Salt Cured Leg of Lamb

 or a kind of “prosciutto d’agnello”.

I took two legs of lamb with bone in about a eight pd approx, and made a brine of salt in gallon of water, I added salt till an egg would float, and then I put the legs of lamb in the brine in a crock and covered with a wooden float top that was weigh down with a well scrub rock that I tend to use for that crock.

It took three weeks, they said, roughly 2 days per pd of meat per leg but it took alittle long, perhaps because it was bone in? Where they said to debone the lamb leg for ease of cutting afterwards. The longer you leave it in, the larger and stronger your salted rind is likely to be.

Then I gave it a good rinse, an wrapped it in cheesecloth to protect it from flies and hung it to dry for a week, then moved them to a area in the cellar and placed in a wire basket, to allow for even airflow around the legs.

The recipe called for it to be ready in three months, it will be very dry, and you must like lamb as it will have a very stong flavor, typically served sliced very thin, it can be used in pea soup in replacement for salt pork, it can be used in tiny slivers like bacon, it can be used in dips to replace bacon, just dice very tiny and fine as a very little goes a long way.

I am very glad that I took the time to do this, as it gives me a very different an wonderful product to be included in my DDC recipes.

This is amazing, just think this meat is so beautifully preserved months later, the art of how our forefathers figured out how to keep food is becoming a lost art..

This entry was posted in 100 mile diet, Food Production and Recipes, sheep, Winter Eating Challange and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Salt Cured Leg of Lamb

  1. dreamfarming says:

    how do you know when it is done in the brine?

  2. adam says:

    We used to call this Speke, and my Norwegian grandmother made it every year, but I think it might be of Eastern European origin

  3. Mike says:

    Just taken my salt cured lamb out of its generous covering. It was my first attempt at salting lamb so I’ve used various off cuts. They’ve been in there for nearly a month and I’ve just pulled them out and washed them off before hanging in the cellar.

    Of course I’ve sneaked a slice just to see what it was like, and, as I was unsure ( 😉 ) I took a second slice.

    I’m more than happy with the result, living out here in the back of beyond with no fridge or freezer but an amazing root cellar, curing and smoking seems to be the way to go.

  4. kyle says:

    I’m just putting in 3 leg of lambs (just butchered a couple sheep) to my salt brine and wanting to know how you know when it is done in the brine? You said 2days/lb but it took a little longer (3 weeks)? How did you know it wasn’t done? I’m keeping the bone in and assuming I will be 3 weeks as well. Also, I’m assuming you could start cutting off some of the meat after cellaring for a month just to see how it progresses? Thanks for the info!

    • great questions, first wow, that is going to be a lot of salted meat with three legs being done, I would recommend doing a light smoke on one for a flavour profile change, I have done a lot of curing since this post, hmmm how to tell when done, the flesh texture and color changes, but the meats weight changes, check your weights, you will see that it will drop weight not gain weight. I will see if next time I can track a certain number for you.. the recipe called for that long slow curing hang time, but as long as you cover proper, yes you can cutting to see, but use the same leg, allowing the other two to age out fully 🙂

      • Kyle says:

        I butchered a few lambs so I had plenty and want to start learning how to cure/preserve meats like they did back in the day!

        Would I smoke it after I take it out of the brine or after I hang it for a couple months? It’s hard to keep my smoker cool. I need to build/buy a new one that can cold smoke better.

        After butchering them I hung them for 8days so they dropped a little weight already. I will keep an eye on them. I’m assuming 3weeks will ensure they’ve had enough time. I also put in 5cups of salt (3lbs) in about 16 quarts. I tasted the mix and it was super salty. I found somewhere it said 3lbs of salt and 4quarts of water but that much salt wouldn’t even dissolve in 4qts of water so don’t think that is accurate.

        Appreciate the help!

        Thanks,
        Kyle

      • hi kyle,

        you would cool-cold smoke after coming out of brine, dried a day to a week, you want it dry to touch before doing a light smoke, yes, three weeks at the weights given should get it done.. I hear you, I have followed and done mixes that you can not get the salt to melt in.. I have read time and time again, that for large batch curing that its traditional to work the salt cure till it will float the egg, its a interesting learning curve and tasting it will not give you that same ability to check that the egg will..

        having said that, I know that if you have made a mix that you can not dissolve more salt into the brine, that typically, you are going to be fine, just remember to add half a cup to a cup weekly to keep it as strong as the brine componts is going to change as it draws from the meat.. if you had floated the egg, I would still recommend weekly checks, a good stir and moving top piece to bottom and then sink cover the legs but at the amount you listed, I might also add half cup of fresh salt to the stir as well

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