying hams on slanted tables. To continue the curing process, more mixture must be added. In addition when many meat cuts are cured together, some pieces may press against each other, preventing the cure from penetrating the meat. Overhauling which is basically re-arranging the order of cured meat, takes care of the problem.

    3. Equalizing/Resting. Hams are rinsed with tap water and any residual salt is brushed off from the surface. Then they are hung or placed on the shelf for salt equalization. This step takes 1-2 months depending on the size of the ham and other factors. The humidity is decreased as the drying continues. This step resembles drying fermented sausages. Due to the accumulation of salt inside, hams are bacteriologically more stable and will become more stable due to the continuous evaporation of moisture. Salt diffuses to all areas of the product and drying continues.

    Equalizing and resting is essential for:
    •Development of a proper color.
    •Development of flavor. The flavor should depend on the natural flavor of the meat itself and not on adding a variety of spices. The aroma of spices will not last for six months or longer and those are the times needed to make those products. The final flavor is the result of naturally occurring reactions inside of the meat and fats as well.

    4. Drying/Smoking is usually performed at 54-76° F (12-24° C) and every manufacturer has his own method, temperature range, humidity and air speed control. For products made at home, staying below 59° F (15° C) is the recommended setting as at this and higher temperatures pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus starts to grow faster.

    Cold smoke (
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  17. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Excerpt from Wedliny-Domowe... I guess some Italian prosciutto makers use nitrite......
    Don't know could be for the north american market - to beat some import barriers and allow for a shorter dry time (better price).

    The ones I buy have only two ingredients: salt and pork.
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  19. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  20. Pass the popcorn.

    IMHO you can't make old world prociutto starting with standard North American pork to begin with. Adding cure #2 is going to make a uniquely new world product, not anything remotely comparable to San Danelle.

    If you want to make old world prosciutto, and you have the ability to raise a feed a pig to European standards, this would be the forum to learn how to make pulled pork out of the shoulders but definitely the wrong place on the web to learn how to cure the hams.

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