Dry Convalescent Hams

Dry convalescent hams are not injected with a abating band-aid or absorbed in it. They may be smoked or not. Today, dry convalescent hams may be marketed as items that charge alertness on the allotment of the customer to accomplish them safe to eat. As with all meat products, it is important to apprehend the characterization of hams to actuate the able alertness needed. These basic hams are safe stored at allowance temperature because they accommodate so little baptize that bacilli can not grow. The way dry hams are fabricated today is not abundant altered from the action that was performed in the past. The aberration lies mainly in altitude control.

In the accomplished this action relied on compassionate the bounded altitude and the acquaintance of the operator. He had to adjudge on a circadian base which windows to accessible or how abundant baptize accompany inside. This empiric ability was not acquired brief but was anesthetized from ancestor to son. Today the technology of authoritative dry articles depends on the aforementioned accomplish as in the past, the aberration is that temperature and clamminess of dehydration accommodation are computer controlled.

Since dry abating draws out moisture, it reduces ham weight by at atomic 18% - usually 20 to 25%; this after-effects in a added concentrated ham flavor. Dry hams are saltier than added articles and afore confined are generally blood-soaked in baptize for 6-12 hours in refrigerator. The 5-6% or added alkali they accommodate is added for assurance reasons, to annihilate the advance of accident and pathogenic bacteria. This alkali plays a acute assurance agency in the antecedent date of the process, back the artefact contains a lot of moisture. As abating and dehydration continues, the ham loses added damp and beneath baptize charcoal accessible to bacteria. Dry-cured hams may be age-old added than a year. Six months is the acceptable action but may be beneath according to crumbling temperature.

The accomplish of loins and amateur is actual agnate to the action of authoritative hams, the aberration actuality the admeasurement of the artefact which influences the breadth of abating and drying.

The best accepted hams:

Name Description Smoked Country
Serrano Ham fabricated from white pigs, 110 kg, 6-7 months old. No Spain
Iberian Ham fabricated from atramentous Iberian pigs, 160 kg, 18-24 months old, that aching advisedly abreast oak trees. Fattened with oak acorns. No Spain
Parma No nitrates allowed. Convalescent with salt. Pig weight 150 kg, 12-18 months old. No Italy
San Daniele No nitrates allowed. Convalescent with sea salt. No Italy
Bayonne White pigs, 110 kg, 6-7 months old, boneless. No France
Country style The fastest assembly aeon of all dry hams. Usually fabricated aural 2-3 months. Yes USA
Westphalia Smoked with beech wood. Yes Germany
York Mild in flavor Yes England

The best accepted Italian hams (prosciuttos in Italian) are: Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Danelle, Prosciutto di Modena, Prosciutto di Carpegna, Prosciutto di Norcia, Prosciutto Toscano and Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo.

Then there is Prosciutto Cotto which is Italian adapted ham. Adapted hams are easier to aftermath and every country makes their own.

Without a agnosticism the hardest artefact to accomplish at home will be European dry convalescent hams due to their continued abating and crumbling times. This will crave altitude controlled dehydration accommodation and a cogent time investment. Addition agency which is above our ascendancy is the meat quality. All abundant Spanish and Italian hams are produced from pigs that abrade advisedly on a affirmation and their diet is supplemented by accustomed foods only. No chemicals or antibiotics are permitted.

The accomplish of dry articles such as hams, shoulders, butts or loins about follows these steps:

  • Meat selection, acid and trimming.
  • Salting/Curing/Overhauling.
  • Resting/Equalizing.
  • Drying and smoker (smoking is optional).

1. Meat selection. Dry hams are usually fabricated from accomplished legs. It charge be remembered that pork pork should be either certified chargeless of Trichinosis or advised according to the USDA specifications.

2. Curing. In the accomplished back meats had to be kept after algidity the abating times were longer. For archetype the accepted abating time for ample pieces as ham and amateur was about 3 canicule per batter and 2 canicule for baby pieces like bacon. Alike then, those abating times would be beneath by 1/3 back a artefact would be captivated sooner.

A admixture of alkali and nitrite is activated to the surface, again added alkali is added on top and the meat is larboard top cure. A lot of alkali is added as at this antecedent stage, this is the alone aegis adjoin the advance of accident and pathogenic bacteria. Accumulate in apperception that these articles are not adapted and this is why added alkali is needed. Back dry abating draws out moisture, it reduces ham weight by at atomic 18% - usually 20 to 25%; this after-effects in a added concentrated ham flavor.

Overhauling. In the aboriginal canicule of curing, the alkali rapidly extracts damp from the meat. Some of the alkali is captivated by the meat, but some alkali dissolves in the anew created aqueous and drains off. This consistent aqueous is not bare and is removed by autumn hams in containers that accept holes at the basal or laying hams on slanted tables. To abide the abating process, added admixture charge be added. In accession back abounding meat cuts are convalescent together, some pieces may columnist adjoin anniversary other, preventing the cure from biting the meat. Afterlight which is basically re-arranging the adjustment of convalescent meat, takes affliction of the problem.

3. Equalizing/Resting. Hams are rinsed with tap baptize and any balance alkali is brushed off from the surface. Again they are afraid or placed on the shelf for alkali equalization. This footfall takes 1-2 months depending on the admeasurement of the ham and added factors. The clamminess is decreased as the dehydration continues. This footfall resembles dehydration brewed sausages. Due to the accession of alkali inside, hams are bacteriologically added abiding and will become added abiding due to the connected dehydration of moisture. Alkali diffuses to all areas of the artefact and dehydration continues.

Equalizing and comatose hams is capital for:

  • Development of a able color.
  • Development of flavor. The acidity should depend on the accustomed acidity of the meat itself and not on abacus a array of spices. The balm of spices will not aftermost for six months or best and those are the times bare to accomplish those products. The final acidity is the aftereffect of artlessly occurring reactions central of the meat and fats as well.

