Pigs suitable for Serrano style ham

Keeping pigs or any other animals

Pigs suitable for Serrano style ham

Postby rogpayne » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:06 am

Good day to everyone this is my first post having just found this great website. I have been making sausages and smoking meat for some time but having had a long conversation with a friend who used to live in the UK but now lives on the Spain Portugal border, it sound like a good idea to make some Serrano style ham.
Now I have several problems, firstly I live in Thailand (ex. Pat) where the temperature seldom falls below 25 degrees at any time of the year and can often be in the mid thirties. Not ideal to air dry a ham! I am however a designer and work wih amongst other things steel, glass and insulation materials. I propose to build a cool cabinet capable of holding say 6 hams. I also am lucky to know refrigeration design engineers who will help me with the temperature control and humidity control. My real problem revolves around what pig should I use for this ham? I can easily get a local person to farm pigs for me but the breed is the main concern. Obviously it needs to be a breed that is available in Thailand. I am told that it is a normal "white" pig that is used but hopfully someone here will be able to advise me. Thank you in advance.
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Postby Snags » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:27 am

yet to take the plunge still researching
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Postby rogpayne » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:13 pm

Hi, Thanks for the information but maybe we have to find another alternative to the Acorns at $2.5 a pound plus shipping from America! Perhaps Chinese chestnuts would be the way to go for the final finishing, I'll have to check out prices.
Ok on the Iberian Black Pig, though having had a quick look around I cannot find any around in Thailand, like you I will continue to search out the information. I'll keep progress posted meanwhile I am off for my long awaited chorizo style dried sausage that I made two plus months ago. Superb and well worth the wait.
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Postby quietwatersfarm » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:40 pm

The Korean Native pig would be a good breed if you can source young stock.

They are a breed that has many similarities with older European meat breeds and have many genetic similarities too as they have been bred with teh likes of Berkshires for many generations.

These will give you the basis for what you want, but feeding and husbandry will dictate the quality odf the hams.

Feed fresh food rather than grain to grow slow and allow the right kinds of fats to develop. Dont rush them and they will give you what you want :D
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Postby grisell » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:54 pm

I don't know too much about races, but actually, wouldn't any kind of free-grazing pig work? I think it's important that they get the ability to put on a lot of fat. Whether they eat acorn or chestnuts may not be important. However, I think that the bacteriological and parasitical control down there has to be 100%. Remeber that air-dried ham is more or less raw and curing doesn't kill parasites. Also, you will have to protect the hams from all kinds of insect and rodent infestation. Don't want to deter you, just that I think that in Thailand's climate, these problems tend to magnify compared to colder climates. You will need to take measures.
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Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:20 pm

grisell wrote:Remeber that air-dried ham is more or less raw and curing doesn't kill parasites.


Not sure if I understand this at all?

If your air dried ham is 'more or less raw' then you are doing something very wrong! :shock: if you just think it is then you need to appreciate what is going on when curing meat properly.

Climatic control is no more complex in Thailand than anywhere else, cooling is no more difficult a proposition than heating. Asia is not overrun with parasites, rodents and insects in a way that cannot be dealt with by the same hygiene requirements as we all face.

Welcome to the forum Rogpayne and I look forward to hearing how things progress, there is a wealth of well informed help availiable from a lot of the guys on here so I'm sure you will be helped along as you go :D
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Postby rogpayne » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:40 pm

Hi Thank you all for the response to my request for assistance. I originally hail from Bristol so North Devon was one of my favourite places to visit. It seems to me that I can build a cool room with sufficient control to deal with curing of the ham so I start next month designing a cabinet. I should be able to get it built by the end of January if I am lucky. At the same time I may built an extra cabinet for cold smoking as I would like to try that as well, currently I am only able to hot smoke. I'll ask some further advice when it get nearer the time as I do not know much about cold smoking such as how long to smoke Salmon etc. There does seem to be a wealth of experience between you so I am grateful for the information that has been forthcoming. I look forward to being able to contribute myself with various recipes etc.
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Postby rogpayne » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:46 pm

grisell wrote: Remeber that air-dried ham is more or less raw and curing doesn't kill parasites. Also, you will have to protect the hams from all kinds of insect and rodent infestation. .


I am green when it comes to raising pigs but surely one can kill parasites in the body of the pig before it is slaugtered? Scondly will a parasite last for a year whilst the ham is curing in a cold temperatue?
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Postby grisell » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:34 am

I'm sorry. I didn't read you properly. You are going to build a fully climate-controlled facility. I for some reason thought you would dry the hams outdoors. Don't know where I got that from.

However, at least Trichinae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinella may be a problem with free-grazing pigs. I don't know the prevalence in Thailand, but I'm sure the authorities can inform you about that. I'm not certain that they will be killed by the curing process.
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Postby rogpayne » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:38 am

Andre thank you for the reply, I will try to find out about the parasite Trichinella in Thailand. Currently my friends in Sweden tell me it's a "bit" cold there so no problem for you to air dry!!
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Postby grisell » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:50 am

-7 C outside. 22% RH inside. Too dry for drying. I have to hang wet towels in my curing chamber to get to the desired 75%.
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Postby rogpayne » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:15 am

Of course at those temperatures the RH will be low, Humidity control I need to speak with a man called Paul who builds heat pumps here (they are amazings things 60,000 btu of heat for an electrical input of 3.5 kw) anyway he in in Australia for a week. I understand it is not so difficult to do. When I have completed the project I will happily give the drawings to anyone who wants to make a drying cabinet. I will do my best to keep it simple as possible so anyone can build it.
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Postby quietwatersfarm » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:51 am

grisell wrote:However, at least Trichinae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinella may be a problem with free-grazing pigs. I don't know the prevalence in Thailand, but I'm sure the authorities can inform you about that. I'm not certain that they will be killed by the curing process.


Unless you were planning to feed your pigs untreated waste, garbage, rats or other pigs then the risk of infection is low . Eliminating such practices has effectively eradicated it here. :D

Following the correct methods and proceedures for dry curing solid muscles and salumi is accepted as an entirely satisfactory way to mitigate against any Trichinae risk that might exist, just as cooking or freezing are.

USDA give detailed guidelines for the prescribed treatment of pork (and products containing pork) to destroy trichinae by dry curing. These, along with the basic biochemical functions involved in salt curing and drying, are the sort of things to familiarise youself with when contemplating taking up curing to avoid either misunderstandings, potential risks or unnecessary concerns :D
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Postby grisell » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:59 am

quietwatersfarm wrote:
grisell wrote:However, at least Trichinae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinella may be a problem with free-grazing pigs. I don't know the prevalence in Thailand, but I'm sure the authorities can inform you about that. I'm not certain that they will be killed by the curing process.


Unless you were planning to feed your pigs untreated waste, garbage, rats or other pigs then the risk of infection is low . Eliminating such practices has effectively eradicated it here. :D

Following the correct methods and proceedures for dry curing solid muscles and salumi is accepted as an entirely satisfactory way to mitigate against any Trichinae risk that might exist, just as cooking or freezing are.

USDA give detailed guidelines for the prescribed treatment of pork (and products containing pork) to destroy trichinae by dry curing. These, along with the basic biochemical functions involved in salt curing and drying, are the sort of things to familiarise youself with when contemplating taking up curing to avoid either misunderstandings, potential risks or unnecessary concerns :D


Ok, thanks for the info.
André

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Postby dorsets21 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:14 pm

in general any old style pig is best as they have more fat on them,i have 2 hams that are 6 years old hanging in my porch all year round, their from a tamworth pig , and having lived in spain not a bad copy if i do say so myself 4 more years to go :cry: :cry: :cry:
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