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Curing Country Ham - Page 2

post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the encouraging comments. I just ordered my a-maze-n pellet smoker. I'm going to use an old weber charcoal grill. It's quiet large and will easily fit the ham in and the smoker will rest right where the charcoal would. I will smoke the ham until I get a desired color. I'm going to be using hickory. Once the color I want is achieved I will hang for long term storage and aging. I'm really excited to smoke it.
post #22 of 30
That sounds amazing
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Due to unseasonably cool weather I have decided to end my equalization period a week early and begin smoking. I am using the a maze n pellet smoker with hickory. I did struggle keeping the smoker lit which really frustrated me, I will deal with that at another time. All in all I think I got about 13-15 hours of good smoke on the ham.

I am very pleased with the color that the ham took on with the smoke. I am also glad that the ham is not tacky or sticky as I am not experienced in smoking and I feel like that would indicate poor smoke or too much smoke, I'm not certain if that's correct or not lol. I do have one question/concern: right now the ham smells super smoky (go figure) and not at all like ham. From the research I have gathered it is the enzymes inside the ham that will break down the muscle and fat to produce the characteristic country ham flavors and aromas. I am hoping since the ham is fresh off the smoke that it is naturally going to smell quite smoky for some time and this will mellow out and the aroma of the ham will start to come through.

Now I am ready to age this bad boy, my place is to do a 6-7 month age to get it around Easter time and prepare it then. We will see if I can hold off that long. I am already itching to start another. Thank you to everyone who has read this and or commented. If anyone can give me any knowledge about the ham being super smoky and if that will mellow out over time, I would be very thankful.
post #24 of 30

Its looks great.





I have not done country hams YET, but I have done a lot of cured meats.


I say it will mellow as it sets as does all cured meats.

post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you!

I am very pleased to hear that.
post #26 of 30
Looks amazing. Don't worry about the "super smoky" smell (there can't be too much smoke if you ask me). After that long of a rest (months) it will be just a hint.
post #27 of 30

:drool  So is a 9 month waiting time typical with country hams?

post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 
Atomicsmoke, thank you! I appreciate your input, that makes me feel assured.

That's pretty standard. However many ham producers will only age the legal minimum which is 4 months, this is probably due to demand. More sought after hams have been aged minimum a year, some as long as two to three years! Finchville farms ages their hams for a year and I have had their ham and I've has clifty farms ham (I prepared both myself) and I preferred the finchville. Though they were both excellent.
post #29 of 30

Hello all,

I have 2 hams equalizing now. I started the cure on December 27, 2013. I cure for 2.5 days per pound using the

Morton's "sugar cure mix". After the cure, I wash the ham in water, dry it, and then smoke it for a day.

Seems to work well...(this is the 4th ham done this way). Here in North Carolina the winter weather is almost always

perfect for the curing stage. This may sound strange, but I apply the cure and then wrap the ham in a paper grocery

bag bound tightly to the ham. I also cut a small hole at the bottom of the bag to allow for drainage. I keep the hams

in a "dorm fridge" for the curing period. Then off to the MES smoker. After that, they hang in the backyard shed in an

enclosure that I rigged to be insect tight and with a vent fan on a timer and humidistat. The fan runs twice per day for

5 minutes if the relative humidity is less than 55%. In the summer months, the fan doesn't fun much!!

Within the enclosure, the hams are in a pillow case wound around the ham and secured with a piece of wire.

I also put lots of black pepper around the ham just in case something gets through the screen and fan. The aroma in the shed

is incredible after a few weeks. It is all I can do to NOT remove the ham and cook and eat.

When the ham has lost 25% of its initial weight, it is a country ham.

The first week of November, the hams will get cleaned up...remove the mold and outer black parts.. then deboned and

sliced for storage in the freezer. The bone gets in the bean soup salt needed!!


Here is a link to a University of Missouri web site to help those so inclined to make your own ham. It is easy and rewarding

to do. Plus you get to eat the result...assuming all things go well.


Hope this is helpful.


post #30 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the informative post!
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