Curing and smoking

Air Dried Ham (Prosciutto or “Parma” Style)

March 15, 2017

Air dried ham takes between 12 and 15 months.


1 leg of pork
Plastic box big enough to take leg of pork
Pure dried vacuum salt (up to 10 kg)
Malt vinegar


Weigh the leg, wipe all over with vinegar and dry with a clean tea towel. Avoid using kitchen paper as this can disintegrate.

Put the box somewhere that is cool, dry, away from vermin and can be left undisturbed for a month. Add a layer of PDV salt (about 2cm) to the box. Place the leg on top with the skin facing down.  Pour salt over the leg until it is completely covered. Make sure that there is an additional 2cm layer of salt on top.

Place a sheet of plywood which just fits inside the box on top of the salt. Weigh this down. Concrete blocks, bricks, bags of cement are all good. Leave the box for 3 days per kilo. Make a note in the diary!

Leg of ham partially covered in PDV salt

Remove ham from salt. Rinse under cold running water. Dry with a tea towel. Rub with malt vinegar.  Wrap loosely in muslin or hang in a net bag. Make sure that it is hanging somewhere that is cool and breezy. Avoid direct sunlight or anywhere that will warm it up. Leave it for anywhere between six months and a year.  Inspect every month. Clean off mound with a toothbrush dipped in malt vinegar.

Ham after 12 months air drying

If the meat is still soft to the touch then it’s not ready. Wait until it is firm.

To serve – cut away the skin and as much of the fat as possible. Using a long and thin carving knife, cut wafer thin slices as required.  To store, wrap tightly in cling film and store in the fridge.

First cut into air dried ham

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