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TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:17 PM
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RlGuY09eQa4/UrfBwH6TMbI/AAAAAAAAGJM/3CWpCRT-Yy0/s740/INTRO2.gif


This brining process can be used to make Bacon, Canadian Bacon and Corned Beef, as well as Ham!


Table of Contents

Section 1: Why Brine & What do I need?
Section 2: What's in a Brine - FAQ's about Salt, Sugar & Nitrite Levels
Section 3: Brine & Meat Preparation
Section 4: Injecting & Curing the Ham
Section 5: Smoking & Glazing the Ham


Disclaimer: This project was started about a year ago and is based on my personal experiences, research and feedback from others.

Special Thanks go to my friend Dr. Kevin Galat who has a PhD in chemistry and has done work in the field of microbiology. He is a great source of info.

TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:17 PM
Section 1: Why Brine & What do I need?

► Curing Methods
Curing is a way of preserving meat and gives it that classic cured flavor and pink color we associate with Ham, Bacon, smoked sausage, etc.

Artisan hams, such as Parma & Smithfield, are salted & dry-cured for months, or even years in very strict conditions. Mass-produced hams are machine-injected with a quick-curing brine, and baked in large smoker-ovens. They are rushed and average quality at best.

Brining offers a relatively quick and easy way to make a quality ham at home. It requires very little equipment, and even a few days in the brine improves the "hammy quality" of the flavor and texture!

Two brining methods: We'll use the Pump & Immerse method.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ulMVgmaIPDE/VOIdBIQ2_KI/AAAAAAAAHYs/n1W4eLZ8yrE/s622/HomeCureMthds.gif


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► What's Needed:

√ Some basic equipment,
√ A fresh cut of Pork (preferably a leg cut),
√ Brine Recipe/Ingredients: Water, Salt, Sugar & Curing Salt #1.


Equipment: Chances are you already have these items:

A syringe type meat injector,
A thermometer - to check/monitor the Ham's internal temperature.
A food-safe, lidded container, or brining bag big enough to hold your ham and between 1½ - 3 gallons of brine. Keep in mind, it will need to fit in your refrigerator.
A Grill/Smoker

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AxrzT0rjpHo/UrBt7y7ypVI/AAAAAAAAGBw/9s685eqwgm8/s302/INJECTOR.JPG


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Which cut of pork to use:

Recommended Cuts & Typical Weights:
Fresh Ham cuts can be purchased as whole, or half cuts. You may need to seek out a butcher to find them.

Whole Ham (often labeled as "Pork Leg) 15 - 26 lbs.
Ham Butt End 8- 13 lbs
Ham Shank End 8- 13 lbs
Picnic Ham (Shoulder) 7 to 11 lbs.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-TRjzuBPT2LM/UrmjOYfjxYI/AAAAAAAAGOY/fHjpo9t5WVA/s740/PORKLEG2.gif

Picnic Hams are a great option, especially if you have trouble finding an actual Fresh Ham cut. They're
easier to find, economical, and easy to handle, making them ideal for the average do-it-yourself-er.
I tend to use Picnic Hams more often than actual ham cuts.

Picnic Hams look just like a Ham Shank Half when done
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-oGLHUHyZ6Jk/UpDW3UM3ULI/AAAAAAAAFo8/sd2V5vSDfRY/s400/JTHAM06.JPG


Other Options:

Boston Butt (boneless) - Can be used for: Boneless style ham, or Buckboard Bacon (butterfly into two thinner sections).
Pork Loin (boneless) - Can be used for: Canadian Bacon, Peameal Bacon, or Kasseler Ham (Germany). It's an easy-to-slice ham for sandwich meat.
Pork Sirloin Roast - would make a great cut to cure into a small ham.


Make sure it's Fresh!
Whichever cut you choose, be sure it is labeled "Fresh," meaning a cut that's NOT been cooked or cured.
Avoid cuts labeled "Enhanced with a solution..."
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-J3hXQfmtNzE/UpDOsEujl_I/AAAAAAAAFos/7klzCgXvjEM/s400/FreshLabel.JPG

TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:18 PM
Section 2: What's in a Brine?
FAQ's about Salt, Sugar & Nitrite Levels
Note: This section packs a lot of info and is intended for people who want to know how a brine is formulated. If you'd rather just follow a recipe, then feel free to move on to Section 3 where I give a basic brine recipe.


So, what's in a brine? A typical curing brine contains: Water, Salt, Sugar, Nitrite Cure, & sometimes Other Flavorings.

The three important factors are:

Brine Strength
Sugar Level
Nitrite Level

Once you understand these, you'll be able to customize your own brine recipes that are safe and taste the way YOU want!

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Salt Sense - Which kind of Salt should I use?

