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Making Jamon Serrano or proscuitto

 
Nechda Chekanov
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I am getting one of my sisters Pigs back from the butcher this weekend.
Raised on pasture and Chinese food. Hahah.

Anyway... A planning on doing a Jamon Serrano style ( very like proscuitto). I have watched many tutorials, basically you salt it, press it and hang it for a year or two.
Has anyone done this?

We are trying to get away from freezer storage and will be canning and drying a lot of it. Would appreciate any suggestions or experience.

Also.... In the USA people don't can terrines ( country pâté ) but in Europe they do, so I am going to get a recipe rom Europe and do it. Anyone have experience with this?
 
Julia Winter
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Yes, we made both hams from a whole hog into prosciutto a couple of years ago. I followed the instructions in Michael Ruhlman's book Charcuterie. It was late fall in Wisconsin, so I felt comfortable for the first couple of weeks when you've got raw meat packed in salt--it was in a cooler, out in my garage, less than 40 degrees fahrenheit the whole time. Of course, people made hams in Virginia and other places further south. . .

As I recall, I packed the hams in salt and then every couple of days I would drain the brine and repack in dry salt, turning the meat and also weighting it down to flatten it a bit. After that, the cut surface was plastered with lard and then that was covered in cracked black pepper and a string was tied around the bony end to hang them up. We wrapped them in many loose layers of cheesecloth, to keep out bugs, and hung them in our laundry room, but far away from the washer and dryer (it's a rather big room--point is, it's in the basement, on the north side, so consistently cool). At that point it was just a whole lot of waiting. What you get is very flavorful and very salty. This is not ham to be eaten in slices, but something to be sliced paper thin and used to flavor other things.

Another thing to look into with your hog is fermented sausages, like salami.
 
John Polk
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I agree with Julia's recommendation of Charcuterie. It is one of the best books on the subject.

Look at this great site...the best sausage/ham/etc site on the internet...
Has sausage recipes from all over the world, plus great info on smoking, preserving, etc.
http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/

 
Nechda Chekanov
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Julia Winter wrote:Yes, we made both hams from a whole hog into prosciutto a couple of years ago. I followed the instructions in Michael Ruhlman's book Charcuterie. It was late fall in Wisconsin, so I felt comfortable for the first couple of weeks when you've got raw meat packed in salt--it was in a cooler, out in my garage, less than 40 degrees fahrenheit the whole time. Of course, people made hams in Virginia and other places further south. . .

As I recall, I packed the hams in salt and then every couple of days I would drain the brine and repack in dry salt, turning the meat and also weighting it down to flatten it a bit. After that, the cut surface was plastered with lard and then that was covered in cracked black pepper and a string was tied around the bony end to hang them up. We wrapped them in many loose layers of cheesecloth, to keep out bugs, and hung them in our laundry room, but far away from the washer and dryer (it's a rather big room--point is, it's in the basement, on the north side, so consistently cool). At that point it was just a whole lot of waiting. What you get is very flavorful and very salty. This is not ham to be eaten in slices, but something to be sliced paper thin and used to flavor other things.

Another thing to look into with your hog is fermented sausages, like salami.

So we did all that... But have them hanging surrounded in muslin. But I read not to lard them until they. Have. Hung for four months. They've been hanging a few weeks at this point and smell fine so far...
Did you lard right away?
 
Jennifer Jennings
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Prosciutto is serious stuff, and always been very intimidating to me. I'll have to get Ruhlman's book now; you've got me really inspired to attempt it. If mine passes muster with the Italian in-laws, I might make the family "favorites" list...
 
John Kindziuk
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Hi Nechda,

You are talking some serious stuff. I recommend visiting an interesting site http://www.meatsandsausages.com/ They were previously known by their Polish name wedlinydomowe.com This site has been rated on top of Google in many areas. Check their Hams & Meats section, a lot of first hand information.
 
Julia Winter
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Hey Nechda, sorry I never answered--I don't think I ever got an email telling me to come back to this discussion.

