Dry cured ham

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Pumbaa

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anyone try it? I know the process of curing then smoking but havent given it a go myself yet and was wondering if anyone here has . . . may start one this week but kinda 2nd guessing potentially wasting a whole green ham for an experiment.
 
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I mean like Virgina style or country ham but yeah basically the same thing. Take a whole rear leg of a pig and cure/smoke that sucker.
 

whoaru99

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I'm not sure a country ham is smoked, although don't see why it couldn't be.

The ones I saw on a trip down South were more or less packed in salt then wrapped good in muslin or whatever, then hung up in the rafters of the tin shed to cure for a year or two.
 

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I can tell you about spanish serrano ham (that I know): Well I haven´t done this by myself but I´ve seen my father in law do it a few times and help him in a few things of the proccess... and I´a curious guy always asking around (and annoying the old man). First get a nice clean whole pig leg of no less than 10 kilos (sorry I´m metric), once cured it will loose about a third of it´s weigth. The piece haves to be well cleaned and excess fat. Then you got to bleed the leg, this is the most important part, first take special care of the veins that are near the bone, using a cotton tablecoth press with your fingers over the grease near the end of the bone, clean the blood with a clean cloth or paper towels, after this rub some salt over the bone and in any place you can see meat,. After this initial step you have to take all the blood out, put the ham over a hard clean surface with the skin facing up, over it a wood board and about 25 kilos on it, cover it with a clean cloth, after 3 days (temp should be around 14 C) take the ham press again with your fingers to see if you can get some more blood out (if you done it rigth the first couple of times you´ll get little blood out) clean and dry the ham and cover it whit salt (the whole piece this time). Now if the temp. it´s around 14C you got to leave it like that for two weeks, if the temp is less than 14C leave it for three weeks. After three weeks shake and hit (gently) the ham to realese exccess salt. Brush it to take the rest off. Hang it for about 6 months, best conditions to cure it are in a place with a 75% humidity and air current.. Making a great ham requieres a lot of skill I can´t do it by myself but hey! that´s me!
Hope at least this helps you a bit
 
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I'm not sure a country ham is smoked, although don't see why it couldn't be.

The ones I saw on a trip down South were more or less packed in salt then wrapped good in muslin or whatever, then hung up in the rafters of the tin shed to cure for a year or two.
country arent but Virgina are was just using it as a further example . . .
I think I have the concept and process down "in theroy" it's just I dont live in Theroy . . . let me see if I can find one of the links I've been looking at . . .

**EDIT**
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/458/458-223/458-223.html
 

pickles

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My wife's grandmother lives in Franklin, NC, when we visited last year she served a ham that blew my mind! I asked where she got it and she said it came from the farmer "across the way". It was like rustic prosciutto.
 

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Killed hogs this week and trying it for the first time. Fingers crossed.
 

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Just finished chopping up ham that was dry cured for 2 weeks and smoked on applewood. It was about 10 pounds. It is tasting amazing.
 
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had some issues with life getting in the way and procurement BUT . . . .


18 lbs'er curing now will continue to post as the process goes. Should be done curing on 01 Dec then on to the smoker :rockin:
 
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hit it with another does of cure today. Looking good but not much moisture loss yet (a cup at the most). Still have 12 days to go b3for I take it off cure. More updates to follow
 

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Just overhauled the salt cure ham and forgot to get pics. I'll post some the next time I get the ham out
 

TNGabe

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Here she is, probably another 10-14 days in the fridge, then a good rinse cover in black pepper and lard, wrap her in cheesecloth, and hope everything goes well.


image-3275372014.jpg
 

TNGabe

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HELL YEAH!!!

:ban:
I checked out your hog killing blog - loved the gumby suit.;) Wish I'd bought a meat saw, we did it redneck style with an axe. On the plus side, had a friend and his family heirloom scalding tank plus a tractor with a front end loader and a boom pole on the pack.

I've got pics of my pancetta in another thread. Should be smoking bacon today, but I didn't make it to the saw mill for wood yesterday.
 

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Punk Domestics has a lot of links to dry/air cured ham recipes and info. Check out also the links to the 2011 "Charcutepalooza" challenge on some food blogs. I've been checking them out over the last few days.

I'm going to give some of therecipes a try, hopefully in the next week or so. I have 4 portioned slabs of pork belly in my freezer.
 

TNGabe

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Punk Domestics has a lot of links to dry/air cured ham recipes and info. Check out also the links to the 2011 "Charcutepalooza" challenge on some food blogs. I've been checking them out over the last few days.

