How To Make Homemade Smoked Ham - Recipe
How To Make Homemade Smoked Ham - Recipe
Learn how to make homemade smoked hams with Walton's and Meatgistics. Read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
What Is A Ham?
Ham comes from the upper portion of a pig’s hind leg. It is made into a smoked and cured meat product by salting, curing, or injecting and then smoking. It can be made as a whole muscle meat product or it can be made into a boneless re-structured product. This recipe will cover making a whole bone-in ham.
24 lb Bone-in ham
Excalibur Country Brown Sugar Cure
2 oz California Ham Spice
6 oz Sure Gel (optional and somewhat redundant if using cold phosphate)
0.24 oz Sodium Erythorbate
2 oz Cold Phosphate
2 gallons Ice Cold Water (38° F or less)
Process (Inject or Brine)
Water - Before you prepare your brine or pickle there are a few things we need to point out about the water you are going to use. At the time of preparation, the water needs to be between 29 and 35 degrees F, and it should not be “hard” water and must be purified or potable water, so very low microbial levels. We recommend using either distilled or purified water, but tap water can be used but it should be placed in the refrigerator overnight to allow it to cool down to around 35 degrees and allow any added chlorine to evaporate and not be added to your meat product.
Injection - To prepare the injection first dissolve 2 oz of Cold Phosphate and 6 oz of Sure Gel for every 25 lb of Ham you are curing in 2 gallons of cold water and mix until it is totally dissolved. The phosphate must be the first ingredient added for it to be effective. Then add 2 lb of the Country Brown Sugar Cure, .5 oz of California Ham spice and .015 lb (.24 ounces) of sodium erythorbate and inject the ham until it is 20% of its green weight. For example, a 20 lb ham should weigh 24 lb after pumping. We recommend a 14 point injection for a ham, starting at the thinner side inject near the end once on each side and then move up the ham making 4 more injections in a straight line until you reach the thicker end. Once you reached the thicker end, which should be your 6th injection, make 8 more evenly spaced injections around the end of the ham in a clockwise direction. Once you are done injecting you need to create a 50% strength pickle to cover your ham in while it cures in the cooler. To do this mix 1 lb of Country Brown Sugar Cure with 2 gallons of cold water and hold the ham overnight in a cooler around 38°.
If you are not injecting follow the below steps, if you inject you do not need to brine as well. Skip to Holding
Brining - Submerge ham into a solution containing 1 lb of Country Brown Sugar Cure per 1 gallon of water. Hold in the refrigerator or cooler for 5 to 7 days. Thoroughly rinse the ham, place in meat netting, and hang in the smokehouse to cook.
Holding - When we make products at Walton’s, we find the easiest container to use for any type of brining, curing, marinating, or soaking of meat products, to be done with a combination of our Stark Marinating Bucket Liners and our Food Safe Storage Containers and Marinating Buckets. Simply place a Stark Bucket Liner in the Food Storage Container, place our ham into the bucket liner, pour in enough cover brine solution to completely cover the ham, grab the excess part of the liner and squeeze out any air, and then tie the end of the bucket liner closed. Next, place the lid on the container, and then we can place the whole thing in our refrigerator overnight.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Stage 1 - Set smokehouse temp to 120° F for 1 hour
Stage 2 - Start smoke and increase smokehouse temp to 140° F for 2 hours
Stage 3 - Increase smokehouse temp to 150° F for 2 hours
Stage 4 - Increase smokehouse temp to 160° F for 4 hours
Stage 5 - Increase smokehouse temp to 190° F and cook until internal meat temp reaches 160° F (145° is fine to cook ham to as well, leaving the 160 on there as some people still do this but 145° is perfectly fine)
Stage 6 - Shower ham with water to cool product quickly and lower internal temp to 115° F or less*
After showering or placing in an ice water bath hold at room temp for approximately 1 to 2 hours before moving to the refrigerator or vacuum packaging
- To increase your humidity for a better looking final product, place a small pan of water in the bottom of the smokehouse or oven during the entire cooking cycle
- If you cannot shower the product, instead place into an ice water bath to lower the internal meat temperature
- If you are cooking in an oven and cannot add smoke, trying using Hickory Smoke Powder as a substitute
- While a traditional cover brine or pickle can be done with hams it is very difficult to do correctly because of the thickness of the ham. Often, the cure in the brine will “gas out”, which means before the cure and nitrites can fully penetrate to the center of the ham, the nitrite will break down into nitric oxide gas before it can penetrate all the way to the center of the ham, and then it is released from the brine into the air. The best way to make a properly cured ham at home is to inject it.
