• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Ham Curing Mistake

CJNL

Newbie
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
I'm just pulling four hams I had curing and am second-guessing what I did and if I have to throw it all out. I had my butcher split the hind legs of a pig into four hams so 9 to 10 lb each (bone-in) and about four inches thick. I did a brine which was about two gallons and 2 cups salt, 2 cups sugar, two cups brown sugar and then divided it equally four ways. Each ham then got 17 grams of #1 curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite). I injected the hams with a food syringe at 10% by weight (1 lb per ham), especially around the bones. I put the hams in food safe ferm bags used for brewing and tied them off to more or less force the liquid around the ham, but there was still a little air I then put these hams in buckets and into the fridge. I did not do a good job of ensuring the hams were forced under the liquid level completely but opted to flip every 24 to 36 hrs to make sure all of the ham was consistently wetted with majority submerged for a total cure of 7 days. I've read a lot today when I revisited my recipe that the ham must be fully submerged (weighted plate). Any opinions on risks, concerns, chuck or keep? Relative beginner looking for wisdom. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,297
3,202
Joined Jan 18, 2020
Each ham then got 17 grams of #1 curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite). I injected the hams with a food syringe at 10% by weight (1 lb per ham),
Explain this.
17 grams cure #1 to a 10# ham is too much, but if in a brine, it could be different. Please explain.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
Explain this.
17 grams cure #1 to a 10# ham is too much, but if in a brine, it could be different. Please explain.
Sorry to be more accurate the 17 grams of cure was disolved into the respective 1/2 gallon of brine allocated to each ham. The solution was drawn and injected into each ham at 1 lb per ham.
 

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,297
3,202
Joined Jan 18, 2020
I did a brine which was about two gallons and 2 cups salt, 2 cups sugar, two cups brown sugar and then divided it equally four ways. Each ham then got 17 grams of #1 curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite). I injected the hams with a food syringe at 10% by weight (1 lb per ham),
Sorry for the confusion.
When and how was the cure#1 added?
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,053
3,705
Joined Dec 1, 2019
If I'm following along...

When your first (salt, sugar and water) mixing was completed, you had 14 pounds of water + meat in each of your brine bags.

You added 17 grams of Cure #1 to each bag, and mixed well.

Then you took 1 pound of the curing brine and injected it into the ham, paying attention to the meat around the bones.

You might not have had a full cover brine for 100% of the time, but you did overhaul the meat every 24 or so hours.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
If I'm following along...

When your first (salt, sugar and water) mixing was completed, you had 14 pounds of water + meat in each of your brine bags.

You added 17 grams of Cure #1 to each bag, and mixed well.

Then you took 1 pound of the curing brine and injected it into the ham, paying attention to the meat around the bones.

You might not have had a full cover brine for 100% of the time, but you did overhaul the meat every 24 or so hours.
You have the order of operations pretty close, with the exception of adding 17 gram cure to 4 lb brine, injecting 1 lb brine (including cure #1) into ham as noted with attention to bones and then placing ham in the bag with remaining liquid.
 

PolishDeli

Meat Mopper
285
395
Joined Oct 9, 2018
Looking at this one ham at a time, is this what you did?

Pork: 10 pounds
Water: 0.25gal
Cure #1: 17 grams

That recipe is fine.
Your concern is in the fact that the pork was not fully submerged? It should be fine since you flipped it every day or so.

Does it pass the smell test?
You can sacrifice one ham: cut it up and look for a uniform pink color throughout.
 

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,297
3,202
Joined Jan 18, 2020
You have the order of operations pretty close, with the exception of adding 17 gram cure to 4 lb brine, injecting 1 lb brine (including cure #1) into ham as noted with attention to bones and then placing ham in the bag with remaining liquid.
1.1 grams cure #1 to a pound of meat (or total meat and brine weight). Even with the 1# of brine you are over on cure, but that’s not a huge deal. Just don’t do it again.
The meat being surfaced isn’t huge either because, you injected, and you overhauled the the meat during the brine. Next time fill a 1 gallon ziploc bag half full of water, air out, and use that as a weight to hold the meat down.
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,053
3,705
Joined Dec 1, 2019
You have the order of operations pretty close, with the exception of adding 17 gram cure to 4 lb brine, injecting 1 lb brine (including cure #1) into ham as noted with attention to bones and then placing ham in the bag with remaining liquid.
Using 14 pounds as the base weight (1/2 gallon of water + 10 pounds of meat) I come up with 15.75 grams of Cure #1, so you look good there.

A 10% pump (injection) of the full strength curing brine (all the Cure #1 in the 1 pound of injected liquid) means your hams are mostly curing from the inside out. Also looking good.

Your salt and sugar may be high for my tastes.... but in your favor the amount of sugar might offset the saltiness. Or you may get more of a country ham than a city ham flavor.

Overall I think you are good since you are combination curing (injection and covering with curing brine)
 
Last edited:

indaswamp

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
8,406
5,068
Joined Apr 27, 2017
Will these hams be hot smoked or cold smoked and dried?
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,053
3,705
Joined Dec 1, 2019
Just a side note, I use the daveomak daveomak injectable ham curing method on front leg hams, bone in. It calls for using 10% liquid by meat weight with the appropriate amounts of phosphates, salt, sugar and Cure #1 added to it. There is no actual cover brine but any additional liquid is added to the bag. This method works wonderfully.