I'm going to give some of therecipes a try, hopefully in the next week or so. I have 4 portioned slabs of pork belly in my freezer.
Since I've already completely derailed poor Puumba's thread...

Go for it! Pork belly is an artist's palette. Did you see these lovely numbers?
 

adamjackson

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I checked out your hog killing blog - loved the gumby suit.;) Wish I'd bought a meat saw, we did it redneck style with an axe. On the plus side, had a friend and his family heirloom scalding tank plus a tractor with a front end loader and a boom pole on the pack.

I've got pics of my pancetta in another thread. Should be smoking bacon today, but I didn't make it to the saw mill for wood yesterday.
Wow. Awesome! Yeah, the hog killing was a ton of work. the meat has been fantastic. The meat saw was a great purchase. $20 and, for hair removal the bell scraper was $30 but pays for itself with one use.

Pancetta, I tried so hard to do it but you can't raise a lean pig and then expect thick bellies. So my bacon wasn't ideal.
 

Revvy

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Since I've already completely derailed poor Puumba's thread...

Go for it! Pork belly is an artist's palette. Did you see these lovely numbers?
Jeebus freaking cristopher you should see the amount of droooooool that just rained out of my mouth and almost shorted my keyboard. WOW. Looks amazing.

I just brought a slab of my Sous-Vide Pork Belly Confit I made a month or so ago to my sister's. Even though it's been frozen and reheated it is still amazing.
 

KGB-1

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anyone try it? I know the process of curing then smoking but havent given it a go myself yet and was wondering if anyone here has . . . may start one this week but kinda 2nd guessing potentially wasting a whole green ham for an experiment.
Pumbaa:

I've been following your project and progress with interest. Originally, I was raised in Kentucky (not too far from Broadbent's Hams in Kuttawa, KY). I was raised on Country Ham. Stated differently, ham was a "meat-staple" for our family to include slab bacon (smoked hog jowl) and salted fat-back. We cured and smoked our own. On rare occasions we would purchase hams from a neighboring farm.

Being a kid at the time (I am now 66+ years), and like most farm kids i.e. not wanting to be troubled with time consuming farm chores, I was robotic; I performed tasks as "second nature" all the while failing to pay attention or ask pertinent questions of my elders. Naturally, today I fully realize the folly of my ways.

In 2000 I reached deeply into the recesses of time past and pieced together childhood memories of my helping grandpa salt and smoke hams. It was 2000 when I successfully smoked two hams from the Sitka Black-tail deer. I am now embarking on curing and smoking several fresh pork hams.

Reading all posts following your original, I thought I might be able to shed light on at least one matter, that being, whether or not a country ham was smoked. Country Ham is a southern "thing". With few exceptions, a true Country Ham is dry-salt-cured and when cured it is then smoked.

Ordinarily, we would salt our ham for approximately one week, remove it from the salt box, clean with water, pat dry with cloth, and re-salt the ham. The problem is, I don't know what kind of salt was used. Even back then there were many different available salts.

During the first week, water would literally drain onto the floor from the meat. Nearly every other day we would make a trip to the smoke house and inspect the ham. If patches of "rub" had fallen off the ham, we would sprinkle a small amount of water on that area and re-apply a thick application of rub. During the first cycle we would make absolutely certain that salt was packed deeply, all around and next to the bone from both ends. This was very important because if ham spoils, it will commence around bone for lack of adequate preservative material.

At the beginning of the second week, just prior to applying the second coat of rub, we would inject salt water deep into the meat being juxtapose to the bone with the specific intent of assuring meat preservation adjacent to the bone. Again, I don't know what kind of salt was used nor concentration of the injected salt water. When the rub was applied, the ham was carefully wrapped in paper so as to hold the rub against the surface of the ham and the ham was allowed to cure for 30 to 40 days depending on whether or not the meat had frozen during the cure. Over that period of time, a good deal of water drained from the ham. Later I learned why loss of water was so necessary to preservation.

After the ham had been cured, it was thoroughly brushed with a stiff brush, carefully washed with water and a little vinegar to remove the green mold then hung to be smoked. To the best of my memory, we would smoke our hams for about one week using Hickory. I know that others would often smoke for two weeks and sometimes longer but I don't believe that we smoked much longer than one week. Perhaps it was personal preference.

After smoking, we placed the ham in a brown paper grocery sack and tightly close the mouth of the sack with string. The sack allowed for ventilation but prevented bugs from invading and ruining the meat. From that point we allowed our hams to hang for as much as five to six months before eating. When fully cured, the hams would remain in the smoke house, year around, without spoilage.