Non-iodized table Salt & Sea Salt: Not ideal! Contains anti-caking agents and/or impurities.
Kosher Salt: Good choice - Pure & clean tasting with no additives. Varies in size, so it should be weighed and not measured.
Pickling salt: Best choice! - Inexpensive, made for brining, measures/weighs consistently, AND...
...it's a Kosher product - NO impurities!
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-4_Ezcw8WTM8/UYEUqbq5vFI/AAAAAAAAE1Q/O5Hkog59mI4/s300/PCLGSALT.JPG


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Brine Strength (Salinity) - How Much Salt should I use?

Brine strength is determined, for the most part, by how salty you like your ham.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-iRinXMzxgiI/VOII7GRV3YI/AAAAAAAAHXY/WyKooyppugE/s670/SALINITY.gif

How accurate do I need to be?
Weighing is more accurate, but if you use pickling salt and measure according to the chart above, then you will be fine! A little more or less salt in the brine won't make a noticeable difference in your ham.


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Sugar Level (Sweetness)
Sugar cuts the harshness of salt & adds favor. It doesn't affect curing, so how much you use is purely a matter of taste & the type of ham being made. Any natural, water soluble sweetener will work:

Granulated Sugar - provides a non-descript sweetness.
Brown Sugar - Probably my overall favorite. It's cheap with a nice hint of molasses. The darker it is - the more molasses it contains.
Honey Self explanatory!
Maple Syrup Definitely not cheap! If you love Maple (like I do), then consider using regular Sugar + Maple Flavoring.

Sweeteners can vary quite a bit by weight, but FORTUNATELY most of them have similar sweetness levels when measured. The one exception is Powdered Dextrose, which is only 70% as sweet as regular sugar.

Basic guide to sweetness level & weight to measure conversion:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UqJtCQt3fsA/UroQ8H_XImI/AAAAAAAAGQI/mqEIJ3lYAIc/s560/SUGARLVL.gif



https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Nitrite Curing Salt
Nitrite's role in curing is important. Besides preventing botulism, it helps develop the color and flavor we desire, and keeps fat from turning rancid.

Which curing salt should I use?
Cure #1 is the best choice for our purpose.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-06GpvcG6HpE/UroQ6-vrOXI/AAAAAAAAGP8/_TXHzFOSaB8/s683/CURECOMP.gif
Note: Cure #1 & Tender Quick are NOT interchangeable; Do NOT use Tender Quick in recipes calling for Cure #1!

Common Brands of Cure #1: Prague Powder #1, DQ Cure #1, Insta Cure #1.
The brand is not important, so long as it contains 6.25% sodium Nitrite.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-e_ZpzITfL0A/VOPLpgy1kiI/AAAAAAAAHac/iL6RQKimHqA/s512/CURE%25231.JPG
Curing salt is typically pink in color, so it's not confused it with regular salt.



https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Nitrite Levels - How much Cure #1 should I use?

USDA policy requires between 120 - 200 Parts Per Million of "ingoing nitrite" for brine-cured meat.
USDA Processing Inspectors Handbook, Pg 12 (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf)

So, 120 PPM is our goal, but how do we achieve that?

► First off, the popular "1 tsp per 5 lbs meat" rule CANNOT be used for brining!!!
► The Pump Rate (how much you inject, per lb of meat) determines how much nitrite you need per gallon.

Pick your pump rate based on how long you want the ham to cure in the brine: 10% 6-10 days; 20% 4-7 days; 30% (max) 3-5 days (I prefer a 20% or 30% pump rate).
The more brine you inject, the less nitrite you need per gallon of brine, because you're pumping more into the ham.
Example:a 10% pump (10% of the ham's weight) is easy to inject, but a 20% pump uses 50% less nitrite in the brine, because you're injecting twice as much.


► So, we need to calculate based on the Pump Rate...
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UOW0c-pUqpw/VOPKAlHpa5I/AAAAAAAAHaM/KndnvnKPoeE/s648/CureCalc.gif

and based on that calculation we get:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-o2hQG3PfMGU/VOOi1Sg_x4I/AAAAAAAAHZg/Pc1THYXp_ys/s648/CUREPGAL.gif


Q: Does injecting more brine affect salt & sugar levels too?
A: Not really... The nitrite get's locked in, but given at least a few days, the higher salt & sugar levels in the ham will push their way out until they equalize with the rest of the brine.


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Other Flavorings
Besides sweeteners, you may want to add other flavors to your Ham. Some common flavor ingredients:

Pickling Spice - used for corning beef and works well with Hams too.
Allspice Berries - Gives a classic Holiday Ham flavor of cinnamon, clove, & nutmeg.
Juniper Berries, Coriander seeds, Peppercorns - German style Ham & Bacon


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
►Customizing Recipes
The tables above will make it easy to customize recipes to suit your needs.

Examples:
► If a recipe is too salty or sweet for your tastes, use the "Brine Strength" or "Sweetness Level" charts to adjust the levels to your liking.

