Let's all check in on my meat

Some people ask me, "How do you know if the meat your curing is going bad?" 

I read a book once that summed it up: If it's bad, you'll know. 

Transient

Once, a couple of years ago, I went downstairs, and one of the prosciuttos was... moving. And dripping. And in all my reading, I didn't recall that ever being called out as one of the things that was supposed to happen. But worst of all, the faint, all-is-right-with-the-world odor of meat & salt had gone slightly sweetish. In the way that your great aunt smells sweetly of medicine and must and well past its prime foundation powder. 

No. I was wrong. The 'my ham is moving' was definitely the worst part.

I lost two prosciuttos that way that year - which means I had a gap in my prosciutto supply last fall. 

The muslin sack on the furthest right cut is what I use to wrap the prosciuttos after they sit in a box of salt for a few weeks. That gives the prosciutto time to air, without being found by the flies and turned into a nursery for their young. After a year or so, I unwrap them to finish hanging. 

Interestingly, I've never had that issue with pancetta (the hanging rolls of belly in between the legs of pig).  I have no idea why. But I'm not one to start questioning the laws of the charcuterie universe. And they only hang for 8 weeks or so before they're ready anyway. 

Transient

On the other side of my basement, my coppas are looking really nice. Those first two turgid looking hunks of meat are what I wrapped in the salted, stretchy lower intestine of a cow (that's what a beef bung is) along with salt and a few other spices. They have about another 10 weeks to go before they're ready. I've never put these up before, but from what I can see, they're looking pretty happy. 

In between the other two prosciutto sacks is a much smaller lamb prosciutto which is ready... well, now.  It takes 100 days or so, instead of the 2 years, but otherwise followed the same process. 

Coupled with what's in our freezers, we've got enough meat put aside to last a while. You just have to be patient enough to wait for it to be ready.

And don't eat the ones that still move. That's pretty much a sign that things went wrong.