So I bought a half hog from a local farm last fall, the chops and bacon off that thing have been amazing so far! Really nice marbled pork like you just don't see in a supermarket.
So I had this gigantic ham and decided to give dry curing a try as I LOVE the taste of Virginia Country Ham for breakfast!
I followed the 4 youtube videos from the gentleman instructing how to salt and dry cure hams and bacon, part 1 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqtKGZYoCaw
My only difference is that I am doing the dry curing process in a fridge in my basement that sits around 38 degrees. I'm using the Morton Sugar Cure as he suggests as well, have applied the cure and gave it a good rub down for 4 weeks and just this past week, actually injected some of the cure mixture mixed with water into along the bone and joints to help prevent bone sour.
I'm at just about 5-6 weeks now with the ham absorbing the cure and am almost ready to wash it off and do the final dry before I cold smoke it.
My problem is (and I have not yet done the "wire into the ham test for odor"), that the skin initially looked like a normal shaved hog hind leg, I could even see a few veins here and there in the skin. As the ham has absorbed some of the cure now, and it is working it's way in, it seems to be changing the color and elasticity of the skin a bit. Not drastic color change, but it is not the same. Hard to explain. Iv'e also noticed that on pushing around on some of the skin, it almost feels like there is air built up inside, it gives a bit, so that also had me concerned about spoilage.
The actual lean meat on the outer edges still looks nice and pink and healthy, and the ham overall does not give off a foul odor, but I fear it is spoiling slowly, and I cannot really tell now.
Do you think if I showed some pics it would help, or does anyone have any advice based on the above if this is normal with their experience in dry-curing hams?
I want it to come out right so so so bad, but this is my first time and I scoured the internet for pictures of dry cured hams spoiling and cannot find any pictures anywhere.
Any advice is much appreciated, if necessary to help with diagnosis, I will most definitely do the wire stick test soon and take pics when I have a chance and post em up. Thanks!!
Edited by trizzuth - 10/29/13 at 7:58am