► If you like a recipe, but want to inject at a 30% rate instead of 10% - in that case you would leave salt & sugar levels alone and adjust ONLY the amount of Cure #1, according to the "Cure #1 per Gallon" table.

► To build a recipe from Scratch:

1) Pick your Salt level,
2) Pick your Sugar level & Sweetener,
3) Pick your pump rate (10% or 30%) & add the appropriate amount of Cure #1,
4) Add other flavorings as you like,

...and CONGRATULATIONS! You have just customized your own ham brine!

TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:23 PM
Section 3: Brine & Meat Preparation

Once you have your brine recipe, you can begin the process of mixing the brine & curing the Ham.

Here's my basic Brown Sugar Ham Brine recipe. Feel free to use it or create your own (see section 2).

For a 20% injection:
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-g7vjWVI0Xes/VJdMFWfoY0I/AAAAAAAAHNo/WOensf3ON6U/s515/BrineRecipe20.gif

For a 30% injection:
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-JsQqaFAVcaM/VJdMFuiNIfI/AAAAAAAAHNs/UF27LsW9SWc/s515/BrineRecipe30.gif


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► How much Brine do I need?
There is no hard & fast rule. As long as the ham can be injected and then submerged with plenty of room to move, IT WILL WORK!!!

How is this possible? Equalization! The salt/sugar in the brine & ham move in & out until they reach a state of equilibrium. A ham soaked in a 5% brine will NEVER reach more than 5%, no matter how much brine is used.

Here's a rough guide to how much brine you'll need:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yABNi09KcCA/UroQ4htDxzI/AAAAAAAAGPQ/b2k3qOxHZuc/s524/BRINEVOL.gif
My normal batch is 1 1/2 gallons for a 10 lb picnic ham, or 10 - 12 lbs bacon.

Graduated mixing pails (found in paint depts.) are cheap, and make measuring water and brine easy.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-gYb5jB2CkZM/Uq6H_kcTWLI/AAAAAAAAF_g/H5urXXM9lN8/s500/PAILS.JPG


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Water & Spice Prep

Water
Unfiltered tap water MUST be boiled for at least 5 minutes to kill any pathogens and remove chlorine. Allow it to cool to room temp, THEN measure and mix the brine.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT add nitrite cure until AFTER the water has cooled!

I like to use distilled or filtered water. It's cheap, there's no off tastes (chlorine, sulfur, etc.) and you don't have to boil it!


Spice Prep - Flavoring the Brine
If you're adding any spices to your brine, simmer them in a small pan of water first, then allow it to cool while the spices steep and release their flavors. When mixing the brine, add the spices & Spice-liquid making sure to count it as part of the water to be used when measuring.

The brine will be infused with the spice flavors, which go deep into the ham when you inject!
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-2yKdgw1eSkY/Uq0-xyuDQeI/AAAAAAAAF9s/B6y3U6B8KSg/s500/SpiceTea.JPG


►Mixing the Brine

Measure the water into a non-reactive container large enough to vigorously stir without making a mess. A stainless steel stock pot works really well for this!
Carefully measure and add the Sugar, Salt & Nitrite Cure
Stir until all the salts & sugars are dissolved.

At first the brine may look cloudy with foam on top. This is normal and will clear up!
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N0g5pblTS8s/Uq6cr9SpbkI/AAAAAAAAGAQ/1-KbyWKdayA/s300/15LBHH04.JPG

Place the brine in the refrigerator to start chilling while you prep the ham.



https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
►Meat Prep
Before Brining can begin, there's a little meat prep that needs to be done.

Skin/Rind - If the skin is still on the ham, it should be removed or it will make injecting difficult and will affect brining & smoke absorption.

This task will require a very sharp thin bladed knife such as filet or boning knife. Start at a corner and make an incision just under the skin. Continue carefully slicing along the underside of the skin as you peel it back with your other hand. A paper towel can help grip the slippery skin.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BwBslJZtUFQ/UpDW3R6BhYI/AAAAAAAAFo8/PTJ9ULjcTgw/s600/JTHAM01.JPG
Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect; it won't matter once it's smoked.

Fat - Trim the fat as you see fit. I like to trim most of it off, leaving a thin layer.


Aitch Bone (hip bone) - If you purchased a Butt Half or Whole Ham look at the rump end and you should see an oblong bone that looks similar to the bone in a Pork Butt. This is the Aitch (or hip) bone and should be removed, otherwise injecting and slicing this end of the ham will be difficult.

Locate the bone by feel, then using a sharp boning or filet knife, CAREFULLY cut around the entire back side of the bone plate to expose the ball & socket joint. Then slice all the way around and through the ligament holding it together. You may need to pull or twist the bone to separate the joint.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Ezh0fkJIgMk/UrM4zw9vxFI/AAAAAAAAGEA/xNiZVekHE9Q/s640/Aitchbone.JPG

Tip: Leave the meat on this bone and DON'T throw it away! Stick it in the brine to cure, then smoke it along side the ham to use it in a pot of beans. Delicious!