4. Drying/Smoking is usually performed at 54-76° F (12-24° C) and every architect has his own method, temperature range, clamminess and air acceleration control. For articles fabricated at home, blockage beneath 59° F (15° C) is the recommended ambience as at this and college temperatures pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus starts to abound faster.

Cold smoke (< 68° F, 20° C) can be activated during the dehydration process. Algid smoker is basically dehydration with smoke and can be activated for a few weeks for 3-5 hours every day. Smoker inhibits the advance of bacilli on the apparent of the artefact and prevents molds from growing. It additionally imparts a altered acidity to the artefact which is admired by abounding consumers.

The factors affecting dehydration ham:

  • Diameter of the meat.
  • Amount of fat or bark on the apparent (ham).
  • Amount of intramuscular fat (ham) or fat trimmings in the sausage.
  • Water agreeable of the ham or sausage.

The dehydration is additionally afflicted by the temperature, clamminess and the air flow. Growing molds can impede dehydration of baptize by closing the pores on the surface. One of the methods to apathetic bottomward baptize accident in the after date of the dehydration action is to beforehand a attenuate band of drip on ham’s surface. In a acceptable meat bulb bearing hundreds of hams at a time, the affection ascendancy was based on beheld analysis and sniffing techniques. A baby probe, usually a attenuate horse cartilage 8 inches (20 cm) continued and 1/8 in (3 mm) bore was amid into areas of the ham that are decumbent to spoilage. The delving was anon sniffed by the able to ascertain any abnormal odor. With accurate beforehand in the acreage of instrumentation, there are cyberbanking instruments that are able to detect any off-odors as well.

European dry hams charge about one year to accomplish and the absolute weight accident in affiliation to the aboriginal weight is about 30 percent. The accomplished affection hams are usually produced with basic intact. Boneless hams, afterwards drying, will accept their basic removed by an able and again aeroembolism to access a adapted shape.

The U.S. regulations for authoritative dry hams and amateur are included in the Addendum B beneath § 319.106.

Formulations From The Past


In the accomplished the classical dry mix blueprint for 100 lbs of meat was:

8 lbs. salt
3 lbs. amoroso (optional)
3 oz. nitrate (saltpeter)

Using contempo standards for dry abating 100 lbs of meat, we can administer 453 g (1 lb.) of Cure #1 (or less) to be in acquiescence with the best accustomed akin of 625 ppm.

Pepper or added spices may be added to the abating mix.

This blueprint was activated at the bulk of 1¼ to 1½ ounces per batter of meat. One ounce of mix per one batter of meat was advised the minimum amount.


The dry mix was disconnected into 4 according genitalia and 2 genitalia were set abreast for after use.

Day Application
1 The aboriginal bisected (2/4) of the admixture was agilely rubbed in all over the ham, demography appropriate affliction to backpack the admixture with thumbs forth the basic as far as possible. The hams were placed an a slanted table or in containers with holes in the basal to cesspool aqueous away.
3 The meats were rubbed with ¼ th of the admixture and the stacking adjustment was re-arranged. The pieces that were on top afore were placed on the basal and carnality versa.
10 The meats were rubbed with the aftermost ¼ th of the admixture and the stacking adjustment was re-arranged. The pieces that were on top afore were placed on the basal and carnality versa.
21 For best after-effects ample hams were overhauled afresh on the 21st day.

The hams were kept at 38-40° F (3-4° C), and at aerial clamminess to anticipate boundless dehydration and hardening of the apparent which would accept inhibited damp abatement during the dehydration process. Hams were placed fat ancillary bottomward and the abating connected for about 2-3 weeks. The accepted abating times for hams were as follows:

  • 2 canicule per batter for baby pieces and the bacon.
  • 3 canicule per batter for hams and shoulders.

Making Your Own Cure Mix

The accustomed bulk of nitrite that goes into dry articles is 625 ppm. For comparison, the bulk of acceptable nitrite in approved comminuted articles (sausages) is 156 ppm, which is four times lower. The acumen is that dry articles booty abundant best to accomplish and nitrite dissipates in meat rapidly, abnormally at college than refrigerator temperatures. Some of the mix avalanche off the meat during abrading in, some mix is done abroad by the clarification liquid.

Dry Cure Mix for 1 kg (1000 g) of Dry Meat Products
Salt Sugar (optional) Cure #1 Sodium Nitrite in PPM
5-6% 2% (20 g) 1% (10 g) 625

All you accept to adjudge is how acrid of a artefact you desire. Get the calculator and bite in some numbers.


How abundant dry cure is bare for 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of meat?
Salt at 6% = 0.06 x 1000 g = 60 g
Sugar 2% = 0.02 x 1000 g = 20 g
Cure #1 = 0.01 x 1000 g = 10 g

The allotment of alkali and amoroso in the aloft table is not set in stone. You can use beneath alkali or added sugar, depending on what artefact is produced. Dry convalescent ham that will not be air-conditioned needs 5-6%, refrigerator kept loin or bacon will charge less.

Dry Convalescent Loins, Amateur and Butts

The technology of authoritative accept and butts follows the rules for authoritative hams, but the action is faster due to the abate admeasurement of meat cuts.

  1. Salting - about 7 days, 36-40° F (2-4° C).
  2. Equalizing - 30 canicule at 46° F (8° C), 75% humidity.
  3. Drying/Maturing - 21 days, 68-72° F (20-22° C), 65-70% humidity.

When dehydration is performed at lower temperatures the time will be longer, for archetype at 54° F (12° C), 70% clamminess it may booty 6 weeks.

Loins are accessible back about 35% weight accident has occurred.

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