Even though there will be an exchange of sorts with some of your non-cure added liquid I can't imagine it would be detrimental.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
1.1 grams cure #1 to a pound of meat (or total meat and brine weight). Even with the 1# of brine you are over on cure, but that’s not a huge deal. Just don’t do it again.
The meat being surfaced isn’t huge either because, you injected, and you overhauled the the meat during the brine. Next time fill a 1 gallon ziploc bag half full of water, air out, and use that as a weight to hold the meat down.
Looking at this one ham at a time, is this what you did?

Pork: 10 pounds
Water: 0.25gal
Cure #1: 17 grams

That recipe is fine.
Your concern is in the fact that the pork was not fully submerged? It should be fine since you flipped it every day or so.

Does it pass the smell test?
You can sacrifice one ham: cut it up and look for a uniform pink color throughout.
Thanks, recipe was 0.5 gallon water (17 grams cure and 10 lb pork). My concern was the submerged aspect. Looks pretty good and no smell. I'm hanging them overnight in the fridge and will reinspect in the morning. I'll chunk up one ham for further inspection. Might add some pictures. I did see some small iridescent green under light on two which I understand relates to nitrite.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
Just a side note, I use the daveomak daveomak injectable ham curing method on front leg hams, bone in. It calls for using 10% liquid by meat weight with the appropriate amounts of phosphates, salt, sugar and Cure #1 added to it. There is no actual cover brine but any additional liquid is added to the bag. This method works wonderfully.

Even though there will be an exchange of sorts with some of your non-cure added liquid I can't imagine it would be detrimental.
In your "daveomak" approach is the 10% liquid at a higher cure %? How close are the injection spacings? I gunned for ~ 2" apart focusing on the bare flesh on both sides and scored the skin to the fat layer.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
Thanks to everyone for your time and input. Lastly what do you think of the cure time with injection? I actually took a measuring tape to the hams and got anywhere from 4 inches through thickness to 6 inches on one. I have seen a lot of variation on cure time recommendations from 7 to 10 days to 3 to 4 weeks. It's hard to understand what is appropriate. Especially with injection. Thoughts?
 

Attachments

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,297
3,202
Joined Jan 18, 2020
I also use the DaveO vegetable broth injection Which has become exclusive for ham lately. I’ve done about 100# worth in the last couple months. Everybody raves about it. I have more to do for Christmas too.
I weigh the ham. I measure out 10% weight in veg broth. I dissolve STPP, 1.5% salt, 1.0% sugar and I add sodium erythorbate at 0.05% and cure #1 is always 0.25%
Once dissolved I place the ham in a meat lug and pour the injection into a beer glass to make it easier to draw up in the syringe. I inject first all along the length of bone. Then I inject the rest of the ham maybe 1 1/4” grid. Any liquid that spills into the lug get poured back into the glass and injected again until the whole ham has been pumped and as little injection left as possible. They are plastic bagged and refrigerated.

The ham is cured in 5 days, but it’s better to leave them for 7-10 days flavor is better and more even. I hot smoke them for 10 hours with apple and pecan wood Most of that time is at 140* the last couple hours I slowly raise heat until final IT of 150* is reached. 155* is ok to. The best color is made between 150-160* I just don’t like going to 160* . If outside temps allow, I like to shut the smokehouse off and let them cool over night in the smokehouse. Then they are bagged and refrigerated For a couple days to mellow the smoke.
 

CJNL

Newbie
Thread starter
10
0
Joined Nov 27, 2021
I also use the DaveO vegetable broth injection Which has become exclusive for ham lately. I’ve done about 100# worth in the last couple months. Everybody raves about it. I have more to do for Christmas too.
I weigh the ham. I measure out 10% weight in veg broth. I dissolve STPP, 1.5% salt, 1.0% sugar and I add sodium erythorbate at 0.05% and cure #1 is always 0.25%
Once dissolved I place the ham in a meat lug and pour the injection into a beer glass to make it easier to draw up in the syringe. I inject first all along the length of bone. Then I inject the rest of the ham maybe 1 1/4” grid. Any liquid that spills into the lug get poured back into the glass and injected again until the whole ham has been pumped and as little injection left as possible. They are plastic bagged and refrigerated.

The ham is cured in 5 days, but it’s better to leave them for 7-10 days flavor is better and more even. I hot smoke them for 10 hours with apple and pecan wood Most of that time is at 140* the last couple hours I slowly raise heat until final IT of 150* is reached. 155* is ok to. The best color is made between 150-160* I just don’t like going to 160* . If outside temps allow, I like to shut the smokehouse off and let them cool over night in the smokehouse. Then they are bagged and refrigerated For a couple days to mellow the smoke.
How big are your hams? And also your smoke approach sounds amazing. I just have a little broil king smoker.
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,053
3,705
Joined Dec 1, 2019
Thanks to everyone for your time and input. Lastly what do you think of the cure time with injection? I actually took a measuring tape to the hams and got anywhere from 4 inches through thickness to 6 inches on one. I have seen a lot of variation on cure time recommendations from 7 to 10 days to 3 to 4 weeks. It's hard to understand what is appropriate. Especially with injection. Thoughts?
Going back to the 'equilibrium' method of more precise calculations for more predictable results.... my curing time for shoulder hams is 14 days, but I'm okay with12 or 15 if I need to wait for better weather, or decide to go fishing. The key factor is YOU are the one that determines the amount of cure time beyond the minimum time. With saturation curing or a stronger curing brine your window might be pretty small. A good example is corned beef. The store bought ones are injected with a very strong curing brine and put into a tank for a day or so, then packaged. A processor does not have the time and room to store corned briskets for a week, much less two weeks. When I corn a brisket or a pork butt, I go 12 to 14 days.
 

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.