Now you're ready to start brining!

TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:23 PM
Section 4: Injecting & Curing the Ham

► Measuring the Brine

To measure out the amount of brine to be injected, you need to know:

1) The ham's weight,
2) The Pump Rate (how much to inject per lb of meat).

If you followed section 2 and made your own brine recipe, then you will already know what your Pump Rate is, otherwise follow the recipe's directions. It will say something like, "Pump to 10% of the ham's weight," or "...use a 20% pump."


If weighing your brine, use this formula: Ham's Weight X Pump Rate = How much Brine to inject
If you don't have scales, fortunately 1 liq. oz of brine weighs approximately 1 oz, so...
use this formula: Ham's Weight X Pump Rate X 16 = How many liquid oz to inject
or... just follow the table below.


https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-X08bUiLnccI/VJXoHBhEopI/AAAAAAAAHMI/LKlpqVpB5rU/s520/PumpRate2.gif
Put the rest of the brine back in the refrigerator to keep it cold.


Injecting

• You will need a syringe type injector, and a tub to hold the ham and catch brine while you inject.
• Be sure to inject thoroughly around the bones to prevent bone souring! After that, inject as evenly as possible throughout the rest of the ham.
• If a little brine seeps out, that's OK. If a lot seeps out, collect and re-inject it.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-uY7wWZXA7jg/Upo7GebCazI/AAAAAAAAFvM/JZ8VU-xcpO8/s400/INJECT.JPG


https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Curing the Ham

After injecting, the ham is now ready to be immersed and begin the curing process. During this time the salt & sugar will equalize throughout the ham, and it will take on its characteristic color, texture and flavor.

Place the ham in it's brining container and add the remainder of the brine making sure the ham is completely submerged. Use a small heavy plate to weigh it down if necessary.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OJ0pQPp4vpE/Upo7GoVMA1I/AAAAAAAAFvQ/aYdMf2fDydg/s600/IN_BRINE.JPG


For larger hams, a brining bag is a good option. Be sure to put it in a container just in case the bag leaks!
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vlNnmnaUquQ/Upo7Fi8YdUI/AAAAAAAAFu4/tBc8lsRN_Hc/s400/BRINEBAG.JPG


Place the covered container is the refrigerator and cure at the following rate:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-yx5QnUTw_50/VJdWbPzCQcI/AAAAAAAAHN8/M3RzYRcX2AE/s529/CureRate.gif



https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-N5q6KYfKcQ8/Up9tpdR4c0I/AAAAAAAAFzI/m47I52D6LAA/s739/HORZRULE.GIF
► Other Uses
Don't forget you can use this method to cure other meats such as:
Bacon, Canadian & Buckboard Bacon or Corned Beef.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VV9q1YTtAos/Urjb9SRmAhI/AAAAAAAAGOE/B3Snq8wYmF0/s636/OTHERUSE.JPG

TentHunter
12-19-2013, 09:24 PM
Section 5: Smoking & Glazing the Ham
Now that the Ham is cured, there's just a couple final steps before it's ready to be smoked.

► Pre-Smoke Prep

Drying & Pellicle Formation
Remove the Ham from the brine, place it a wire rack and discard the brine. NEVER re-use brine!

Pat the ham off with some paper towels and let it air dry near a fan or under the hood of your stove with the fan running until it feels tacky to the touch. The tacky film that forms is a layer of proteins called the pellicle. It allows smoke stick to your ham. There's no minimum time frame for drying; as long as it feels tacky, smoke will stick to it.

Scoring & Seasoning (optional)
Scoring a cross-hatch pattern into the fatty side of the ham can add a nice look and cover up imperfections.

If you season the ham, I think it's best to keep it very simple. Here are a couple of ideas:

A coating of Fine Black pepper, instead of a glaze, works well and gives an old world look.
A sprinkling of course ground Allspice (my favorite) works simple and will work with most glazes. I use an inexpensive pepper grinder to grind the allspice berries over the ham.
Here's a classic: Score a crosshatch pattern and spike the sections with cloves.

This ham has been scored & seasoned with Allspice.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nNwu6p94LUU/Urh4y3O7JDI/AAAAAAAAGLU/jyDizR-n9Xc/s640/SCORED.JPG


Ham Netting (optional)
Ham Netting can be used if you prefer to hang your hang. This requires a smoker tall enough for hanging.
Be sure to get netting made for the temperatures you plan to use! Cotton works for cooking & smoking.


► Smoking Methods
And finally... the ham is ready to be smoked! The only thing left is to decide how you're going to smoke it.

