Mixed the honey and the brown sugar, dropped in a little ground nutmeg, ground up some clove and a little ginger shredded in to balance things out. Salt, pink salt and dextrose and mix that in 5 gallons. Stitch pumped the hams along the bones and in the joint area. Then into my teflon cure tubes and pour the rest of the pickle over the top. Lid the thing in the walkin and see you at 5 pm to haul over once. Then again on Friday for a haul over.
I really like working in the kitchen early in the morning. None of the normal background noise of caterings getting ready and stuff being packaged. Just some coffee and time to think about putting together the perfect product for this years Christmas Hams. hope the brown sugar will bring just a hint of molassas under the clove to really excite the outer edges of the tongue and the tip when they are being tasted. Funny when the hams are in the pickle there is nothing you can do at that point to change things. Your product has to be thought through before you mix the first ingredient. If not at the end of the five day cure period you may have just made pork into something unedible.
Well they have been down in the pickle the correct amount of days, today we crack it back open and see if we made money or dumpster offerings!
Here they are open and looking good!
So up out of the pickle they come and into the bus tubs for the short ride to the smoker.
Three or four to a pickle bucket depending on my work load. In this case two tubs of three. Racked up and ready to roll to the smoker!
Looking close in the upper right corner of the rack stack, you can just see Big Dog Chefs pink tutu in the crate ready for the laundry. (And you guys thought he was kidding about his uniform!)
Everything is out of the pickle
Setting up the fire box with hickory to make the smoke
Loading them on the racks and getting set to program the temp profile
Starting the smoke
When they reach the hold temp and have their bone come up to the prescribed temperature they should carve off and show this type of beautiful color and marble.
All in all I am happy with this years products. I think dropping the dextrose and going to a honey brown sugar cure with the clove in the background is working well. I would say it must be as they cleaned up two hams on Saturday night at the first catering using our home cured Country Christmas Ham!
Did up the dishes and cleared out of there. Have to go back tonight about nine and get them out of the smoker and look at the finals.
You might ask why with commercial hams would we go through the brain damage of curing and presenting our own hams. Well several reasons, in catering its about who can not only do the meal, but do the meal and put the most money in the bank. (As in left over money not the turn over!) And this allows several marketing advantages, we sell this as heirloom country ham, so our competitors are forced to find a place to buy such a beast. And they are expensive. Two we carve this live on the spike and it presents really really nice. And last it is unique, no one in our area will copy it, and no one in our area could make the taste.