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73 responses to “Duck Prosciutto”

  1. Tom Gowans

    I hadn´t eaten duck in years and then the other day, Marcia came in with a huge bag of duck breasts which were delicious and not at all like the mass produced kind. Since stuff like this in Angola is a rarity, I told her to buy a load more. So I am going to give this a go! Since you discourage the use of muslin, I will build a small case with mosquito net sides and hang it in an airy location and let nature control the humidity, I have no other option!

    I will let you know how it goes.

  2. Todd

    Could you explain how you are controlling the humidity so finely? Also, I have a wine cooler that maintains a nice 55 degree temp. Would this work, or ideally would I want something a bit colder?


  3. Daniel Roloff

    Field and Stream had a recipe that made me want to try this for myself, my wife is very leary of uncooked meat. I tried telling her it is cured and mankind has been doing it for thousands of years but she still doesn’t like it. Thanks for the ispiration, I gotta do it now, at least after I make up a prok belly into some fancy French Bacon! I just need to find myself some duck/goose. 😀

  4. Barbara Giacometti

    This just intrigues me. I have never tried this although I have cooked alot of Duck and gooose during Hunting season. What a fabulous idea! We will have to try it. Looking forward to your cook book. I make a duck sauce with Homemade Pappardelle pasta that is fabulous. YOu have just reminded me to add it to my blog. Thanks!
    btw, I found you through Karie Engels.
    barbara Giacometti
    Sunday at the Giacometti’s

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  8. R Hileman

    I just spent the better part the day and most of yesterday afternoon devouring your site with a great big smile on my face, so I thought I would take a moment to say hello and thanks.

    I’m hoping in particular to try the prosciutto (and the salami) on both ducks and geese in the near future.

    Your approach to food and cooking lines up wonderfully with mine (although you’ve obviously got more skills/experience) so I rather feel like I’ve found a treasure trove of information and guidance to move my food preparations to the next level.

  9. Mike Wetzel

    Hey Hank,

    I just recently finished dry curing a venison hindquarter, thus venison prosciutto! It cured beautifully, however the flavor was not desirable. The salt content was right on, but the intense gaminess that resulted made it very unsatisfying. Crisping slices in a pan with duckfat helped significantly. Thought you might be interested, there are some pictures on my facebook. (profile pic is my son in front of my curing chamber.)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Pete

    Question for the goose prosciutto guru here. I am 3.5 weeks into hanging 2 Canada goose breasts prepared your “spicy” way. Only problem is, I live in Colorado where there is virtually no humidity. I hung it at the bottom of my refrigerator rather than try anything outdoors (given that it is even colder and probably less humid outside). How do you think the finished product is likely to be affected? Too dry? Super hard? Dangerous in any way to at least sample? I am thinking it is about time to try one….

  11. Pete

    Thanks, Hank. I will check it out in the next few days and let you know.

  12. Pete

    Well, I cut into one tonight. It was a pretty uniform consistency all the way through…kind of like moist jerky. It was less than half the thickness it was when first hung. I took a small bite but didn’t swallow, not because the immediate flavor was bad but because the texture got gooey after a few chews and I was paranoid. Is there a way to post a picture here so I can show you? Mostly the knowledge that my hang was so far outside optimal conditions kept me from diving in. Oh well, I have more goose in the freezer if I can figure out how to create some humidity out here.

  13. Jordan

    I have a question regarding the use of Cure #2 when curing whole muscles. Every recipe I have seen for larger cuts (Bresaola, Lonzino) call for IC#2 but duck or goose breasts do not require it. Is there a certain size where it becomes critical to use IC#2? Or is this because pork and beef is treated differently than fowl?

    Great website by the way and congrats on the award.

  14. Jordan

    Thanks, that makes sense. The reason I asked was that I was breaking down a pork leg over the weekend and one of the pieces I was left with was a lean, somewhat long muscle. It kind of looked like a small eye of round and I had the urge to cure it. So I scaled down a lonzino recipe but was out of Cure #2 so I have been trying to suss out whether this will be something I can eventually eat, or just an interesting science experiment.

  15. Johannes

    Thank you for an excellent guide.

    I have a small flock of muscovy ducks that I rear for my own meat production and was hoping to make prosciutto both for my own consumption and as a gift item for friends and family.

    I’m curious as to how to choose the temperature for the ageing (the temperature range you provide of 45-60 degree is quite wide).

    I have at my disposal a professional meat locker which allows me to precisely adjust both temperature and humidity.

    Can you explain more about how the temperature chosen affects the end product?