Any of these methods will work and trust me, they all yield delicious results.
Which one you choose depends upon how much smoke you want versus time constraints.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5Tfa3_dAai0/Ur5KUB_SS9I/AAAAAAAAGU4/nU7XMzIBhxc/s626/SMOKMTHD.gif

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Ua98YKxv1hE/Urhk-cCaV8I/AAAAAAAAGKo/Wi54OVnk1BA/s626/SMOKTMPS.gif


Making Cold Smoke
If you don't have a smoker than can produce cold smoke (below 100° F), here are a couple of easy options that will work for almost any grill:

A-MAZE-N Products offers a few different devices designed to give cold smoke using pellets or sawdust.
The A-Maze-N Pellet Tube will provide up to 6 hours of cold smoke using pellets.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-z-1wLeQpjig/UYbq1tsVZrI/AAAAAAAAE58/a11a5nVxCgg/s500/BACON06.JPG

Another easy option is to put a dry chunk of wood on top of 4 - 6 lit charcoal briquettes (do NOT soak the wood). This can provide 2 - 3 hours of good clean cold smoke.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Mj4dNnUMkrE/UrZnI19JxNI/AAAAAAAAGGo/S7KkSfP-b94/s500/JTHAM03.JPG



► Glazing
Glazing your Ham adds a touch of sweetness and a nice sheen. It's totally optional, but to me the glaze is the Pièce de résistance; that final touch that takes your ham to the "Wow" level!

I like to start glazing when the Ham's internal temp reaches about 140° or so; any sooner and the glaze will most likely burn. Brush it on every 15 - 30 minutes until the ham reaches 165°.

My two favorite glazes:

Brown Sugar & Pineapple juice
Maple Syrup.

A few other glaze ideas:

Brown Sugar & almost any fruit juice (Orange, Apple, etc.)
Brown sugar, allspice & a bit of water.
Cola, simmered & reduced.
Honey thinned with just a little water.
Maple & Brown sugar
Maple Syrup or honey with just a touch of a cayenne - Killer!
Brown Sugar & Bourbon or Rum

Mix your glaze ingredients in a small pan & simmer, stirring until it's a syrup-like consistency.


► Finish Temp
Once your ham has reached an I.T. of 165°, the ham is finished cooking and can be pulled from the smoker/oven and allowed to rest before slicing.


► The Hardest Part - Resting the Ham!
The smell of your ham wafting through your house is going to make you and your guests hungry. LET IT!!! After all your work, don't mess up now by slicing it too soon; let it rest for at least 30 - 45 minutes! This allows time for the fibers to relax so the ham is tender and stays juicy when you slice it.


Enjoy your ham and all the accolades that go along with it. I promise, once you cure & smoke your own ham, you'll never want to buy a mass-produced-store-bought ham again!

Thanks, and I hope you find this useful!

Cliff

TrickyDick
12-21-2013, 02:10 PM
WOW! Really nice job Cliff!
Thanks!
TD

Tailback
06-02-2014, 03:19 PM
You really made a top notch post here. I've been on a leave of absence from this board for awhile, now that Summer is here I'm back!

I was going to make a ham for this Easter, but then all the relatives decided to go to California and leave us stranded. Next time I do a ham I'll definitely come back to this post for advice.

octanejunkie
12-02-2014, 06:54 AM
Great thread!

I read and followed your instructions to the letter and produced a wonderfully brined, smoked ham for thanksgiving!

Moving on to brining other cuts now (like loin, shoulder, chops, etc) any advice re brining times for smaller cuts?

Basher
01-12-2015, 02:48 PM
Does anybody have the rate for how long you do the brine. The rate (picture) is no longer here. Thanks

TentHunter
01-12-2015, 06:21 PM
Does anybody have the rate for how long you do the brine. The rate (picture) is no longer here. Thanks

Sorry about that. Check it now... I am doing some updating to include a 20% pump rate and to clarify a few things better.

TentHunter
02-13-2015, 04:59 PM
I've just completed some updates to this tutorial, which include:

► Updated some photos.
► Update charts (by request) to include info on a 20% pump rate.
► Reworded some sections (such as "How much Cure#1 to use") to hopefully make them easier to understand.

Thanks for your continued feedback, and enjoy! :)

Cliff

maojn
04-14-2015, 07:29 AM
Hi,

Thank you for such a wonderful article. I learned a lot from you!

I have a couple questions hopefully you can help me with them.

If I have a boston ham that's about 2 inches thick and want to use 30% flow rate, how long should I cure it? I don't know if it matters but I do not plan to use nitrite.

If I don't want to smoke the ham, I just want to use regular oven to roast it, what temperature would you recommend to set? I do plan to glaze the ham with honey, when should I apply honey then?

Thank you very much for your time!

TentHunter
04-14-2015, 09:48 AM
First thanks for your kind words!

Now, my first question would be why not use the nitrite? The nitrite is part of what's responsible for the hammy flavor we associate with ham.