- Sure Gel and Cold Phosphate together aren’t really necessary and it can be argued that they don’t compliment each other well. We have used both together to good effect in the past but we want to point out that some don’t like this combination *
Try Using Other Excalibur Seasoning Cures
You can use other types of cures for a different flavor profile. Use the same process as described above, but change the cure usage per the specific requirements of the other cures
- Use Sweeter Than Sweet Cure at a ratio of 1.75 lb of cure to a gallon of cold water for 10% pump
- Use Extra White Sugar Cure at a ratio of 1.75 lb of cure to 1 gallon of cold water for a 10% pump
I did not know you needed phpsphate for the ham injection cure country brown sugar do you have to use it or can u get by without
Tim Salois It is just an optional additive you do not need to use it but using it is going to increase your water holding capacity. This means it is going to give you a juicier (and better in our mind) product. If you are a commercial processor than you should absolutely be using it to increase your final yield.
Just be sure not to add too much as it can affect the taste if you go above the 2 oz for 25 lb of meat ratio.
Thanks im just doing it for home hobby
Tim Salois Then yeah, it is totally optional, I would still recommend it to give you a juicier product but you can do it without the phosphate.
About how many hours does it take to get the 24 lb. Ham up to 160 degrees following your time and temp schedule?
That is hard to say exactly because it greatly depends on your individual smoker, how well it holds an accurate temp, the humidity, etc. The least amount of time I’d plan for is 11 hours total, but you are probably looking at 12 hours, or just a slight bit over.
Tim Salois One more question I used the blue ribbon maple bacon cure to soak or brine no injection my bacone in 5 gallon buckets for 3 to 5 days used the measurement of 1.25 lbs of cure to 1 gallon water. I doubled that. Then I noticed you recommend using thw country brown sugar cure for ham at this amount and not the blue ribbon maple bacon cure. Is it ok or should I take bacon out and start over it has only been in the buckets overnight. Thanks
I told you wrong I did 2.5 lbs of blue ribbon maple bacon cure to 2 gallons of water for a brine for bacon to soak for 3-5 days am I ok or can I tweak it. It has only been soaking overnight. Thanks
Tim Salois I did not hear back can u give me advise if ok or take out of brine ane re - do. Thanks also Pickling is what I should have said
Tim Salois We say to use the Country Brown because Blue Ribbon Maple Bacon hgas Sodium Erythorbate that is a cure accelerator in it. In the end, it won’t really matter though, you will be fine for 3-5 days, the sodium erythorbate that is already in it makes it not perfectly ideal for brining but it will absolutely work for you! So, you don’t need to do anything, you can just leave it in there.
Sorry we missed this!
Great : SO THE RATIO I USED OF 2.5 LBS OF BLUE RIBBON MAPLE BACON CURE TO 2 GALLONS OF WATER IS FINE FOR THIS TIME. I KNOW IT IS NOT EXACT, BUT WILL BE FINE. tHANKS FOR THE HELP. Tim
Tim Salois Yup, you wont have any problems as you are brining it! Good luck and post pics!
Thanks: I see for hams they call soaking for3-5 days brining and the bacon recipe calls it pickling. Both mean the same? Thanks for the help
Tim Salois Yes, brining and pickling are used in the same way even though they do not mean the same thing even though they have slightly different actual definitions.
Thanks for all the help. I am very pleased with the products. I had a source I used for years that went out of business. Glad I have found you guys wish I had found you a long time ago.
When making and injecting the brine can it set it the fridge more then over night ? Some recipes are 1 day per 2 lb of the fresh ham. I have just purchased the ingregants from Walton to make the smoked ham recipe
lizj Yes, if you want it to sit for 48 hours that is okay, just don’t go too far beyond that as this will contain some sodium erythorbate which speeds the conversion from nitrite to nitric oxide and you run the risk of “gassing out” which is where all your cure converts to gas and escapes the water. Good luck and please post pics when you are done to the bragging board, we don’t have enough pics of customers finished hams!
I bought all the ingredients in the recipe above minus the sure gel. Will this recipe give me the “grocery store” flavor? I mean like buying a commercial ham flavor? The same with bacon I bought the dry rub bacon and bacon booster. All I am looking for is store bought flavors, nothing different than what I am used to. I will be getting a hog to slaughter in the fall and this will be my first attempt doing the entire process by myself. I even bought some liquid smoke just to make sure that smoke flavor is all the way through the meat. Do you know what the 1 quart liquid smoke is from? Hickory? Apple? or just a combination of woods? Just curious. Thanks!
cu_hunting Both the Dry Rub Bacon and the Country Brown Sugar Cure are both designed to be “mainstream” seasonings, neither of those will be anything off the beaten path. Those are both the right choices for first attempts also, good job on choosing ones that will make it easy on you. Don’t go crazy with things until you’ve done a few and have gotten comfortable with it! Smoke is hickory.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!