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Double Smoked Fresh Ham w/ Q-view

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Experimenting with my first ham. Picked up a whole boneless pork leg from Cash & Carry and decided to brine it with Pop's brine. This was about 16 lbs. raw, and needed very little trimming.

I diverted from Pop's recipe somewhat by substituting 1 cup of molasses for 1 cup of brown sugar in 2 gallons of brine. I thought it might give it a little deeper and earthier flavor. I usually use 1/3 cup of salt per gallon when doing bacon, so that is what I did here as well.


Sorry, didn't get pics of the naked leg, but here it is out of the brine after 14 days. Deboned, it sort of folds out flat, laying between 4"-5" thick.


I hadn't read anywhere where anyone else has done this with ham, but I rubbed both sides with my usual pork rub, and then rolled the whole thing up. And since I suck at using butcher's twine to tie up meat, I cheated by using some silicon bands that I purchased from our good friends at Owen's BBQ. They worked like a charm, and have the added advantage of constricting as the meat shrinks in the smoker.


Then into some netting, and hung in the smoker. I had all weekend, so I decided to try something else I haven't seen anyone else do here. The first day, I cold smoked. Then the second day, I smoked while putting the heat to it.


Cold smoking with 70/30 corncob and cherry.


After 16 hours of cold smoking, back into the fridge overnight.


2nd day: Rubbed with a coating of maple sugar, then back inside to smoke at 220° with more corncob & cherry pellets.



Spring ahead another 10 hours, and the IT has reached 155°.


Netting off.



At this point, my chief taste-tester enters the room to give her seal of approval. Note the tail: it was spinning like a helicopter blade. I thought she was about to take off!


And sliced. 




The verdict:

Not bad for a first try, but I don't think I hit it out of the ballpark. It could have used a bit more salt for my taste, but it is a fine low-sodium ham. And for as much smoke as I put to it, it did not have a pronounced smokey taste. In fact, although it tasted good, it didn't have a real "hammy" flavor to it, either. Perhaps it needed more time in the brine to achieve that; I'm just not sure.


Thoughts or suggestions?

post #2 of 7

Well, it sure looks good!  I wonder if it was in the brine long enough?  I use the following guidelines for Pop's brine:


Curing times vary with meat, but generally overnight to 2-3 days for chickens and turkeys, 8-10 days buckboard bacon, 10-14 days belly bacon, pork shoulder, whole butts, 3-4 weeks whole hams, 10-20 days corned beef (fresh beef roasts, briskets, rolled rib roasts, etc.)   If whole muscle is more than 2" thick, then inject so it can cure i/o as well as o/i, and/or in and around bone structures, etc.

Also, did you inject it?  Anything over 2" should be injected, I read somewhere he tries to get about 10% of total weight injected.


Did you notice a difference using molasses?  I've tried maple syrup and didn't notice any flavor from that at all.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ah, yes, I did indeed inject. I forgot to mention that. I injected the heck out of it, about every 2" all along the outstretched meat, so I thought given that, 2 weeks would be sufficient. I was probably wrong about that.


I made a sandwich with it last night. If the molasses was present, it was very subtle. I think I noticed more flavor from the maple sugar that I rubbed on before hot smoking. The flavor of the ham is light and sweet. I think next time I will add a touch more salt and brine for a longer time.

post #4 of 7

Looks great, nice job.

post #5 of 7

Looks awesome! 


What was the ambient temperature during your 16 hour cold smoke?

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I started about 6am, and there was heavy frost on the ground, so it was somewhere below freezing. It warmed up during the day to somewhere in the low 50's.

I had to set my smoker to 70° early on to get a draft going. And the poor little pellets in my AMNPS weren't putting out enough heat to stay lit. I had to move it a few inches away from the air intake, and that seemed to help.

post #7 of 7

Nice job! I wondered how that piece looks when you bone it. One thing I know is when you get the brine the way you like it it will turn out perfect every time.

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