Second, if you don't use nitrite, then DO NOT attempt to cold smoke it (I know you said you'll be using your oven but I just want to make it clear that uncured meat should not be cold-smoked).


As far as how long to cure it, if you do a 30% injection then 3 - 5 days will be sufficient, but since you plan on not using nitrite, you may want to go 7 - 10 days, to give a little longer for the salt to have a curing effect. Just be aware that the ham won't be as deep of a pink as using Nitrite, if it stays pink at all.


Roasting temp: Since you're not worried about smoke absorption, there is no need for a very low temperature, so I'd go ahead and roast it at around 275° until you reach an internal temperature of around 160° - 165°.


On that piece, in a 275° oven, I'd start glazing around 135° - 145° every 10 - 15 minutes until done.

Try and get some pics to share with us! :)

Crys
07-12-2015, 09:46 AM
Very informative guide thank you for posting it. I've wet cured buckboard bacon before, but a ham will be my first ever foray into injecting meat. Do you know of any place which gives a good guide on the injection process? I've neither done it nor even ever seen it done before.

Crys
07-13-2015, 12:18 PM
Am I correct in my math that I would need approximately 3.62 grams of cure #1 for 1/2 gallon of brine when not injecting?

Edit: This is specifically in regards to curing a (relatively thin) slab for bacon.

Salmonsmoker
07-14-2015, 07:56 AM
Crys,
Do you have any books on curing and sausage making? If not, they are very handy to have for quick answers to questions you might have. Several that I have are "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas and "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman and Polcyn. There are many others in book form and online. If this is new territory for you, studying up on the process of curing and the reasons for it would be a wise endeavor. The Kutas book has a whole section on this. It's available at The Sausage Maker, Inc. | Sausage Stuffers, Meat Grinders, Smokers, and More! (http://www.sausagemaker.com).

Crys
07-14-2015, 10:26 AM
I'd rather not spend 30 dollars on a book for just one section of it and I know I'm not going to be making sausages. TentHunter's post is the most complete explanation of wet brining that I've ever read and I do understand it. Its just that I have limited room in my refrigerator for curing meat so I usually use ziploc bags which will not fit a gallon of brine plus meat therefore I need to cut down the liquid brine amount by a great deal.

Therefore my question is two fold - how does cutting down on the amount of brine (by 1/2 or even down to 1/4) affect the curing process and if you don't inject do you simply omit the last division in the equation (this is specifically in relation to the amount of cure)?

Edit: Ah the answer to one of my questions was actually over in dry vs wet curing and the answer is you need to keep 1 part brine per 2 parts meat by weight. Thus with the 6 lb piece of shoulder I have I need to have at least 3 lbs of brine.

Also of note is the comment that pump injecting brine will affect quality for bacon.

TentHunter
07-14-2015, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the kind words!

That note for Pump-injecting bacon (in the wet-cure versus dry cure), really refers more to the quick pumping and curing used by the large commercial bacon makers who pump and smoke the bacon all in a single day. Just like a commercially produced ham, it just doesn't allow time for a really good cured flavor to develop.


Pump injecting bacon (just like a ham) then putting it in the brine to allow flavor to develop for at least 3 - 5 days is fine. Just like a ham, it gets brine into the center of the bacon quicker which allows the curing process to start sooner.

The same formulas/recipes I give for the ham will also work for bacon, because the target ingoing nitrite level for bacon is 120 ppm.

Hope this makes sense!




Hope this makes sense.

Crys
07-14-2015, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the kind words!

That note for Pump-injecting bacon (in the wet-cure versus dry cure), really refers more to the quick pumping and curing used by the large commercial bacon makers who pump and smoke the bacon all in a single day. Just like a commercially produced ham, it just doesn't allow time for a really good cured flavor to develop.

Your welcome and I meant it that this is the most complete explanation of wet curing that I've ever read. Also curing and smoking in one day...that does explain alot about the taste of most commercial bacon's.

So if I don't inject for any reason would I simply omit the last division? I actually put in the bacon to cure tonight using 3 quarts of brine (2 distilled water and 1 apple cider) for just under 10 lbs of shoulder butt with 5.45g of cure #1. (Yes I have a scale that measures out to 0.01g, same one I use to measure out ferts for my fish tank) From memory I used 210g of kosher salt and 230g of dark brown sugar.

jaywalker
11-24-2015, 10:55 AM
Hello everyone, I've trolled for awhile. If i could get a little clarification on one thing. If I smoke the ham to 150 and put it in the fridge for a couple of days as described and roast it in the oven do I then take it to 165 or do I consider it a fully cooked ham and heat it like it were a bought precooked ham. Thanks, Jay.

Huey
12-02-2015, 09:01 PM
Hello,
first I wanted to thank the author of this thread. This was my first venture curing/brining a ham and learned almost everything I needed from this post. I wanted to share the process/recipe I followed, since I was doing a rather large bone-in ham and wasn't really finding specific answers I needed for a ham that large, so I kind of had to extrapolate all the info and hope it worked out.

