Cured pork shoulder certainly occupies a prominent place in the production of Tuscan artisan cured meats, even if it is mistakenly considered a less valuable part,
The processing methods are almost the same as for Tuscan ham, but the curing phase is shorter than for Prosciutto Toscano, as the pork shoulder is thinner.
This ensures that there is a better assimilation of the various flavours and that less salt is also required.
Among typical Tuscan cured meats, cured pork shoulder has nothing to fear from the more noble Prosciutto Crudo Toscano.
Its lower appeal compared to prosciutto is due to the fact that the shoulder is taken from the front part of the pig’s legs, thus closer to the bone and with less meat.
PORK SHOULDER PROCESSING
The salting phase begins once the shoulder is trimmed, i.e. when it is removed from the rest of the pig.
For about 20 days, the pork shoulder is rubbed regularly with coarse salt.
Once the coarse salt has been removed with lukewarm water, the curing phase begins, lasting about three months, during which the pork shoulder is hung in a cool, dry place.
The last stage is the sugnatura phase.
On the part of the ham shoulder not covered with rind, a mixture of fat, salt, pepper and rice flour is applied by hand, which serves to prevent the outer part from drying out too much.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TUSCAN PROSCIUTTO CRUDO AND CURED PORK SHOULDER
When we buy a cured ham or pork shoulder, the first question we ask ourselves is:
what are the differences between these two artisan cured meats? and why the price difference?
We understand where this price difference comes from.
The first thing to say is that neither is better than the other, but they are simply two different sausages.
The first thing to bear in mind is where you get both products.
The pig has two front legs and two hind legs:
the front ones are the ones used to produce the shoulder and the back ones for the prosciutto.
By nature, the hind legs have much more flesh than the front legs.
This is reflected in the prosciutto, which will have much more meat than the shoulder.
Shoulder, although it can still be sliced, has much more bone and less meat is obtained compared to what we can do with prosciutto, from which almost everything can be extracted.
Another difference between Tuscan prosciutto and shoulder of ham is the curing time
Since there is less meat in the shoulder, curing in the cellar will be much shorter.
This is why the cost of producing a cured pork shoulder is lower than that of Tuscan ham.
So to conclude, the cost of selling to the public is not determined by a qualitative difference between the two products, but by the time it takes to produce them.
CURED PORK SHOULDER: FLAVOUR AND COMBINATIONS
The flavour of pork shoulder is much more intense, because the meat is much closer to the bone, and is therefore more suitable for those who appreciate stronger flavours.
The taste of prosciutto is no better than that of shoulder.
They are simply two different flavours, which as soon as you taste them, you will recognise and appreciate the distinctive qualities of each.
The shoulder more intense, the ham softer.
The flavour of this fantastic artisanal cured meat can win everyone over, especially when it is accompanied by a good Pecorino Toscano PDO, either fresh or aged .
If you want to savour cured pork shoulder, choose Toscana Food Lover. We have selected the best master pork butchers for you, so that you can enjoy only the best of Tuscan artisan cured meats.