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
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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?
@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!
Any idea of brand on the “brown” ones? I used to be able to buy them from my local butcher but he has since stopped selling them. Or where to purchase?
@ramt600 I had the same thing happen with the reddish ones also and the brown ones worked the best so, I just stopped using the red casings.
Another way is with a digital gram scale. 1 ounce = 28 grams. 6 oz = 168 grams. 168 ÷ 100 = 1.68 grams per pound.
You will need to inject the hams first. After injecting, then take any leftover brine, and put that with the hams into a tumbler. Then, tumble for 2-3 hours. Hold it overnight in a cooler, and then smoke it the next day!
Thank you Austin, looking forward to try it with my new vacuum tumbler! As the tumbler does not allow for 24 hours of tumble ( dial cannot be set longer than one hour )what is recommended for doing a ham?
If the usage is 6 oz per 100 lb of meat, to recalculate for another batch size, simply divide the additive weight by the meat block weight (6/100) and that equals how much to use per lb of meat (which is 0.06 oz per lb). You can then take the 0.06 oz and multiple that by however many pounds of meat you are making, so if that is 5 lb, then you end up needing 0.3 oz per 5 lb of meat.