I get a pork side about once a year from a local farmer. This time, instead of having the butcher cure the leg into ham, I had the leg come back to me fresh but divided into 5 bone-in leg sections of about 4-5 lbs each. The idea being that I would try and cure the sections into ham myself.
I used the recipe for home-cured ham from "The Great Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells. I love this cookbook so much I might as well sleep with it under my pillow.
The brine recipe is stronger than Pop's brine, so the curing times are faster. It is not an equilibrium cure, so you have to follow the recipe for specified cure times. The recipe specified to use deboned leg, so I first had to bone out my leg section. The recipe calls for curing 3-4 days for a 3 to 4 inch thick boneless leg section (mine was 3 1/4 inch thick at thickest point). As it was deboned, no injecting was required.
Brine recipe: 1 gallon cold water, 1 lb kosher salt, 1/2 lb firmly packed light brown sugar, 3 Tbsp Insta Cure #1. I added a couple of Tbsp of honey to this. Stir for a while until clear. Cover the pork in the brine, and weigh it down to keep it covered. I stirred the brine and flipped the meat over after a couple of days.
After 4 days of curing, I pulled it out of the brine, rinsed, patted dry. Fry taste came out a touch salty, so I soaked it for an hour in cold water, with a couple of water changes. Patted dry, then put in the refrigerator overnight to form a pellicle. Next day, I cold smoked for 6 hours using maple dust in the AMNS. Chamber temp stayed between 59 - 84 deg F for the 6 hours.
After cold smoking, I let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Then I baked it in the oven, uncovered, at 325 deg F in a baking dish that was filled 1/4 inch deep with apple cider.
When the IT hit 115 deg F, I pulled it out of the oven and glazed it using brown sugar, molasses, mustard, and bourbon. Put it back in the oven and continued cooking until IT hit 145 deg F. Pulled it out and let it rest.
Sliced up. Evenly cured throughout, no areas of uncured pork. Nice and moist, great flavor. I really liked the glaze...it added some flavor and sparkle to the ham, but wasn't overly sweet and icky.
Plated with some steamed vegies and mashed yams. Delicious! At least as good as any commercial ham I've had. I'd make this recipe again in a heartbeat. The maple smoke complemented the ham well. Given the whole Smithfield Farms/China sellout, I'm glad I can now turn out a decent ham using fresh local pork.
Thanks very much for looking at my post!