First home-cured ham: cured, cold-smoked, baked, glazed, with Qview!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by snorkelinggirl, May 31, 2013.

  1. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi folks,

    I get a pork side about once a year from a local farmer. This time, instead of having the butcher cure the leg into ham, I had the leg come back to me fresh but divided into 5 bone-in leg sections of about 4-5 lbs each.  The idea being that I would try and cure the sections into ham myself.

    I used the recipe for home-cured ham from "The Great Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells. I love this cookbook so much I might as well sleep with it under my pillow.

    The brine recipe is stronger than Pop's brine, so the curing times are faster. It is not an equilibrium cure, so you have to follow the recipe for specified cure times. The recipe specified to use deboned leg, so I first had to bone out my leg section. The recipe calls for curing 3-4 days for a 3 to 4 inch thick boneless leg section (mine was 3 1/4 inch thick at thickest point).  As it was deboned, no injecting was required.

    Brine recipe: 1 gallon cold water, 1 lb kosher salt, 1/2 lb firmly packed light brown sugar, 3 Tbsp Insta Cure #1. I added a couple of Tbsp of honey to this. Stir for a while until clear. Cover the pork in the brine, and weigh it down to keep it covered. I stirred the brine and flipped the meat over after a couple of days.

    After 4 days of curing, I pulled it out of the brine, rinsed, patted dry. Fry taste came out a touch salty, so I soaked it for an hour in cold water, with a couple of water changes. Patted dry, then put in the refrigerator overnight to form a pellicle. Next day, I cold smoked for 6 hours using maple dust in the AMNS. Chamber temp stayed between 59 - 84 deg F for the 6 hours.

    After cold smoking, I let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Then I baked it in the oven, uncovered, at 325 deg F in a baking dish that was filled 1/4 inch deep with apple cider.

    When the IT hit 115 deg F, I pulled it out of the oven and glazed it using brown sugar, molasses, mustard, and bourbon. Put it back in the oven and continued cooking until IT hit 145 deg F. Pulled it out and let it rest.

    Sliced up. Evenly cured throughout, no areas of uncured pork. Nice and moist, great flavor. I really liked the added some flavor and sparkle to the ham, but wasn't overly sweet and icky.

    Plated with some steamed vegies and mashed yams.  Delicious!  At least as good as any commercial ham I've had.  I'd make this recipe again in a heartbeat. The maple smoke complemented the ham well. Given the whole Smithfield Farms/China sellout, I'm glad I can now turn out a decent ham using fresh local pork.

    Thanks very much for looking at my post!

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks like you Nailed It! I found it interesting that the Recipe read, "   1/2 lb firmly packed light brown sugar, ". When it comes to WEIGHT it don't matter if it's Firmly Packed or Tossed all over  a Sheet Pan...A 1/2 Pound will always be 1/2 Pound!...Silly Chef's...[​IMG]...JJ
  3. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ha!  Nice catch, Chef!  The recipe I followed gave both volume and weight measurements for salt and sugar.  I followed the weight measurements, but did also conscientiously pack that brown sugar down.  [​IMG]

    Thanks for the compliment, and hope you have a great night!
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Clarissa, morning...... That ham is beautiful....  I really like the idea of cutting the leg up into smaller hunks...  No sour bone stuff... shorter curing time...  You are aces.... and the plating is spot on...  my type of meal....

  5. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good morning, Dave.  Thanks so much for the compliments!   Yes, it worked out really well to work with a more manageable piece of leg, and to take out the bone. Only 2 of us in my household, so we still have more than enough leftover ham for extra meals.  I'll have the leg come back this way on my next pork side too.

    Have a great day!

  6. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice job! Your ham looks great and I like the short cure time. I just pulled 2 hams (butts) out last night after 15 days. How much do you think you will cut the salt next time?
  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking ham Clarissa.  The old traditional Smithfield country cured hams have been gone for a number of years and doubt the Chinese will bring them back.   

    Look forward to more and more to cure their own hams using different techniques as you and myself are doing.  The price of pork will surely go up when the Chinese start shipping a good amount of pork home.

  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice, Clarissa!  Great job on the ham, and a very tasty looking plate!

  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks so much, Woodcutter!!

    After an hour soak in cold water, the ham actually came out pretty much right on for salt content. And I don't like salty stuff, so most others might have thought it was fine even before the soak. So I'll probably leave the brine recipe the same next time, and just plan for a one or two hour cold water soak before drying and smoking.

    I'm looking forward to hearing how your 2 shoulder hams come out!

    Have a great day!

  10. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks so much, Tom!  Yes, it is a changing world, and nations like China who are entering the world market are going to have a huge impact on us in the coming years. As others have said, I'll continue to buy from and support my local farmers. It costs more to do this now, but may be the only option in the future!

    Have a great day and weekend!

  11. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Red!  Thanks so much for the compliments! 

    Glad that you and yours are well, and hope that today and tonight are more restful for you all!

  12. Nicely done SnorkelingGirl, the ham looks very delicious and thank you for sharing the pics and the process.
  13. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gorgeous HAM!  I just wish I could have had a plate of kind of meal!  Thanks for the q-view and telling about the book too!

    Very beautiful thread!   [​IMG]

  14. Nice job Clarissa.It looks great.

    Happy smoken.

  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent post and a great job!  It ain't rocket science doing your own cured meat, and it's just plain fun, too!  You are still within the safe limits of Cure #1; 3.84 oz. is max per 1 gal of water, about 4.5 level tbsp's worth.  (Each level tbsp. is .8oz.).   So glad for your success!  Maple extract is good to add too for maple flavor.  Maple Honey Ham..... yeaowww!  Delish!
  16. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    That ham looked amazing. I love cooking big hams. I could snack on cold ham for months and not get sick of it. Especially if it is smoked. Thanks for the pics and info. I might have to try curing a ham. It sounds fairly easy. Nice job. Keep em coming.
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice Job, Clarissa!!!

    And like Dave said---Great way, cutting it down to smaller sizes & deboning for shorter times & no worry of bone sour problems.

    If I ever cure a fresh Ham, I'll do the same thing before I Dry cure it !!!

    Great Post too!!!!

  18. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you so much for the compliments and checking out my post!!   I hope that you all have a great Sunday!

  19. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Kat, 

    Thank you for the compliments!  I saw your recommendation for River Road cookbook as a great Southern cookbook in an earlier thread, and I now have a copy on order with Amazon. I'm glad I could return the favor to you by recommending a cookbook too. 

    Hope the rest of your weekend is great!

  20. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you so much, Pops!!  I appreciate you verifying the Cure #1 amount in the brine recipe I followed.  Thanks too for the suggestion about maple extract!  I've got more leg sections in the freezer, and I'll try that out with the next one.

    Have a great Sunday!

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