First: I removed all the skin and fat cap from the ham. Along with the aitch bone.
Second: Injected the ham with the calculated amount of brine based on 10% pump
Third: placed ham in brine solution and left in refrigerator for 10 days.
Fourth: Using my Pellet Smoker, set temperature to 160-190 (it was a very cold night so the grill temp fluctuated quite a bit), and smoked until ham reached 160. took about 16 hours. reminder this was a 22lb ham and was 6-7 inches thick. definitely noticed the stall, it sat at 140 for about 7 hours.

Here is bit more specifics about the recipe I used. (All this was calculated from the formulas I got off this thread).

I ended up needing 3 gallons of brine to completely submerge ham. Also, used a brining bag to prevent having to make 5-6 gallons of brine.

Brine recipe for 1 Gallon of brine:
1 Gallon distilled water (i was too lazy to boil it and wait for it to cool).
1.5 cups salt (used canning and pickling salt)
1.5 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons of curing salt (make sure to order ahead of time from internet, I ended up having to go to Williams and Sonoma and paid WAY too much for the amount I needed).

I followed the formulas for the 10% pump since I had about 10 days til I was planning to serve it and that seemed the most fitting. From what I deciphered, I injected approximately a little more than a half gallon. the formula gave me an exact number, but it was close to a half gallon.

When it came to figuring out how long it was going to take to smoke, I was completely in the dark. But I kept reading how you could bake it at 325 for a few hours or slow smoke it at <200. So I just took the mindset, that I slow smoke overnight and then in the morning assess it and alter from there. Worst case, if I was three hours from dinner time, and not close to finished, I would just take off smoker and finish it in the oven at 325-350. I gambled that 8 hours at 180 would not bring it to 160. I was definitely correct. I think it was at like 130 when I woke up. then stall kicked in and it sat at 140 for 5-7 hours, finally breaking free and then rose to 160 in the final two hours. (though I think I did crank the temp up to 225-250.

So after all that...HAM WAS AMAZING!!! juicy perfectly cooked, great consistent flavor throughout, not overly smoky. was a bit salty for my taste, but not for everyone at the party. I'm going to be doing another ham in a week or so and this time I'll have less time to brine it, so I'm hoping a few adjustements to calculations and some tweaks to the saltiness level and I think I'll have another great ham.

sorry for the long post. And thanks again for all the great info.

Huey

sslemos
12-15-2015, 01:09 PM
HELP!! I just picked up a 24 1/2lb green ham for xmas and I'm overwhelmed by all the info on this page. Could someone please let me know how long I should brine this baby for? I'm shooting for average salt level and distinct sweetness. I'm so worried I'm going to screw this up because I was expecting a 14lb ham...I have the salts, brining bags and food grade pail but no injector...

u06jgg
10-04-2016, 05:23 AM
Thank you Cliff for a brilliant post.

As a relatively new small holder, I just slaughtered my first pig and had the whole thing to deal with. It was absolute carnage taking 4 days flat out to fully process. I could not find a definitive approach to getting the ham right, despite having a book or two on Polish sausages there was no mention of whole meat products. Yes I should have been better prepared but its amazing how the deadlines for one project after another rush up.

Convincing myself that juicy pink ham would come out the smoker at the end, and not dry (or raw) roast pork was my main concern, and your post, while not putting my fears to rest certainly gave me answers to all my questions in 1 place and made me feel like I had a fighting chance. So thanks. It really helped.

And the results... more than half of my pig has been smoked to become various forms of ham/bacon/sausages and boczek. I have a Polish connection so much of what I did was in the Polish style and will be eaten as sandwich ham. Including smoked loins (Sopocka) which are incredible.

Everything worked perfectly except my biggest ham which was boned and rolled, injected and wet cured. It came out the smoker with an uncured spot in the center. Given that this was my own pig, I really am loathe to throw it away. It is currently residing in my freezer. Please someone tell me I can eat this. Pretty sure my Polish connection will eat it anyway...

TentHunter
10-04-2016, 09:10 PM
Thank you Cliff for a brilliant post.


Everything worked perfectly except my biggest ham which was boned and rolled, injected and wet cured. It came out the smoker with an uncured spot in the center. Given that this was my own pig, I really am loathe to throw it away. It is currently residing in my freezer. Please someone tell me I can eat this. Pretty sure my Polish connection will eat it anyway...


First, Thank YOU for the kind words, and I'm glad you found it helpful!

Second, yes, as long as that uncured spot was cooked, it should be absolutely fine. It just won't be cured like the rest of it, so you will need to follow regular safety precautions like you would any other pork cut that's not cured.



Did you get any pics to show how it turned out?

duongdoanh
10-08-2016, 07:01 AM
Thank you Cliff for a brilliant post.

