Curing Ham and
Home Ham Curing Recipes Dry, Salt Brine and Sugar Curing Methods
ham in some
Italy for example, where making
is as normal to them as home butchering.
Meat curing is a useful skill to lean and part of homesteading and self
sufficient living. There are a number of ways to cure ham, including
dry curing which involves leaving it to cure by air, sugar curing,
or brine curing where you use a lot of salt.
and particularly curing
ham, is not
always easy, and the meat can often spoil when the conditions are not
right, so care must be taken at all steps to be successful in the end
and to make sure that you don't end up making yourself sick!
Because of this, it is easier to experiment with a side of
pork first before you attempt the whole leg of pork as it won't be a
economic disaster if things go wrong.
Also a ham will take longer to
cure and is more difficult as a curing process. Once you get the meat curing
ham will keep for 6 months to a year.
There are 2 methods of
curing ham, one is to dry
cure it where you
rub a salt mixture into the pork and hang it up to dry, and the other
is a wet cure
where you place the pork in either a brine or a pickle
and then hang it up to dry. The dry curing of ham is also called
country style curing
and is a slow method and your meat will keep
longer this way than when cured using the wet cure method.
When curing ham make sure that your pork is not fatty. If you have a
fatty leg you will run the risk of your meat spoiling more easily than
if it is lean. Once you have killed your pigs make sure that the meat
is chilled very quickly to prevent any spoiling taking place before you
start the ham curing process. Once your meat is chilled start the
curing process within 24 hours of slaughter, making sure that the
internal temperature of your meat is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long for Curing Ham?
The salt for air drying
hams will take about 7 days per inch of
thickness to penetrate. Therefore a 14-16 pound ham will be 4-5 inches
thick and will take about 28-35 days to cure. An 18-20 pound ham will
be 5-6 inches thick and will require 35-42 days to cure. A
22-24 pound ham will be 6-7 inches thick and will take 42-49 days to
Recipes for Curing Ham
I am going to give you 4
different recipes for curing ham, all are different but
The first two recipes are
for dry curing of ham and the other recipes are putting the
legs of pork in brine. If you live in a hot climate dry
curing is not a good
idea as your meat will spoil and not be fit for human consumption.
However, if you are going to cure your hams when the weather
is cold, for every day that the temperature reaches freezing point you
should add an extra day to your ham
The other thing is that
these ham curing recipes
call for saltpetre. If you are very lucky you may get
this from either your local chemist or butcher, however it is now a
restrictive substance as it can be used in bomb making. It is also
linked to cancer and carcinogenic. Many people use curing salt as a
substitute and would be a wiser choice all round.
Air-Dry Curing Ham Recipe 1
20lb rock salt
3oz bay leaves
1 1/2 oz garlic
6oz juniper berries
3oz black pepper
Grind all the herbs,
Take 6oz saltpetre and mix well with the 20lb rock salt, then add the
herbs and spices and mix thoroughly.
Wash the hams and dry thoroughly. Put a bed of salt in a container and
lay the hams down, making sure the container has a hole in the bottom
let excess fluid run off, Cover completely with the ingredients and
leave until it is a good color.
After a week, break the pack, re-salt and place the hams skin down.
Cover completely with salt and leave for one month. After a month take
them out, wash thoroughly and tie a piece of good quality cotton twine
around the hocks. Hang them up to mature for a week.
After a week, take them down and insert a long needle into each ham.
Withdraw the needle and smell it. The aroma should smell fresh. If it
does, take a small piece of fat, cover it with pepper and block the
hole up with it; this prevents bacteria invading the ham.The next thing
to do is to put the hams in the smoke house and smoke them using beech,
for about a week. Take out cool, and put them in a cotton bag to
These hams can keep for 12 months. They must be boned out very
carefully and left under a press to compact the shape.
Air-Dry Curing Ham Recipe 2
30lb bay salt
4oz black pepper
1 pint white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
When dry curing ham
cover the hams
completely with a layer of salt for 3 days. Once all the
fluid has been removed, apply the curing mixture.
For the cure:
mix together the saltpetre, salt, black pepper and
coriander, Bone out the leg of pork and then apply the ingredients
inside and out. Where you have taken the bone out, put some of the
ingredients in, using 1oz to 1lb and then sew up near the hock to give
a good shape to the ham.
Put the leg in a curing net to keep the shape. Do not hang it up but
lay it down so it does not lose its shape.
Cure for 10 days, then fetch it out and wash it off. Apply the garlic
and wine vinegar to the dry ham and put under a wooden press. Press
into shape and leave for another week or so until it is completely
hard. Take out the ham, rub it with garlic and vinegar and put in a
Hang up in an airy place and leave for about a month. You may
find mold when you remove it from the cloth.
If the mold is white that is fine, just wipe it off with a cloth.
However, if it is black this is not good, Rub it off with some more
vinegar and re-wrap in a clean muslin.
Simple Salt Brine Recipe for Curing Ham
4 gallons water
8 lbs salt
3/4 pound brown sugar
1/4 pound saltpetre
Boil all the ingredients
together for 20 minutes and cool before
pouring it over the meat. Find a large, clean container and
place the meat inside and cover with the brine mixture completely.
Leave it there for 3 weeks, then wash, and dry it off. Cover with a
piece of muslin and hang it up to dry in an airy place.
You can also place it up the chimney and allow it to be smoked from the
smoke from the wood fire if your have a large enough chimney.
Sugar Ham Curing Recipe
This sugar curing ham
is a little different in that you salt up the ham first, and then place
it into a solution that is almost like a pickle concoction. It also
doesn't contain any saltpetre so it is a safer and healthier option.
Take your pork leg and rub it with
salt for 3 consecutive days. Then
submerge your salted pork leg in the following pickle solution for 3
4 gallons water
8 pounds black treacle
2 pounds salt
4 pounds brown sugar
2 oz black pepper
Boil the ingredients for 20 minutes in a large pot, remove from heat
and cool. Submerge your pork leg completely in the solution and leave
it there for 3 weeks.
Take it out, and without washing it, allow it to air-dry slowly.
Old Fashioned Recipe for Curing Ham
For every 100 pounds of meat take 5 pints of good molasses or 5 pounds
of brown sugar, 5 ounces saltpetre, 8 pounds of rock salt and add 3
gallons of water to a pot.
Boil over a gentle heat, removing scum as it rises. Continue boiling
until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
With the meat cut and trimmed, pack the hams into the cask with the
shank end down. Once the liquid has cooled poor over the hams in the
cask making sure that they are completely covered.
The hams can lie in the pickle 2 - 6 weeks depending on the size of the
hams, the time of the season etc. The warmer the weather, the shorter
This recipe is a good substitute for curing ham rather than
smoking or drying it.
Lifestyles Tip: If you are wanting to make traditional
proscuitto from wild boar, you only use the legs from female boars. The
meat from male boars has an odd smell and therefore not used.
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