So, a few questions for you but first a statement. I loathe sugar cured hams because they are not the salty Country Ham I grew up eating. Aside from that, sugar cured hams don't make good Red-eyed gravy and sugar cured ham doesn't taste good with home-made biscuits. With that having been said, and remembering that you specifically stated that you desired to make a *Country Ham*, what kind of salt are you using? In the past I mainly used Canning Salt during the first cycle. Canning salt has no iodine nor other preservatives. During the second phase I used Tender Quick and especially in deep areas next to the bone. I have been reluctant to use Morton's Sugar Cure simply because of what the name implies. I am so afraid it will end up as a "Sugar Cured Ham". Still, unlike Canning Salt which contains nothing, both Sugar Cure and Tender Quick contain, among other ingredients, NaNO3 and NaNO2 both being important to preservation as well as meat presentation. So what salt are you using and how do you tend your cycles?

Are you planning to smoke and if so for how long using what wood?

KGB in Alaska
 

Cromwell

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I've never done a country ham, although I'm getting ready to. But I have done a few other cured meats, and the take I have on Tender Quick is that it adds a flavor lots of people don't like. Some think it makes food taste like pepperoni. I'd recommend insta-cure and salt instead. I wish I had talked more to my Grandpa about how he cured his hams before he passed away. I never even thought about making my own ham when I was a teenager.
 
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Pumbaa

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So, a few questions for you . . . but first a statement. I loathe sugar cured hams because they are not the salty Country Ham I grew up eating. Aside from that, sugar cured hams don't make good Red-eyed gravy and sugar cured ham doesn't taste good with home-made biscuits. With that having been said, and remembering that you specifically stated that you desired to make a *Country Ham*, what kind of salt are you using?
actually I said
Virgina style or country

So what salt are you using and how do you tend your cycles?
but I'm using a cure made of kosher salt, dark brown sugar and a bit of pink curing salt. ratios is about 3:1:a touch. I have exact weights upstairs somewhere. I get as much on as I could get to stick all over including the shank end (cut very low not much meat there so I rubbed under the skin) and paid extra attention to the cavity created by the removal of the aitch bone. Not sure what ya mean by "tend your cycles" BUT so far what I have done is get a good thick rub on it and re-rubbed a week later. Will probably put another coat of rub on tomorrow and let that sit until 01 Dec. After that plan on letting it sit and "equalize" for 2 weeks then gonna cold smoke it until it's a good dark brown . . .1 day, 4 days, a week. . . I dunno depends how the smoke and outside temp is think it's about 35 in the garage atm . . . After smoking it's gonna hang in the basement either over or in the sump until at least Easter (cooler and more humid and the water is potable so not worried about contamination).

Are you planning to smoke and if so for how long using what wood?
thinking I might use a blend of apple or cherry with a touch of hickory but still not sure. Need to see how much of each I have on hand. Wish I would have had time to powder up my pecan wood but oh well maybe next time. Still need to try and get my hands on a good supply of sassafras wood . . .


My phone is hard down ATM but hopefully I'll have a new one tomorrow when I pull the porky out and re-rub it down. If so I'll post some new pictures.
 

KGB-1

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Pumbaa:

I appreciate your reply. I am looking forward to seeing your results and hearing about the taste.

KGB

I waited all evening for the sun to set, then it dawned on me! Alaska:)
 

TNGabe

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KGB - I'm on my first ham so far from a pro. The one I've got going is just salt cured, in the style of prosciutto. I like country ham pretty well, but my wife isn't a huge fan and I don't think I could eat 30 lbs of it by myself.

The basic cure recipe I have is 450g salt, 225g sugar, & 50g pink salt #1 - Butcher-Packer is the best place to get curing salts etc online. I copied the cure recipe from a library book and I don't think I wrote the country ham recipe down, but for bacon, I used 50g of the basic cure per 2kg of belly. Obviously you'd want some brown sugar for country ham.

Here is the best webste I've found that covers many, many ways to cure meats : http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/hams-other-meats/country The link is to the country ham page with a picture of none other than Alan Benton. I live about 2 hrs away from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams and ended up there on my honeymoon. Long story, but needless to say, it's a place near and dear to my heart and also considered by many to be finest producer of tradtional country hams and bacons. That first visit to Benton's spurred quite an adventure that has led to raising and butchering hogs myself.
 

KGB-1

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Good Morning TNGage. Fall Branch it not too far from Johnson City!

Thanks for the info. I will tuck this away for future use. Info is much appreciated.

KGB
 
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ok little busy getting and setting up my new phone BUT finally got the 3rd coat of cure on the ham so gonna let it sit for another 3-4 days and then start the "equalization" for 2 weeks. Took some picts of b4 the 3rd coat and after include close ups of the shank and aitch bone pocket . . .

