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Curing a ham??

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have received 2 nice fresh hams over the weekend and I am thinking about trying to cure one of them.  I have eaten some dry cured hams that have been so salty that you could hardly eat them.  I was wondering about a wet cure??  Like soaking it in a solution for a period of time.  I have made some nice venison pastrami in the past and was wondering if that would be a similar process???  ( sorry if I posted to the wrong forum)

post #2 of 8

Hams should be injected with a salt/cure #1 solution, along the bones and in the joints to prevent bone sour...   Injecting all the meat with the proper amount of cure/salt etc. will reduce the curing time to about 7 days, if done properly...   

 

If you want to try injecting a leg, I have a method very similar to the commercial folks...

Weigh the leg and convert the weight to grams... (for ease in calculating stuff)

Cure #1... 0.25% of the weight...  or 1.1 grams per pound... or 1 tsp per 5#'s of weight...

Salt...  I use 2% salt.. I would not go lower than 1.5% or higher than 2.5%...

Sugar...  I use 1%...  brown sugar works.. white sugar, turbinado, piloncilo...  Splenda if you are diabetic... (so I've heard)...  You can add more if you wish, up to 2% I think would be OK...

Spices and herbs for flavor.....

Water to carry all the stuff into the meat...  10% of the weight of the leg...

Warm the water in a non reactive pan and add the spices to develop flavor...  strain out all the spices so the injection needle will not plug...  add the salt and sugar and cool to room temp....   add the cure to dissolve in the cool water...   You do NOT want to heat the cure...

Place the leg on a sheet pan to catch any liquid that escapes...  Inject about 5cc's (~5 grams) about every 1.5" along the bone from 2 sides and into the joints...  you will feel the bone while injecting.... then inject all over the meat every 1.5" to insure the mix is everywhere in the meat...  That is called "stitch pumping" or something close....  Inject ALL the stuff into the leg....    Now the leg has the proper amount of cure, salt, sugar etc. inside...   the cure only has to move about 3/4" to meet the other cure that has been injected...  it is seasoned etc. from the inside...   perfect...

Put the leg in a zip bag...  Add any liquid that leaked out in the bag also...  Place in the refer for 7 days... you can turn the leg every couple days so everything will have a chance to get distributed evenly throughout the meat..

 

The needle I use...

 

Spice additions for sausage...  adjust to about 1/2 when brewing and injecting or less....

 

...Click on pic to enlarge..

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much!!!  Please excuse my next question, but then you want to smoke it?? right?? at normal temps or cold smoke it??  As I have stated I have no experience at this at all

post #4 of 8

Dry the ham and place in the smoker at about 120 ish....   that will continue the drying, of the outside...  then smoke will penetrate the meat better....  after an hour or 2, the meat will come up to temp so condensate will not form on it...   start the smoke..  smoke for 2-8 hours or longer if you wish...    raise the smoker temp about 10 degrees/hour about 1/2 way through the smoke..   if you chose 8 hours, at the 4 hour mark start raising the temp...   I cook my hams to about 170...   once the smoke is done, you can close the exhaust and use your smoker like an electric oven...   OR move the ham into the kitchen oven to finish the cook...   I recommend 210-225 so the ham won't dry out...  The ham was probably at about 130-140 when the smoke was done so you don't have far to go...

 

Here is a thread on one of my hams.....  note I used AmesPhos as an additive in the ham...   I use it in about everything to help hold on to the moisture...  it works...

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/236375/ham-from-fresh-picnics-update-10-21-money

post #5 of 8

Dave, what spices, if any do you use for your hams?       Is any cure rubbed on the outside of the ham using your method?      I don't want to hijack the thread, but I though the original poster could use the information also.    Thank You, Arlie

post #6 of 8

Spices would be a personal preference... inside and out...   I haven't used any yet as I'm still experimenting with the sugars...  

I know some folks use cloves and pineapple on hams...   I'm a guy that likes the flavor of the meat without too much to cover that flavor...

I would not use pineapple inside as the acid would turn the meat to mush, due to the acidity of the pineapple.....

 

The only cure on the outside is what leaked during injection...   everything the ham needs is already on the inside...  From a "meat penetrating" perspective, the cure is already at the outside where the injections took place..  After the bone has been covered in the injections, the meat area is then injected to finish up the cure mix...

post #7 of 8

Thank you Dave.    I too appreciate the meat and not a lot of, if any other flavors.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much, I appreciate all the info!!!  I will have to really play with my ol Smoker to get the temp that low, but I am guessing just build a really small fire!!!

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