Prosciutto de Orlando

Tonight I decided that I could no longer wait to cut into my suckling Prosciutto. I have been waiting months, and would wait no more!!! The only problem with charcuterie is the wait, but as they say, "Patience is a virtue." Well, I had waited long enough. The prosciutto had probably been ready for a month or so, but since this was my first attempt at curing a ham I decided to let it go as long as I possibly could without giving in...(and I did....both!).

I cured the prosciutto, rubbing it down with just kosher salt for a month. I covered the exposed muscle with a mixture of lard, semolina and ground black peppercorn, and I then hung the little thing at room temperature for about 72 hours, and then in to my curing chamber it went where it has been at about 62' F with an RH of 75 - 80%, with a constant breeze from my trusty little cool-eaze fan. It went into the chamber some time around early September, so hung for a total of about 5 months. Here is a picture of the finished prosciutto before I cut into it.

The yield on this thing was pretty bad (obviously) however my main goal with this project was to a) cure a prosciutto succesfully and b) prove that my chamber works. I feel that I was successful at both, and am more than happy with how my prosciutto turned out. Here you can see my yield after removing the semolina paste, skin and one of the muscles.

Clockwise from top: Semolina paste, muscle, skin, rest of prosciutto.

Now onto the flavor. I was happy with the way the flavor turned out considering the drying conditions are not quite as good as a barn in Parma. The color is a nice deep red. The smell is like a prosciutto, but is a bit gamey smelling (but in a nice aged meat way). It's almost nutty and grassy. The flavor is salty, a bit of melon at the beginning, but the finish is really gamey and reminds me almost of a country ham. (I wish my grandfather still had the property he grew up on in Kentucky. I would love to get into the old 'summer house' and hang some country hams.) The only problem is since the muscle is so small, I have to cut it with the grain, otherwise the pieces would be way too small. So, it is a little tough when cut this way, but what can you do?

These 2 are pictures of the muscle before I removed the skin

This is the cleaned prosciutto before slicing

Sliced and ready for tasting.....

Eat Local Week

Today is the start of Eat Local Week in Orlando. You can find a list of the restaurants and purveyors involved at the Slow Food Orlando website. Here is a copy of the menu Chef Windus put together for Bluezoo.

3 Course Tasting Menu $39


Cape Canaveral White Shrimp…
3 way hammock hollows cauliflower, pickled flambeau radish, meyer lemon vinaigrette
Hammock hollows herb co. cauliflower, radish, and meyer lemon,
Gary's seafood fresh florida shrimp


Rabbit confit…
maitake mushroom, truffle beurre noisette
Seely Farm, Dunnellon, Fl


Rosas Farms Grass Fed ribeye…
hammock hollows glazed turnips, baby sweet potatoes
Rosas farms beef, hammock hollows turnips

Florida black boar…
smoked shoulder, beer braised belly, celery root
Rosas farms boar, Orlando brewery beer

florida citrus pavlova…orange ice cream, citrus filled meringue, grapefruit gel, orange caramel
hammock hollows sunburst tangerines, Chinese honey oranges


A few days ago I cured another batch of pork shoulder for the house smoked tasso. The shoulder is cut down into slabs and then quick cured, rinsed, patted dry, rubbed down with a mixture of spices and smoked for 12 hours. We then dice it up and render it a bit with some tomato as a base for the risotto on our "Dirty South Swordfish", which is barbecue rubbed and seared in a smokin hot cast iron. I'll try to snap a shot of the finished product and the whole dish and post it up soon before the spring menu change.

Here are some shots of the shoulder being cured....


When reading about lardo in books and online, I came across a couple of different ways of curing it. Traditionally I believe that the Tuscan "Lardo di Colonata" is rubbed in salt, a mixture of herbs, black pepper and garlic, then placed in a marble tub called a "Conca", which is then placed in caves for 6 months and then hung to dry.

I will do most of my belly in this traditional fashion rubbed with a mix of rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, garlic and bllack pepper. This will cure for six months and then I will hang it to dry.

The second method I will do combines the method described in Rhulman's Charcuterie. They cure the fatback for a recomended 10 - 12 days (or until firm throughout). I will combine this with one that was posted on studio kitchen, where the fatback was rubbed with all of the ingredients and then cryovaced, which in theory should reduce the curing time. To this I added red pepper flakes, hoping that a tiny bit of heat may come through.

I will keep you posted on the results before and after hanging, and hope that both of these methods turn out.

the fatback

being salted

ready to be packed and pressed

cryovaced fatback, ready to be pressed

New Year, New Ventures

I must admit, the past year has gone extremely fast. There were many short days, many long days; busy days and slow days. I was able to do some things that I wanted to, but not everything. I hope to be really busy this year with curing meats, making sausages, pickling, preserving, etc. (That's the plan anyways).

The first project that I have begun is some preserved meyer lemons that we got in from Hammock Hollows. The citrus they have been sending us is ridiculous. The Honey Oranges are super sweet, the tangerines are sweet and tart, and the meyer lemons are HUGE!!! They are the size of oranges. I will cure them with a mixture of sugar, salt, some spices and bay leaf. I am also going to be curing some fat back for Lardo starting tomorrow. I am going to try a few different ways of curing, and plan on posting that adventure, so stay tuned......

But for now Happy New Year!!!!