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Cottage Ham

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm interested in making some cottage ham for my wife - she's from western Europe where smoked/cured meats were a necessity...that, and she just loves cottage hams.  I've been trying to do some research and reading to figure out the best method, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of information...so here's a couple questions that I have, if anyone would be willing to help out:


1)  What is the "best" piece of pork to use?  Is it the "money muscle" on the pork shoulder or a pork loin?  Alternatively, can I just cut up a pork shoulder into multiple pieces and make the cottage ham from that?


2)  From what I've read, most all cottage hams use a wet brine.  I've seen several wet brine recipes around here - but how long should I brine the meat before smoking?


3)  When brining meat, I've seen some people measure the pink salt (cure #1) based upon the weight of the meat - and other times, I've seen people put the pink salt into water in a particular ratio of pink salt-to-water.  Any guidance on the best way to calculate or figure out how much pink salt I need to use for the brining process?

4)  As for smoking the brined meat - to what internal temperature should I take the pork to before it's considered "done" for a ham?  Should the smoking process be something similar to smoked salmon where one method is to use a step-wise temperature gradient so that you slowly increase the temperature in the smoke box over a 12-hour period or so to slowly get the internal temperature to the desired temperature?

Any help or guidance (or recipes) would be greatly appreciated.  Cheers!

post #2 of 3

I would use the Coppa from the pork shoulder. Since you are new to this I would recommend using Pop's Brine to get you started. It won't require that you weigh your ingredients and cure times are laid out in the thread I have posted below. You will want to inject the coppa with the brine solution for even curing. Safe food temp for pork would be 145°. I wouldn't go much above 150°, as you'll risk drying out the



post #3 of 3

Case has you going with Pop's brine.


I make these on a regular basis, but I use the pork loin since that's what the wife and I like.  The butts work well too, but Case hit it with the coppa cut!  That makes a nice little ham.  I cure for a minimum of 10 days and I inject the brine/cure into each piece in a few different places.


Here's what I did, and I used Pop's brine...




I'm putting 3 pieces on the smoker tonight that have been getting a pellicle for the last 36 hours.

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