Anyone Use Star Anise for Curing Hams?

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Just pulled the pork shoulder hams off the smoker and OMG!!! Best hams I've ever tasted!

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Two pork butts over 12 pounds each for 25.2 pounds of meat.

Used:
  • 1.5 whole star anise, (big/good sized not little ones)
  • 1 clove
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 1.8% salt (used table salt, yeah people say not to but I use it if I have it)
  • 0.333% Splenda (it's 1/3 of the amount of sugar you would use because it is sweeter and bulkier, also was something I had on hand I want to use up; this is equivalent to 1% sugar)
  • cure #1 for the amount of water and pork weight
Mixed all that up and then used a meat syringe and injected the solution into the pork shouldes all over like crazy. Then cured in fridge for 6-7 days (can't remember) which seems like a short time but looks to have come out ok due to my heavy handed injected the cure solution all over into the meat.

Results:
Flavor is out of this world from what I was picking off of it and eating!!!!
Also I did not trim the fat off the pork butts and didnt bother cutting crisscross squares into the fat.

Smoked at 275F and took me a little over 8hrs to hit IT. One hit 160F the other hit 147F. I just let em ride until they hit a min of 145F and that's how they cooked up as one was on the hotter side of the smoker.

I hung them on cotton stockenettes for smoking, didn't lay them on racks.
I applied used a full AMNPS but lit both sides for double smoke at same time.
Pellets were about 65% Hickory, 17.5% Maple, 17.5% Cherry. Why these percentages?
Simple. I took Pit Boss M/C/H and mixed it about equal parts with 100% Hickory. That made for the estimated percentages I have.


Lessons Learned:
  • The flavor from the Star Anise and the Clove were AWESOME! It does this amazing flavor melding/combo thing with the sweet component of the ham and I didn't make it too sweet at all. I will NOT change a thing with the ratio of Star Anise and Clove to water + meat used
  • So far from pulling some meat off and tasting it, I will not hesitate to make "hams" out of pork shoulder going forward.
  • I may have more lessons learned once I actually dig into these things for eating but tomorrow I plan to pull the shoulder blade bones out and taste some more and may have more feedback on flavor deep in the meat but I expect more of the same with my heavy handed injecting. I will vac seal them and freeze them for reheating. One for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas :)
Thanks for the help everyone! I may do a separate post as I find very little on here or even online about making ham from "green" cuts of pork, so it will surely help others.
I hope all of you enjoy! :)
 
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That's good to hear . Thanks for the update . Makes me want to get one going , but I have 3 in the freezer already .
I do about the same smoke flavor as you , but switched out the hickory for mesquite . Really makes a nice ham .
very little on here or even online about making ham from "green" cuts of pork,
You must not be looking in the right place .
Pork cushion , and pork loin . One I used anise and fennel .
All kinds of ham threads on here . Maybe the process gets lost , because Pop's brine and Dave's injection are popular and most know what that takes if they are using one of those .

 
That's good to hear . Thanks for the update . Makes me want to get one going , but I have 3 in the freezer already .
I do about the same smoke flavor as you , but switched out the hickory for mesquite . Really makes a nice ham .

You must not be looking in the right place .
Pork cushion , and pork loin . One I used anise and fennel .
All kinds of ham threads on here . Maybe the process gets lost , because Pop's brine and Dave's injection are popular and most know what that takes if they are using one of those .


Yeah it is very likely my search terms aren't doing the trick. Also there are TONS of double smoked ham threads and info out there that help drown out the green or from scratch ham threads.

I'll have to try the Mesquite blending sometime. I'm in Texas where Mesquite is used more than anywhere else so I have tasted it on everything and believe it. I always giggle a little bit when Mesquite gets labeled as not being good for pork or chicken or even fish. It just takes a little bit of extra effort to get down and use properly. It does not come with training wheels for sure haha :D
 
Super happy that worked out for you. Did you simmer the brine then cool it before injection? Or just mix it up and inject? Shoulder ham is fantastic.
 
I do about the same smoke flavor as you , but switched out the hickory for mesquite . Really makes a nice ham .
Mesquite is one of my favorite smokes if it doesn’t smolder. My FI has a cooker he made from oilfield casing. He takes the grates out, fills it with mesquite cordwood splits, lights it lets that burn to coals then cooks the Thanksgiving turkey on it in an aluminum pan. First time I ate that bird was 25 years ago. Blew my mind that turkey can taste that good. It’s the mesquite because he does nothing else special. Made a believer out of me. It’s just tough to get up here, and expensive when I can. Otherwise it would be my smoke of choice 90% of the time.
 
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I use it on almost everything . Just bought another bag of the chunks , but I have chips and pellets .
 
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Super happy that worked out for you. Did you simmer the brine then cool it before injection? Or just mix it up and inject? Shoulder ham is fantastic.

I don't ever simmer. Plus if you simmer cure#1 you can kill it... so I've read.

I simply figre out my water and then put all the salt, sugar, cure@1 into the blender with water and blend it so it is dissolved or gets a good start then I pour it all in and mix around with the rest of the water and the meat.

That mixes it all up super well and then I draw the solution with the meat syringe and inject everything. Super simple and works like a charm every time. Even when not injecting i do the same thing, never any issues :)
 
I don't ever simmer. Plus if you simmer cure#1 you can kill it... so I've read.

I simply figre out my water and then put all the salt, sugar, cure@1 into the blender with water and blend it so it is dissolved or gets a good start then I pour it all in and mix around with the rest of the water and the meat.

That mixes it all up super well and then I draw the solution with the meat syringe and inject everything. Super simple and works like a charm every time. Even when not injecting i do the same thing, never any issues :)
Yup, that’ll work. I don’t simmer or boil either, but if I did, for flavor, I would add the cure #1 after it cooled and then desolve the cure. The process otherwise is straight forward.
 
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