  16. Matt marani

    I was wondering if this process would work with Pheasant breasts as well?

  17. Jon


    I have some duck breasts that have been curing for 2 weeks so far at 55 degrees and 75%-80% humidity. The meat is looking good, but the skin seams a little soft. If I let it go another week or so, will it firm up?

  18. Glen Barlow

    Fantastic idea!!! Born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay, we are in no shortage of waterfowl! Especially Canada geese and Snows. Always looking for new ways to prepare them. Smoking dozens of breasts at a time is the norm for us. Question for prosciutto; Can you rotate out finished cuts and add new ones constantly in a curing unit? Will the mold (if any) transfering to newer breasts becoming an issue? The ability to add after each hunt would be great!

  19. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    Hey Hank, I was looking at a recipe for bresaola at this location:, as you can see from the photo and recipe it says to wrap in butcher’s string. I assume this is purely for aesthetic purposes; what’s your take on it? I am planning to do this with mallard breasts (I have lots to use up), is there anything I should do differently because of the size of the breast? I was also going to use the 40 odd mallard legs I’ve got frozen for rillettes…

    Cheers, Rich

  20. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    Hank; this is probably a silly question, but I can’t find an easy fix online; what would a cup of salt (we really only have access to rock salt as a coarse salt in the UK) equate to in grams? I’m assuming coarse rock salt has a similar flake/granule size to pickling/kosher salt and will work the same? I assume mallard breasts will be ok to use for this? Is there a minimum/maximum weight of meat for the recipe?

    Cheers, Rich

  21. Fatboy

    I just recently lined my crawl space with plastic and installed a dehumidifier that… in Wilmington NC means just slightly cooler and less humid than our living space. Thought since it was 15 degrees for a low this week I would try this in the crawl space. Seems strange but I think I can hit the target temps and humidity in this posting. Anyone else ever tried??

  22. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    Hank; I’ve got some duck breasts curing at the moment; I’ve read several recipes that say I can use just a fridge (without temperature/humidity control). The fridge is empty apart from the duck, with the temperature pretty much as high as it’ll go. I guess I can hang the duck in there and it will be fine?

  23. Gordon Mayer

    Hi Hank,

    I’m using my curing chamber for this. Do you have some net weight target for this (so you don’t make jerky, but get the flavors as complex as possible)? Thanks for all your help,


  24. Gordon Mayer

    Rookie mistake–I forgot to remove the tender before putting the cure on it and having it the fridge for 2 days. I noticed it when I was rinsing off the cure, so I removed the tender at that point, but it exposed meat that was not nearly as brown as the rest of the breast. Have I ruined it (seems like I now have un-cured meat exposed to bacteria)? Can I save it?

  25. Gordon Mayer

    When you say “I honestly don’t think so”, were you answering my “have I ruined it” or “can I save it”? The reply has opposite consequences!

  26. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    I’ve had four breasts hanging in my fridge running at max temp. for about 1.5 weeks; checked today, and green fuzzy mold on two of them, slight white on one, and barely any mold on one. Have wiped all off with paper towel soaked in red wine vinegar. I shaved the merest sliver off one of them and it tasted pretty good… Are there any obvious things that could cause this? The mold was greater/greener on the two biggest breasts… :/

  27. josh

    I have started this with pork chops…..about 1 inch thick… long should i hang it for?

  28. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    Ok, so I had some recurring mold issues with the last lot I tried, so I ended up tossing them; the mold was not pretty, but when I sliced the breasts (out of curiosity) it seemed pretty much as proscuitto should seem. I didn’t eat it because of the mold though; could I have wiped it off and kept? Seemed a bit dodgy to me…

  29. Lee Powell

    Hank –

    Thanks so much for all the info and tips. I have ordered the parts to build a hanging chamber in an old fridge I have.

    for your duck prosciutto – could you do this recipe with a venison tenerloin or backstrap?

    Also – I have read from a couple sources the meat is ‘done’ when it has lost ~30% of its weight, is that correct?

    Best, Lee

  30. John W

    Hello Hank. I started my goose breast prosciutto last night with large Canadian goose breasts. I placed them in glass pie pan and covered them with plastic wrap after rubbing the Cajun seasoning in.

    This morning I had a lot of liquid in the base of the dish and am curious if this was supposed to happen and if not then was it because I sealed the dish tightly? Maybe a loose fitting piece of plastic would have been ideal…

    Please advise your thoughts. I assume I should keep going since we are still in the curing phase…



  31. John W

    Sweet, thanks Hank. Do you just leave this liquid in the bottoms of the dish and keep flipping it or drain it off.

