Thursday, March 4, 2010

Simple way to make Parma ham (in theory)

This link gives extremely clear instructions on how to make Parma Ham. Whats also interesting is the lack of salt that they use which seems to be because they are only rubbing in the cure/salt mix and then vac packing it. I'm really excited by this as when I made my homemade proscuitto (parma ham) I was left with a huge amount of salt to get rid of. Today I bought curing salt and starter culture from their site...


  1. Let me know how this turns out. It looks great.
    I normally don't like to cheat but, I'm also into instant gratification. Would love to hear your taste comparisons to the original and then this one. I am sure that the shortened time is do to the use of nitrites and nitrates in the cure. Good luck

  2. The time that this one take 'in the salt' as it were is pretty much the same amount of time that it would spend in a traditional bed of salt method so its still gonna take a long time. However I do wonder how the big Parma ham manufacturers in Italy do it?

  3. They use super controlled environments like fermenting and aging rooms where they can control the temp and humidity to expidite the process. Make sure you still "press" the leg with this method though, from what I saw they left this step out of the instructions, but thier ham was clearly pressed. My smoke house should be done in about a week and I am going to try some "virginia" type hams, I will let you know how it goes. The bacon I just did came out a little to salty, but I think I have the solution for that, and my Pancetta is curing as we speak

  4. Thats a good point about the pressing. I missed that. I tried to make pancetta before but it was inedible because of the saltiness.

  5. Yah the saltiness is the thing that ruins it the most, and I like salt. So here is my theory some based on science and the rest opinion.
    You need the salt to cure the meat and if you don't have enough your screwed. Now there are ratios of Protien weight to salt but also inexact because the product can differ so,(Fat absorbs less, the age and amount of liquid in it will all affect this)
    So the salt creates an ionic bond with the protien and helps cure it, and if there is extra salt that does not bond your product is to salty.
    So if you soak your meat in water after it has been in your cure, through osmosis the extra salt should go into your water and out of the meat. In theory. About a half hour seems to work well.
    The problem is you are then reintroducing liquid when that is what you were trying to take out in the first place. This should work with your bacon, pancetta and hams but not salumi's or sausages,obviously.
    The Prosciutto is a mystery to me why it isn't to salty. That must be what the aging does is mellow it like Duck Confit I wonder if the Lard pulls it out????
    Keep me in the loop, unfortunatly in this process we will learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Hopefully we can keep each other from making the same mistakes. Why do you think your second Proscuito didn't work?

  6. I think it didn't work because I didn't weigh the leg before I put it in the salt. Apparently the leg should lay in the salt for 4 days per every kilo I just put it in for a month regardless of the weight. I need to adopt a more scientific approach it seems. The fact that maggots got in to it makes me think that it should have stayed in the salt for longer.

  7. Meateater,
    I bet not putting the weight on it was the biggest problem. From what I have read the maggots get in through the seam where the bone meets the meat as it shrinks./
    The science takes some of the fun out of it, but worth it.

  8. I did actually put a huge piece of granite on top just like I did with the first one. The puzzle continues...