Cured Whole Muscle Meat 105 - Ham Basics
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!
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Now we have a beautiful homemade smoked ham that is going to taste at least as good as anything bought in the store!
- 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
It sounds like you used casings that were intended for semi-dri, smoked or fermented snack sticks. For a fresh breakfast sausage you would want to use a “fresh” collagen or natural hog or sheep casing.
@papag Thank you!! That is what I had intended to do but wanted verification.
On the measurements, I measured & calculated the five pound container of cure mix three times & got three different answers as would be suspected for something that should be weighed. However, since I do not have a food scale anymore I settled for about 2.25 cups to equal 1 pound of cure mix. Thank you for the suggestion on the liners & I will look into that too. I tried to find a food safe five gallon bucket, but was unable. I used my typical Aluminum Turkey Pot that I usually use with up to 2.5 gallon freezer bags for smaller turkeys, butts, briskets, etc. However, since this ham was so big, I had to go & get a 10 gallon freezer bag to use for the ham & put that into the Turkey Pot to keep it together. That ham has been taking a bath now for a day. Thank you all for all your help.
Please help me if you can. Let’s say I wanted to mix two flavors like habanero and ranch yup that’s the request from the wife and friends and I’m down to try. Would I mix for the whole 25 lb batch or cut each in half? Main question is are there salts in these blends or just flavor?
I made a batch of breakfast sausage. This is my first time using collagen casings. I used 19mm Mahogony edible collagen casings.
Well, I pan fried them this morning and the casings were like rubber. I was able to slide the sausage out of the casings so all was not lost.
Any ideas why the casings were not really edible?
Thanks in advance
I smoked many a summers on my traeger. Turning them a few times during the process will ensure that you won’t get “cooked product” on the side that is facing the grill.