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Author Topic: Help on my first ham  (Read 6190 times)

Offline Cheech

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Help on my first ham
« on: January 25, 2015, 11:16:13 am »
OK...I went to the butcher last week to pick up supplies for bacon and I got carried away.  Not only did I buy 3x more belly than I normally buy...but they had a HUGE ham that just came in...maybe 18 lbs.  One look at that sweet chunk of succulent potential and I told him I'd take it too.  So I left with 35 lbs of belly and an 18 lb ham. 

I've never done a whole ham but it's been on my "to do" list so there seemed like no better time to strike...the iron was hot.  This is raw, uncured, unsmoked, straight off the pig goodness.  Is this a brine job or a curing job?  Does anyone have a good recipe or instructions for getting this thing done? 

Also, would I be better off breaking the ham down into smaller hams rather than doing the whole leg?


I'll be doing a bunch of research on my own but part of that process is consulting the good folks on this board...the specialists!

Thanks.

Cheech.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 11:34:13 am by Cheech »

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 01:13:09 pm »
Curing ham is quite easy, when you have the refrigerator space and the container to cure it in. It I have the whole leg, I generally will cure and smoke the whole leg, the separate the two after cooking, though often I will have to cut off part of the shank for it to fit into my container. You can separate it before or just after taking it out of the cure. A lot depends on you needs such as space and container size.

You can brine cure with salt only, but you will not get that characteristic ham like flavor that nitrites produce. You can also use a flavor brine, and roast it as a fresh ham.

The below link is my recipe:
Smoked Cured Ham

Here is another recipe; which has instructions if you want a boneless ham.
A Tenpoint5 Ham aka Hamzilla

My next cure ham is going to be prepared gammon style. The main difference is that gammon is cured but not cooked until you are ready to serve it. It can be bone-in or boneless. The skin is left on, then it is generally braised for a while and finished in a hot oven; like a roast


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Offline GusRobin

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 08:35:32 pm »
I have done a 20 lb ham and a 35lb ham using 10.5's hamzilla recipe and both came out excellent.
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Offline Smoker John

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 08:34:39 am »
Need to put this on the gotta try list.
Bradley Digital 4 Rack
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beefmann

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 11:24:29 am »
a good  recipe that i use is

1 Gallon of apple cider
3.8 oz Prague powder  ( by  weight not volume )
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion  powder
1 1/2 cup brown  sugar

mix all together let set,  prepare the ham  shank ..  remove the foam from the  top of  the  cure..  place ham shank in a  large non reactive container ( think  plastic ) and pour cur over  ham, if you   do not  have  enough  make more,...  do the  cure all in one batch to make sure it is mixed thoroughly..

rule of thumb in curing is 1 day per  inch of thickness..1 day = 24 hours and i useally ruin 7 to 8 days on 15 to 18   lbs of  pork  shoulder

Offline Cheech

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 05:36:30 pm »
Thanks Hab.  I'm using your recipe and just got the skin and fat off the ham.  I'll mix up the brine after dinner.  The ham smelled kinda funky...was a little worried about that.  It looks great...nice and pink...but definitely had a bit of a funky smell. 


Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2015, 01:59:32 am »
Was the ham cryovac? A fresh ham shouldn't smell funky, but cryovac meats can develop a sulfur like smell. A simple rinsing, and letting the meat air 5 - 10 minutes, the smell should go away. If it wasn't cryovac, and it had a funky smell; it could be spoiled.

If you have any questions on my procedure on curing ham, don't hesitate to ask.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Cheech

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2015, 03:45:13 pm »
ooohh.  It was not cryovac.  I got it right from the deep freezer at the butcher.  It was wrapped in plastic...but not like vac packed.  He said they had just got it in. 

It seemed like it was the skin that stank.  Once I got all the skin and fat trimmed away the meat looked and smelled pretty good but the film it would leave on your hands still stank. 

Should I cook a small piece prior to smoking?  I'd hate to go through this entire process only to find out the raw meat was bad.

Offline Orion

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 05:43:55 pm »
Cheech, If it was me I would wrap it up and take it back to the butcher or store. Meat should not smell funky period. Skin or no skin. You'de be doing the butcher and yourself a favour by returning it. There is no way I would mess around with meat that smells bad and you have every right to ask for refund or replacement.

If you and family got sick you might never feel enthusiastic about smoking again and that would be bad.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 05:45:46 pm by Orion »
It's going to take a lifetime to smoke all this.

Offline Cheech

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015, 06:15:47 pm »
Thanks Orion...but I think I'm too late to return it.  It's been in the brine for a few days now.  It might be best to jettison at this stage and chalk it up to an education. 

Offline Orion

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 07:14:36 pm »
The fact that you were unsure and brined it does not change the fact that it smelt and smells bad. Don't mean to be pushy however it's just the way I see it. As consumers we pay good money and are entitled to products fit for consumption.

The general rule is if in doubt throw it out.

I'd walk into the shop without the meat ( leave it in trunk) and politely explain that you had doubts from the moment you opened it but went ahead because you are inexperienced and eager to put your smoker to use. Now, having had time to investigate and ponder your families safety realize it might be dangerous to eat it. If the butcher is any good he will refund or replace and you will have a better relationship with him than ever possible. He will respect you and you will respect him, plus you will have a ham that you don't have to wonder about.

Again, it's just how I see it and what I would do. What's the worst he can do... say no and then he's lost you for ever and maybe other customers. I'm sure he's seen this before and won't bat an eye. This world is too small nowadays for retailers to pass bad product.  I always stand up and let them know if there is a problem, with full respect and diplomacy of course. Good luck.
It's going to take a lifetime to smoke all this.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2015, 02:11:32 am »
If it wasn't cryovac, the meat is bad. When curing you want to start with the freshest meat possible. If you start with spoiled meat, you will end up with spoiled cured meat. I would do what Orion has suggested, and return it to the place you purchased it. Maybe call first to explain the problem, so he is not caught off guard at the counter. The meat was mishandled at some stage, so he will probably ask how long you had the ham, and how it was handled since you left the store with it. This will help him zero in to what stage the meat could have been mishandled.



     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Cheech

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2015, 07:45:20 am »
Thanks for the guidance guys.  I'll let the owner know and see where it goes.

Offline Cheech

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2015, 08:55:15 am »
I called him and without hesitation he said "oh man...sorry about that...just bring it back and I'll get your money back to you."

Once again...thanks for the help.

Offline Orion

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Re: Help on my first ham
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2015, 09:03:11 am »
Excellent Cheech! Good to hear.
It's going to take a lifetime to smoke all this.