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Smoking a ham - Page 2

post #21 of 27

You can have a cured and smoked ham internal temp at or above 135° and you have a 'partially cooked' ham, it must be baked to a safe 160° internal before serving.

For what is considered 'fully cooked' ham would be at or above 146° internal at the time of it's original produced weight.  Through analysis, inspectors can send in samples of hams and tell exactly what temp the product reached before cooling; we had to submit samples for analysis every month minimum, picked up and sent in by (at that time) State Inspectors.  We would get a printout on all the particulars and if the sample passed or failed (never had a failure!) on water content % (always was 0), temp reached, salt content, cure content, etc. etc.  (Now it's done by Federal Inspectors, not State).

To legally pass as 'fully cooked' the internal must be 146° or greater original temp.  But, you're instructed to always reheat the ham to 160° or greater.  Why?  You have a big piece of meat.  If you probe your ham and somewhere near the center it is 160° or greater, you can safely figure it's at least over the 146° minimum.  If you take it to 146°, it is possible that there are areas under that temp and could be dangerous.

Speaking of ham and water content, many people think that producers intentionally inject water into the meat to up it's weight.  That is not true at all.

If you start out with a 20lb. fresh hind leg of pork and inject 4 lbs of brine into it, then you've increased the weight of the product 20% thru injecting and soaking.  You put it in the smokehouse and after it is smoked and fully cooked and you weigh it and it's now 22 lbs, you've net increased that product's weight by 10%.  It now must be sold as "10% water added ham product".   I've seen ham products at 30% or greater water-added.  But it's determined by comparing the original weight to the finished product weight, not any other factor.

post #22 of 27

Thanks for the explanation Pops!

post #23 of 27

Thanks Pops---That is what I've been reading.



post #24 of 27

Great info and in-site everyone! When I do a fully cooked ham I smoke at 210 and try to pull them at 151 to 152, I know that sounds like a funny temp but I pull them and wrap them and stuff them in the packed cooler to rest finish while waiting for the rest of the sides to get done and everyone to arrive. I leave the probe in it and monitor the temp while its in the cooler resting and finishing. Almost like clockwork it will rise 8 or 9 degrees. I always leave the probe in and monitor anything I pull and finish in the cooler just so I know how much it is raising. If for some reason it doesn't raise enough I help the finish along by other means, oven or the grill etc. I have never done a fresh or uncured ham so I am not much help with the original post. Just how I do it and it works for me.



post #25 of 27

I'm back!


I didn't want to leave anyone confused, so SmokinAl & I have been working with the Temperature to smoke a Ham that wasn't previously cooked:

Al said 148˚.

I said 160˚, because I knew that's what USDA & all of the other sites I have been to say.

Al sent me a close-up of a label (below) from Smithfield Hams.

The label clearly says to take the internal temp to 148˚.

This confused both of us, so I called USDA this morning.

A couple hours later they got back to me with the following answer:




USDA Reply,

    That particular Ham, with that particular label, with "roast to 148˚ internal temp" on it, is backed only by Smithfield. They take full responsibility for that Ham. USDA allows them to do this, because of the tests they performed & reported to the USDA. However USDA will not take responsibility for it. USDA's recommendation for all Hams not previously cooked remains "Cook to 160˚ internal temperature".

People should note that Smithfield will only take responsibility for that ham with that instruction on it, and that does not mean that they are saying it is OK to cook any other non-previously cooked Ham to 148˚.



The label from Al's Ham":




So I would say, if your Ham has instructions on it, go by their instructions, or go by what the USDA says, but don't cook your ham by what it says on the label of some other Ham.


That's All Folks,





post #26 of 27

Thanks for clearing that up Bear!

post #27 of 27
Originally Posted by SmokinAl View Post

Thanks for clearing that up Bear!

Couldn't have done it without you, Al !




BTW: Does anyone else here get excited, when they hear, "Bdeep--Bdeep--Bdeep, That's All Folks!"  ????





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