Cured Whole Muscle Meat 105 - Ham Basics

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Fresh Sausage

    Cured Whole Muscle Meat 105 - Ham Basics

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Injecting Ham
    Smoked ham

    What Is Ham?

    Ham is the upper portion of a pig’s hind leg, it will usually be in the range of 16 inches long and around 12 inches wide at the widest point and its weight will vary pretty dramatically. To cook it safely at low temperatures it needs to be cured first and because of the size of the ham injecting it is a better choice than pickling or brining to make sure the cure is evenly distributed.

    Meat Block

    14 lb Uncured Ham
    1 Bag of Country Brown Sugar Cure
    1 lb of California Ham Spice


    Walton’s Automatic Syringe Injector
    Auto-Load Hog Ring Pliers


    To figure out how much cure and water you will need you will first need to weigh your ham. This ham weighs 14 lb which is known as its green weight. Country Brown Sugar Cure calls for 2 lb of cure to be mixed with 1 gallon of water for a 10% pump. For California ham spice use .05lb per gallon of water. This means that we want to use the appropriate amount of cure and water and then pump 10% of the “green weight” into the ham, so a 14 lb ham will be 15.4 lb after it has been pumped.


    It is very important to use water that has low microbial levels and low to no chlorine, buying distilled water from your grocery store is a good way to ensure you will not have any issues from the water. If you are using tap water leave it in an uncovered container in a cooler overnight to let any of the gas escape the water.

    Injection Points

    We recommend a 14 point injection for a ham, starting at the thinner side inject near the end once on each side of the bone 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.

    Cover Brine

    Then we will use the remaining cure solution to cover our ham while we let it sit in the cooler overnight if you used a cure with sodium erythorbate or added it yourself and 3-4 days if you did not. We want this to be a 50% strength solution so our options are, either us the cure at the rate of 1 lb per gallon of water or we can weigh what we have left over from our injection and add whatever it weighs in water so the cure would now be at a 50% strength solution.


    Next, it needs to be stuffed into a casing like Versanet so that it can then hung in the smokehouse. You can choose to tie this Ham or use Ham Tubing, we like versanet as it is a plastic product that releases easily from the ham after the smoking process.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    1 Hour at 120° with no smoke
    2 Hours 140° and begin smoking
    4 Hours at 190° until internal temperature reaches 145°


    Then hold this at room temperature for 1-2 hours before moving to the refrigerator or vacuum packing it.

    Wrap up

    Now we have a beautiful homemade smoked ham that is going to taste at least as good as anything bought in the store!

    Additional Tips

    • If you had a market hand saw you can make a cut perpendicular to the h-bone on the back of the ham

    Watch WaltonsTV: Ham Basics

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  • Could the ham be hung and dried at this point without thermal processing to produce a country ham or prosciutto style?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    lholder We don’t do much dry curing and haven’t done any on hams. The process we have above is for smoked hams and I’m not totally sure what the different steps needed for making a dry-cured ham would be. I talked to our application specialist though and he did have some input on this, I am going to send that to you in a separate email. Hopefully, that information will help!

  • this recipe says to use 1lb of CA ham spice, but the CA ham spice says to use 0.05 lb per gallon… how much do I need?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    cu_hunting The california ham spice is sold in 1 lb bags, use .005 per gallon of water.

  • Team Orange

    In the other ham video you used cold phosphate and sodium erythorbate. What are the differences in using them or not? Also are these recipes good for hams that are going to frozen then recooked?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    jcbar So, this is a basics video and I would consider those to be more advanced additives. The cold phosphate is going to increase the yield, juiciness and texture of the ham while the sodium erythorbate is going to act as a cure accelerator so we don’t need to hold it for more than overnight to allow the cure time to equalize. Now, I think a few guys on here would tell you to still hold it a day or two but after 12 hours, if it has been properly injected, you should be good

  • Team Orange

    Jonathon Thank you, Sir.

  • Team Orange

    Jonathon does the cold phosphate and sodium erythorbate stay the same for the 10% pump?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    jcbar Yes, the amount of those additives is based on the weight of the meat, not the amount of what you are injecting

  • Team Orange

    Thank you!

  • The directions listed above call for a 10% pump of green weight. The You Tube video Austin indicates a 20% pump of green weight.
    Is it 10% or 20% of pump?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    TomKat1962 It is 10% pump. We think there was a change made in the cure in the last few years. it will say directly on the bag to “Use 2 lb of cure to each gallon of water for a 10% pump”

    Here is a link to the product. I will talk to Austin about taking that other video down

  • Jonathon Thanks, getting ready to process 4 hams for the first time. I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s Easter!

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