2 weeks of cure. The checkered board patterns is from the plastic grate (florescent light diffuser) I have it sitting on to keep it above the bottom of the pan.


3rd coat of cure Each coat this thick seems to be absorbed in about 3-4 days. Finally got a good amount of liquid collected after 2 weeks probably a good cup - 1.5 cups worth.


the "aitch pocket". The bone is that smooth spot in the middle of thebottom 3rd of the img


Shank end. Not much meat showing but packing on the cure to be safe
 
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6 days after the last cure application this is whats left, the rest has been absorbed


collected about 3/4 a cup of liquid this time, about the same as after the first week and about half of the week prior


cure brushed off (with a vegetable brush) and back into the fridge for another 2 weeks for the cure to evenly distribute through out the ham . . . Meat is now VERY firm and much deeper of a red then from when it was totally "green". To me it almost is starting to look like beef < shrug > Liking the progress so far . . .
 

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"Cooking by Hand" by Paul Bertolli has a very good description of traditional style dry-cured serrano/proscuitto. Also has the only decent technical description that I've found (in English) for making traditional balsamic. I also always find a few tidbits in the Marianski and Kutas texts. Have never done a dry cure ham myself. Iberico is quite pricey - about time I made an attempt! http://www.jamon.com/shopiberico.html
 
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Well since we are getting hit with a blizzard figured no time better then today to smoke the ham. Been about 5 weeks since I started this thing and it's been equalizing for 16 days now. I modified my UDS so I can hang it in there and I will be building a net for it in a few minutes. Using a 50/50 combo of oak and hickory dust with my a-maz-n cold smoke generator Of course photos will follow just need to get the wife and kid out of the house and ot of my way then get the caffeine levels up adequately first . . . will edit this post with updates.

**EDIT**

Lay out the risers for the net. Note to self next time anchor them onto something, preferably a big heavy something so they dont keep flopping out of position as you work with them


start weaving in your cross strings. Wasnt to difficult but thinking next time I'm going to knot each intersection had a bit of a issue with slippage cuz it wasnt staying tight until weight was added to the mix. did 1 side first then flipped it over (at which time all my risers when KAH- BLU-EY forcing me to re adjust them) and do the other side.


weight added and working like a charm. Note to the rest of you . . . if you try to take this picture get help. Holding a 18 lbs ham over your head at arms length in 1 hand and a camera/phone in the other at arms length and trying to see WTF you are doing isnt as easy as it sounds.


OK it isnt pretty but it works, and thats what matters. Got the smoke generator all loaded up. Initially was going to use a piece of charcoal to get it going cuz I couldnt find my pocket torch for the life of me BUT . . . yeah 1 trip to the hard ware store later I got it lit with my new pocket torch that I promptly hid in my basement tool box where my wife fears to tread.

Got it hanging in my UDS now. I added a U bolt to the inside of the lid to hang it from. That little generator will give me about 8 hours of good smoke at which time we'll take a look and figure out if we are going to add more smoke or not. I'm looking to get it a nice deep brown before I pull it out.

Stay tuned

***EDIT***
24 hours in the smoker and not gonna pull it yet, we'll see how it looks tonight
 
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OK last installment for a while . . . Pulled the ham out of the UDS after 48 hours. It's just getting too cold at night to keep it going and not end up with a 18lbs porkcycle. (13f last night) Was hoping for another 2 days but ya do what ya can with what ya got . . .

black streak is from condensation dripping down on it . . .


little schmutz when I set it on the grill while reloading the smoke generator . . .


wrapped in a brown paper bag (bottom cut out) and tied with more butchers twine to keep the bag on


Hanging down by the sump . . . it's new home until at least Easter
 

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And when I say April, I of course mean March, because I'm a heathen who can't remember when Easter is.
 
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Time to turn this into a necro thread and bump it....

I cut the ham down on 01 May all I can say is GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY

Kinda looks a little brutal but it cleaned up very nicely with a vegetable brush and a bit of warm water


The inside. Tasted great just as is, just need to cut it PAPER thin cuz it's a touch salty raw. . . . but I have to say not bad for raw moldy pork that's been hanging in a basement for 5-6 months. Anyway... I soaked it for 2 days changing water every 8-12 hours to pull some of the salt out then stuck it in the oven at 325 for 25 min/lbs. The last hour I pulled the skin off and coated it in a stoneground mustard glaze....



Only thing I'll change is next time I'll be cutting that hock off a bit lower... Trying to debone it around the knee joint was a royal PITA

yeah I'll be doing 4-5 again starting in early Aug
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