Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Air dried cured Meat Techniques

Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:31 am

Just saw a good butcher in town has a special on this week of local pork legs for $1.29/lb. Haven't picked one up yet but at that price it would be almost criminal not to. On to my question ... what should I make? My thoughts are as follows:

1) Classic Prosciutto. Just use a top of the line sea salt and do everything as authentic as possible.
2) An American Country ham. This uses cure as well as salt and sugar and is typically not aged quite as long as a prosciutto. Optional to smoke or not.
3) Something like a prosciutto but with the addition of a cure and and several days of smoke (alternating 12 hours on, 12 off).

So what does the board think? Also, I have some untreated maple boards that I was considering making a prosciutto press with, including runoff drainage lines or something. I haven't put much thought into it yet, figured I would ask some opinions first. Thanks team!
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby wheels » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:16 pm

All of the above, plus I'd certainly do a cooked ham: One of the ones from the forum tutorials:

viewforum.php?f=16

...or something like this one:

http://curedmeats.blogspot.co.uk/2011/1 ... cotta.html

Phil
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:45 pm

wheels wrote:All of the above, plus I'd certainly do a cooked ham: One of the ones from the forum tutorials:

viewforum.php?f=16

...or something like this one:

http://curedmeats.blogspot.co.uk/2011/1 ... cotta.html

Phil


I have done the 10% injection cure and dry rub before with excellent results! I'm thinking a classic prosciutto for sure just can't seem to find a definitive answer of methods and have never done one. Seems it can only use sea salt, no nitrites/nitrates. If I tried my hand at this it would be a gamble without some clearer directions ... although I have read up quite a bit.

Not sure if I really have much room in the curing chamber to do any more than 2 though.
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:32 pm

I think I would add cure #2 if I was doing prosciutto. I should add, a few questions I have that I am unsure of ...

1) Bone-in or out? If bone in I would at least remove the aitch bone correct? Is one preferred to the other for home curing?
2) Press or not? I can do the press, there are so many conflicting ways to do it some say press some don't.

Here is what my instinct tells me (I haven't calculated times/amounts yet as don't have the legs) 5% good sea salt by weight. Add cure #2 for food safety. Remove aitch bone but leave the rest intact and try to squeeze out any artirial blood. Rub half the mixture using wet salt for skin and dry for exposed meat areas. Press between two maple boards on a slight angle with a tray to catch liquid that drains. After a set numbers of days (again will calculate more specific after) release from press, turn over and rub remaining cure. Place back under press. After curing time, remove and wash well, dry. Place on shelf to equalize salts for set period of time. When equalization is complete, rub exposed meat with lard and hang to age. Is that the correct process? Does the ham need to be covered during curing/equalization process?
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:21 am

Ok, so I got a leg and will trim up and salt/cure tomorrow. I am going to remove the aitch bone and leave the rest intact. Plan is to cure at 4% salt with cure #2 in addition. I will apply 2/3rds of the cure and place in the homemade prosciutto press (see pics below) where it will cure for somewhere around 14 days. After that, remove, wipe off excess cure, reapply the last 1/3rd and place back in press for another 14 days or so. So far so good?

Prosciutto Press, slanted for drainage and using a cutting board that fits it perfectly with weights to be placed on top:
Image

The inside of the press, note the bottom is lined with a plastic flexible cutting board. Left holes in the corner for drainage, will place a pan underneath to catch the liquid:
Image

So how does everything look so far?
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby wheels » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:29 pm

Wow, that press looks 'the business'. I've never done this myself, so I follow this with interest.

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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby yotmon » Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:45 pm

Hi ComradeQ, when you remove the aitch bone don't forget to press and cut out the blood vein that lies behind it, otherwise it can cause the pork to sour. legs used to be beaten with a wooden bat to clear the blood, but cutting it out should suffice.

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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:49 pm

yotmon wrote:Hi ComradeQ, when you remove the aitch bone don't forget to press and cut out the blood vein that lies behind it, otherwise it can cause the pork to sour. legs used to be beaten with a wooden bat to clear the blood, but cutting it out should suffice.

Ste.


Great advice, thanks I made sure to get it out and then beat the leg a little with my fists before squeezing out the blood ... got a fair bit!

wheels wrote:Wow, that press looks 'the business'. I've never done this myself, so I follow this with interest.

Phil


Lol, yeah I am very happy with it thus far, hopefully it does the job!

So here are some updates ... leg was 11315 grams to start, trimmed it down to 9821 grams. To cure this I used 393 grams of sea salt with 22 grams of cure #2 mixed in (393 was 4% salt, I did not account for the cure). I divided 2/3rds of the mix and rubbed the leg down, focusing on the exposed areas of meat and under skin/around bones. I then placed inside my press, scraped up all salt that had fallen off and sprinkled that on top. Placed the board and the foil wrapped bricks on top (yes I wrapped them in foil as they had been outside in the garage and were a little dusty). Weight was around 30lbs including board and bricks. Into the fridge this has gone for 14 days or so. Will update when I reach phase 2, the second rub.

Trimmed up:
Image

Salt and cure divided:
Image

In the press and ready for fridge at 1-3°C:
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:11 am

Update time ... on to second salting phase, aimed for 14 days but got tied up working 12/7 and been so exhausted it got put off a day so it was 15 days. Salted up with second 1/3 of reserved salt/cure. Back into the fridge for another 14 days. Everything looks and smells great so far, exciting!

Fresh out of fridge, ready for second salting:
Image

Salted up and going back in press and fridge:
Image
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby wheels » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:59 pm

Lookin' good! :D :D :D

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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:16 pm

Quick update: curing and equalization is complete, hung my prosciutto in my curing chamber and now the hard part, three months to dry and then I will apply a stuccatura (lard, rice flour, black pepper) to the exposed areas and then age for at least 9 months. Got a long time to go!

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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby NCPaul » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:43 pm

Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby wheels » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:30 pm

Looks like it's still on track. :D :D :D

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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby yotmon » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:11 am

Hi QC, is the hock carrying a bruise around the knuckle joint ? From the photos, the skin has a darkened appearance or is it just because the rind is starting to dry out. Maybe worth cutting a small slit into the skin to make sure there is no jelly like substance beneath, otherwise it may cause taint.
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Re: Whole Pork Leg - What to Make?

Postby ComradeQ » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:23 am

yotmon wrote:Hi QC, is the hock carrying a bruise around the knuckle joint ? From the photos, the skin has a darkened appearance or is it just because the rind is starting to dry out. Maybe worth cutting a small slit into the skin to make sure there is no jelly like substance beneath, otherwise it may cause taint.


I don't know if it is a bruise, I think it is just starting to dry a bit. It's been hanging for almost a week and while pressing that was the exposed area that was not covered by the press. I'm assuming it is ok, maybe the curing press should have been more air tight? I notice upon reviewing my first pictures that there was a slight dark area around the hock. Do you think it will cause a problem?

I took your advice and cut a small slit, doesn't appear to be any jelly. However, now I'm worried, lol!

I think next time I should cure in a bag in the press?
Last edited by ComradeQ on Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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