We did lard them right away, but I can see why you might wait a while. I would guess that the cut surface loses moisture faster than the intact outer surfaces of the whole ham. In fact, much of the exterior of the whole ham has a natural coating of fat, right? The lard is to try to equalize that, I would think. Also, fats are much more rot-resistant than the water and protein mix that is meat. Delaying the lard coating might speed up the drying, but it could also lead to uneven drying.

Anyway, how do they look? I think we cut into the first prosciutto after six months of hanging, and let the other one age for at least a year. We liked it, but also thought that maybe two whole hams this way was perhaps too much, so we next learned to do a brined and smoked ham. Wowza! That was terrific, and that's what we've made since. However, we have been living here in Wisconsin with 2, count them, 2 big deep freezes, so it's easy to keep things until we want to eat them. We are moving to Portland where we almost certainly will have less room, so maybe another prosciutto is in our future. It's important to learn how to sharpen the right kind of knife and cut the prosciutto paper thin, so you can serve it as a condiment rather than something to chew on.
 
Johan Thorbecke
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If you're still in the drying business you could consider making guanciale. It's from the meat around the jaw and chin(I don't know the proper name of the cut) and made in a way that's almost the same as ham. It's quite fatty but that's where the taste is.
 
Julia Winter
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Sounds good. I can't wait to get another hog, but right now we are trying to figure out where to live in Portland. I'm afraid I haven't done much with my hog heads in the past--just incorporated the meat into sausage, I think. I know people also brine and cure the jowl meat, like bacon.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Johan Thorbecke wrote:If you're still in the drying business you could consider making guanciale. It's from the meat around the jaw and chin(I don't know the proper name of the cut) and made in a way that's almost the same as ham. It's quite fatty but that's where the taste is.


Jowl. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2012/05/03/what-good-is-a-pig-cuts-of-pork-nose-to-tail/

Much like bacon but different texture.
 
John Polk
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Walter, thanks for that link. I have read much on your site, but had never seen that particular 'page'.
I'll certainly review it before I buy a hog to be butchered.
Walking into the butcher shop knowing exactly what I want will be very beneficial - no under utilized or wasted parts.

As most people already know, "you cannot cook beans without pork". That page points out a lot of options in that regard, thus saving some of the 'more desirable' parts for better uses. The page helpfully points out the many uses that many may have overlooked when either butchering, or buying a butcher-ready hog.

If you have to feed 'the whole hog', it doesn't make sense to only utilize part of it, when it all has a use.
 
Peri Ledo
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One of the secrets to get it right is low humidity. A cold and dry winter will give you great results.
Ah, don´t paint or use chemicals, or strong aromas in the same room where you hang your hams... I know it sounds pretty obvious, but I have a friend who ruined 6 jamones and 4 paletillas (front legs, boney but tasty) this way.
 
Peri Ledo
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And about using the whole hog... in here we say that from a pig we love it all, even the way the walk!
I´m from spain, where jamón serrano is made, btw.
 
Dawn Hoff
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Peri Ledo wrote:And about using the whole hog... in here we say that from a pig we love it all, even the way the walk!
I´m from spain, where jamón serrano is made, btw.

That's what I thought - we buy salted pig skin, ears and feet to put in stews on the mercado, dried chorizo, salchicon, lomo (loin), paletta (front leg) and if course jamon (I buy only iberico, the black foot pigs that are raised on acorn - their meat is so dark it looks like wild boar - but more tender).

Can't wait to have my own pigs
 
josh brill
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We had a ham hanging for the past 8 months. The only time we had to do anything to it was during the extra humid period of time we had during mid summer. We had to move it to a place where there was a better cross breeze. Before we moved it it started showing signs of getting some mold on it. After we moved it the mold growth stopped. I was a little worried about eating it the first time. So I just cut off a small sliver ate it then waited a day before trying a bigger slice. I havn't dropped dead yet so I think we are in the clear.
Josh
 
Walter Jeffries
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"Josh Brill" Official Taste Tester for the King!

Every tribe needs one.
 
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