Picnic Ham?

Discussion in 'Curing' started by foamheart, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have been swearing that I will make a nice country smoked, or smoked country ham. I have made Bacon, I have made Canadian Bacon, I am no expert but they were passible. I would never start a long commitment with a country ham without some learning experience. LOL....

    There are already things I would change with my first test baby this morning. Since I only started this, this morning pictures are sparse, knowledge is low as to match experience. But I thought I would post what I did so comments and suggestions can be made.

    The intended conclusion to the experiment, a bone in ham which can be smoked, twice. Tastee, tender, juicy, smokie are all acceptable, but it is a first attempt.

    Here's the tag:

    (Man my camera needs glasses)

    Here's the picnic, did I mention it takes an act of God to find one?

    As my hands were all wet and sticky with brine, there was no pictures taken during the injection process. Will on the next picnic try the big SS injector as putting in that much brine/cure with a cattle hypo take some time and some strong fingers.


    2/3C Canning Salt

    2/3C Light Brown Sugar

    2/3C Refined Sugar

    1T Pink #1 Cure (Heaping)

    2 Caps of Maple extra (I know, I just like that smell)

    2/3 gallon of water, plus enough ice to make a gallon. Worked out well BTW

    I pumped that sucker full of cure, I know, it should have been QT trying #1 cause I don't have any QT, I have Pink #1, I have Morton Smoked Sugar, but no QT.

    With my reading I am understanding that for bone in, QT should be used to prevent bone rot. I could have removed the bone and gone pink #1 with no problems. I have seen people here do Pop's cure w/ injection with Boston Butts so here's hoping.

    I also left the skin on, I know its hard to get that cure in there with the skin remaining, but as much cure as I injected I am hoping its ok.

    I was lucky, and found a Tupperware that fit perfectly.

    That is cure and ice and picnic. No air! When I burped it it squirted cure. So no opening for 2 weeks. Normally I use a food grade bucket and put in the garage reefer, but since it is out there full of Canadian Bacon curing still, I used this. A thought, I wonder how much air is captured in the ice cubes........Hmmmmmmmm............ Maybe burp it again tomorrow.

    Now we wait.

    If nothing else good comes out of this, we can use it as a training film as to how NOT to do it.

    Looking forward to suggestions, input, discussions and ideas. Please. I know its too late for this one but there will be more!
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am watching to learn more info too.

    Looks like a good start to me.
  3. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Watching with baited breath.

  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Xtra points for even attempting such a thing......u da man.......Willie
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It is my understanding that you need to use cure #2 or QT for long term curing/aging like Mr T's Country Cured Ham. Or are you just brine curing it like I did my Fall Picnic? For mine I used Pop's brine and injected the ham really well. Let it brine for 3 weeks and then cold smoked it for 4 hours, then hot smoked it.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In the future I AM going to do a country ham like Mr.T's. I really think he set the standard to try to obtain. At least for me anyway. But I also realize you must walk first. There is so much to learn to be able to continuously achieve a ham like Mr.T's. I am excited though to be starting.

    You realize, if I am lucky how much ham I am going to eat on my learning trail?

    Mr.T used a dry rub which I have only tried once on bacon, I got spoiled with Pop's brine like most others here. Learning the salinity cause and effects is almost a whole semester's course, but the lab work should make up for the book learnin.

    I also now get some small amount of knowledge from my Pop, he has Alzheimer's and has trouble remembering, but he used to have to turn the meat in the salt box on the back porch as a kid. So its kind of nice that he can enjoy it also.

    I know I am going to mess up, probably already have, but hopefully with help and the knowledge available here I will learn.

    As to this first one, I would like it to taste like ham and NOT make anyone sick (I need to find some local kids to feed it too first LOL) to stimulate my desire continue.

    BTW, yes sir DS I did did read/look at yours, I looked at so many they sort of all blurred. There are so many variants here. Like I said so much to learn.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  7. I've never attempted such a thing but I'm certainly interested. 

    As for this comment "As to this first one, I would like it to taste like ham and NOT make anyone sick (I need to find some local kids to feed it too first LOL) to stimulate my desire continue." 

    If it's not desirable, I have a slew of feral cats and some not so feral that I would be happy to feed it to - they use my yard/garden etc as their litter box.
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm sure that you will be fine using Pop's brine method since you aren't age curing it. I just wasn't sure what you were going to do after the brine process. I think what confused me was your comments on bone rot as I have never had an issue with that doing short curing in the brine. But do know that it is an issue with longer curing processes.  

