I was going through some old papers and found a 3-page description my grandfather had given me for making the salty smoky country ham that he and loved so much when I was growing up. I'll post my description of the 'recipe' to follow, but my main question is this: his directions say to finish the process by smoking the ham "for a month or more." That seems like way too long, right?
He was a bit old when he wrote this, so it's possible he was still thinking of the previous step (which involved salting the ham for a month or more.) My recollection is that he told me they'd smoke it for a few days, but that's just my recollection, and could be biased by my own preconceptions. Just looking at the design of his smokehouse, I do believe there was a lot less smoke than you'd get in a smoker like I use (weber bullet smoker), but I could be wrong about that to.
Here's the recipe:
Baba Dick's Country Salted Ham
(as translated from his handwritten description; see photos of the smoke house.)
Pig (200-300lbs); cut into rumps, shoulders, and other parts
32 Caliber rifle
Uncle George the Butcher
Butcher board, 12’ x 16” x 2.5”
5-7’ smoke house with rods
Directions: Kill the pig with the .32 caliber rifle. Boil it to make it easy to remove the gristle. Hoist it up onto a 10’ tripod. Get Uncle George Garrett the professional butcher to cut it into rumps, shoulders, and other parts. Put the meat on a butcher board, 12’ x 16” x 2.5”. Put a thick coating of saltpeter on every shoulder and ham. This coating remains for “more than a month.” The salt-peter keeps the meat from spoiling. Then it is time to smoke. Hang the pieces in the smoke house. Put hickory sawdust into the small stove in the base of the building. Keep the sawdust smoldering for “a period of a month or more.”
Thanks for any thoughts!