  32. Rich Deveau-Maxwell

    Second time around, after tweaking the temperature, etc, the end result was gorgeous. I found optimum hang time for my mallard breasts was about 2.5 weeks. I do them in batches of 4; the second lot’s in to hang, this time with a ‘curry’ style cure. The last lot I did was chilli flakes, paprika and black pepper. Thanks, Hank; I’m addicted now! 😀

  33. Kristine Worseth

    Hi Hank,

    First, you really have an inspiring website!

    Now, I got an old greylag some weeks ago, and decided to try to make goose prosciutto, the sweet version. It’s neither warm or moist here, but I treated the breasts as prescribed, hanged one in the fridge, and one in the cellar – where the temperature is somewhat right. They have hanged for a week and I tested both today. Both tasted nice, the one in the cellar was a bit firmer then the one in the fridge, both where dark with a dark red, softer center(not raw). I’m not leaving them for longer then 2 weeks, but how is the stuff then supposed to look when you slice it up?

  34. Shawn Revels

    Hank, I live in Arcata, Humboldt County. We’ve been shooting a few Aleutian geese lately, and I’m really excited to try this prosciutto recipe with some of them. I have some breasts in the fridge right now with the skin removed. For future recipes, I will leave the skin, but for this batch can I get by without it? Or is it imperative to the curing process? Thank you.

  35. Lee Powell

    Hey Hank – love your site! I’m preparing to make your duck prosciutto recipe and curious a couple things:
    1) could you use deer tenderloin?
    2) if using duck – could you use wild? They are much smaller than domestic so could you use 2,4,6 of them together and if so how would you do this?

    Thanks much, Lee

  36. Giuseppe

    Hank…I’m going to try this tonight with some spec breasts. However, I have a similar issue to a lot of the other folks on here. I don’t have a humidifier! I have a room that stays about 45-60 this time of year but the humidity in the PNW this time of year is pretty low. Any ideas of how I can raise it in just this small room? I’ve heard of hanging a wet towel in the room, or would a cheap humidifier work?

    PS I tried your porcini/sage sausage recipe with elk, turned out excellent! Thanks for the cooking tips.

  37. DF

    When you say both halves of the breast, what do you mean?

  38. Ken

    Hank, I have enjoyed reading you blog(s), really good stuff. Now I’m full of questions.
    1. I would like to use frozen domestic duck breast, comments please.
    2. (In response to one of your readers)I too use a KA grinder, it works great and I have a vertical sausage tube that fits the grinder and is fine for my small operation.
    3. I have a wine cellar in my 170 yr. old stone farm house, The temp is 40 to 60 min/max degs. uncontrolled annually and humidity is controlled by a dehumidifier to approximately 60% adjustable down to 30%. If I let the humidity rise above 75% I incur mold and wood destroying fungi on the beams. Comments please on starting my cure at less than 85-90%.
    Thanks, Ken

  39. Andy

    Is there a way to cure in the refrigerator? The area I live in is either -30 outside or 65+ inside. And in the fridge would a pan of water underneath the duck help with humidity?

  40. Jonathan O'Gara

    I’m using this recipe to cure two slabs of inch thick pork loin; should I leave them in the fridge for 4 days, like the Canada Goose breast? Will this even work out for me?

  41. greg

    Hi Hank,
    Duck jerky just great and it disappeared so quick.
    Lesson 1 is shoot more ducks and geese next season.
    You have some marvelous recipes and if I need anything special I just go to your sight for guidance and bingo there it is.
    The vinegars are on my to do list soon.
    Do you have anything on pork jerky as it is a particularly cheap meat here and
    readily available.
    Thanks for the foodery

  42. Sam Roberts

    Hank, when you say “peel off the tender” are you speaking of the tend loins, or something else?

  43. Sam Roberts

    Hank, I have had my duck hanging since the 6th of October. No mold growth at all. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I read there should be white, maybe green (to wipe off with vinegar) black and its toast. About how long till mold growth, estimation? Or is no mold growth a good thing?

  44. Marc

    Quick question Hank, why can these breasts cure without sodium nitrite when other cured meat absolutely need it. What makes this recipe safe? Thanks! You’ve been an inspiration for most of my game meals!

  45. Marc

    Thanks Hank, I appreciate you taking the time.

  46. Tierney

    Hi Hank, I tried this for the first time and I found the fat on my finished product wasn’t a pure white color but rather an almost clear yellow. Hints? The rest of the meat is perfect, just can’t get the fat to look right.

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