    I can say that my picnic came out nice and hammy. I'm not sure that the cold smoke was needed. I do know that I definitely would not over shoot the temp again on the hot smoke!  I still can't believe that I was at the IT I was as soon as I was. I think that a part of that was that during the cold smoke the IT was rising.
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So don't you ever sight-in your guns? I am sure I am in trouble now.....LOL
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am hoping to do like Mr.Disco except with a brined cure and a bone-in picnic. That's why I said you can read all the threads but there are so many variables. For instance, mine is bone in and skin on. So I am contemplating an extended brine cycle or actually, I had thought I would do a double cure. Cure it two weeks, wash and maybe cure it again to insure good penetration. I got a huge amount injected, but it was pooled. I have never been a big fan of pooling injections. Although I did get a load a juice in and around the bone.

    I plan to smoke it once, put it in the reefer, then smoke it again to serve. Much like Mr. Bears double smoked hams.

    I sound like a safety engineer with a belt and suspenders.... LOL. Double cure and double smoke. I cant seem to find anything where some one has ever double cured before though. I don't think the double cure will hurt folks but still don't know. I got a lot of cure in this first brine and injection sequence.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is so much I don't understand so far, I have in my head that you can't use Cure #1 for a bone in for some reason. Is that true? Also for long term Country ham you must use Tender Quick around the bones. I have been calling it QT thinking it was quick tender. Or I read somehwere else that you could use Mortons Smoked Sugar cure.  Which I do have, its for the Country Ham.

    But then there are pages and pages of salinity scales...... its just not a simple thing to grasp all of it. I am going to just have to sit down and do I step at a time.
  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Before introducing misinformation lets take it one step at a time.  Two initial steps would be, first order the Morton Meat Curing Guide, under $10 with shipping. Two purchase a salinometer for your wet brines, ± $20, it will help you determine the proper salinity for a product and help provide consistency.

  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, I ordered the book, I ordered some TQ on the QT, I have a refractometer in the garage already (don't ask), if I can find a book on how to use it.... I know it was pretty dang costly when it was purchased.

    AND I have a picnic in Pop's brine cure.
  14. Nope - you can use cure #1 in a brine for a bone in no problem. Just inject around the knuckle & bone. I will see if I can dig up a good thread for you...

    EDIT: Here you go  LINK   It's a good thread by Pops on making a ham.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  15. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First I hope everything is OK with Smoking B's Family. Wr've all noticed his absence...........

    Here we go again, its been 3+ weeks chillin in the brine.

    Yesterday, I took it out the brine/cure, rinsed, and gently patted it dry. Then replaced it in the reefer for a drying out period to form the P-word. That is the tacky stuff that forms when its not dry and not wet. It makes the smoke just jump onboard.

    Thats just a beautiful piece of cured pic-a-nic.

    Here we have the ham stepping into the smoker, note that that thin blue smoke. I preheated to 240 for 20 mins. while the Amps set in it loaded with hickory and peach. Lite the AMPS, when and filled the bird bath and threw out some crushed corn. Made the birds all happy happy. The neighbors dog a HUGE Rotwieller, has perked up and is gonna break that little nub tail off wagging it. I think he has linked the smoke smell with good things.

    Smoked at 120 degrees for 4 hours. Ham is excited, can't ya tell?

    After 4 hours I moved the temp up to 140 degrees, inserted probe pic-a-nic is happily at 86 degrees

    6 hours in, the Pic-a-nic got to 100 IT, 100 to 140 is the sweet spot, so I kicked in the 4 barrel and lit the afterburner.

    I lite up both ends of the AMPS and its smoking so much, it would make Cheech and Chong back off and applaud.

    More to come!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking good!!
  17. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Watching. Getting hungry. Keep posting.


  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I just got a whiff of it-----Not bad for 1650 miles (Give or take) !!!


  19. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since Bear smelled it out!

    10 hours total smoke, peach and apple first tray w/ vent full open, peach and corn cob second tray vent 1/2 way open, highest IT was 132. Soon as cools below 100, I'll bag and tag it with some goodies for flavor (thinking some peach rum liqueur and maple syrup and a clove or two. Then it is In the reefer over night.

    Tomorrow morning we start again, this time we going ALL THE WAY! I am think right now maybe 145 after someone reminded me you don't need 170 to slice anymore.

    Still crossing my fingers its OK to eat tomorrow. Even if it isn't I have enjoyed the most wonder smells all day today. Even the black rain cloud avoided me!

    We will start again tomorrow! BTW we are shooting for a double smoked cured fresh picnic. Is that a mouthful or what!
  20. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Taking on some color, going to be good!

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