- 18 Posts. Joined 6/2014
- Points: 10
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Curing Country Ham - Page 2
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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.
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.
- 25 Posts. Joined 6/2009
- Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Points: 11
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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 pot...no 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.