Thread: Cured Hog Ham
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:41 PM   #30
Coastal Ducks
Eight Point
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bay City Texas

After reading up on dry and wet cures I gave it a go too. I shot a decent sized sow and kept the hind quarters and backstraps for curing. I used pickling salt, pink cure and brown sugar to make my brine. I put the hams and backstraps in a clean and sanitized 5 gallon bucket and poured the liquid cure over them until totally submerged. That went into my beer fridge with the lid on the bucket for 21 days. I kept a close eye on it for any foam, bubbles or scum on top of the brine. Never had any. After 21 days I rinsed the meat off with cold water and let stand in cold fresh water for an hour or so, drained and repeated. Then I let them rest for another day to equalize. Put that on the pit and smoked with oak and mesquite at 125 degrees for 5 hours. Then I popped it in the oven in foil pans, covered, until done. Let them rest and sliced after they cooled.

It came out very good overall. I did not inject any cure and that is the one thing I will do differently next time. Injecting the hams would have probably got me a more even cure. After cooking the hams were pink all the way through but there were some layers that were pinker than others. They were very moist.

The backstraps were the best part. They came out much like canadian bacon. Very ham-y and smokey. I will do more of those. You can cure a couple of pig backstraps in a tupperware container. It wouldn't take much cure or much room.

For my cure I used 3 gallons of water, 1# of pickling salt, 2 ozs of cure and 3/4# of brown sugar. Now don't take this as a hard and fast recipe. If you do a search on curing hams you can find as many different recipes for wet cures as there are people curing them. The quantities ranged widely for each ingredient. I am not saying the recipe I used is the best. This was my first try at it.

What I will say about my cure is that (other than no one got sick eating them) the hams were 100% cured ham. They turned pink and tasted like ham. They were salty with a little sweet. The cure worked. Now, the hams were about 3 different shades of pink which means the cure didn't penetrate evenly all the way through. I think injecting cure into the meat would have evened that out a bunch.

Next time I will inject and I will go easier on the smoke. I got them way too smokey. I think a very light amount of smoke would have been better. I'll either try some different wood or shorten the amount of time or both. It was a bit too much smoke and it took away from the ham taste some.

This was a fun experiment and it turned out really good. If you have not done this before read up on it and give it a go. It really isn't difficult.
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