As a relatively new small holder, I just slaughtered my first pig and had the whole thing to deal with. It was absolute carnage taking 4 days flat out to fully process. I could not find a definitive approach to getting the ham right, despite having a book or two on Polish sausages there was no mention of whole meat products. Yes I should have been better prepared but its amazing how the deadlines for one project after another rush up.

Convincing myself that juicy pink ham would come out the smoker at the end, and not dry (or raw) roast pork was my main concern, and your post, while not putting my fears to rest certainly gave me answers to all my questions in 1 place and made me feel like I had a fighting chance. So thanks. It really helped.

And the results... more than half of my pig has been smoked to become various forms of ham/bacon/sausages and boczek. I have a Polish connection so much of what I did was in the Polish style and will be eaten as sandwich ham. Including smoked loins (Sopocka) which are incredible.

Everything worked perfectly except my biggest ham which was boned and rolled, injected and wet cured. It came out the smoker with an uncured spot in the center. Given that this was my own pig, I really am loathe to throw it away. It is currently residing in my freezer. Please someone tell me I can eat this. Pretty sure my Polish connection will eat it anyway...

rockyballbuster
12-23-2017, 01:56 PM
Is it OK to brine it, freeze it, and then smoke it later?

TentHunter
12-24-2017, 05:43 AM
Is it OK to brine it, freeze it, and then smoke it later?

I don't see why not, but personally I would smoke it to 150° then freeze it. That way it's considered fully cooked (just like the hams you buy in the grocery store).

rockyballbuster
12-24-2017, 12:40 PM
I don't see why not, but personally I would smoke it to 150° then freeze it. That way it's considered fully cooked (just like the hams you buy in the grocery store).

Thanks for the quick reply. That makes sense. My concern is that the first cook could be a bit difficult to time without any uncertainty for a gathering.

TentHunter
12-25-2017, 04:09 AM
Everything worked perfectly except my biggest ham which was boned and rolled, injected and wet cured. It came out the smoker with an uncured spot in the center. Given that this was my own pig, I really am loathe to throw it away. It is currently residing in my freezer. Please someone tell me I can eat this. Pretty sure my Polish connection will eat it anyway...

First, Thank you for your kind words. I could swear I replied to this post last year, and am not sure what happened. Perhaps I got sidetracked and didn't click the "Post Reply" button (Lord knows it wouldn't be the first time :rolleyes:).

I am glad you found the info useful.


On to your question:

Yes, even though the non-pink parts indicate an incomplete cure, in most cases if this happens the roast/ham is still perfectly fine to eat, provided it was heated to safe food temperatures, and was not spoiled to begin with. The uncured (non-pink) parts will be more like a regular pork roast, instead of being hammy. Those areas are also more prone to spoilage, so eat those sections sooner rather than later!

The only way it wouldn't have been okay is if you'd used a weak brine (not enough salt), and left the roast in the brine for an extended period, increasing the chance of bone sour and/or spoilage. Based on what you posted, I doubt that was the case.

Smokerguy
03-17-2018, 03:29 PM
I hope this thread is still monitored, as I don't want to screw up my easter ham. I followed the directions the best I could, and triple checked my math, but in the end I felt like I added waaaaay to much pink salt than necessary. (I am using PP#1).

Long story short I have an 11.5 LB fresh ham.

The instructions say that with a 10% pump/injection, that the ham should be cured in 6 to 10 days.

I want the ham cured in roughly 12-13 days. As that will leave me with a day or two for a freshwater soak, to knock off a little bit of the salt. So I did the math and decided on a 7.5% injection.

I'm using 1.5 gallons of water. The regular salt and sugar measured out no problem. But on the pink salt, here is my confusion....
According to the charts, it should be 73 grams of pink salt for every gallon of water if you want a 10% injection. If I wanted a 5% injection then that number should be doubled, at 146 grams per gallon. So if I did this right, then 7.5% should be 146 X .75 = 109.5 grams per gallon. So for 1.5 gallons that works out to be 109.5 X 1.5 = 164.25 grams of pink salt for 1.5 gallons of water. When I measured it all out on the scale it looked like a TON of salt. Although that sounds like a lot, and looked like a lot, if I reference this website here - The ham has certainly evolved a long wa (https://www.meatsandsausages.com/hams-other-meats/hams) They are calling for 120G of PP#1 per gallon of brine, so my numbers don't feel that wrong when looking at that, but I don't want to screw this up (or make people sick)

My brine is going to take hours to cool so i'm hoping this thread is still monitored. I would rather throw out my brine and start over vs screwing up a 30 dollar ham. If you guys are still here, thanks so much.

TentHunter
03-19-2018, 07:52 AM
Unfortunately, I was out of town when you posted this. The good news is, based on what you posted, you should be fine and will probably be amazed at just how simple this was and how rewarding the results will be!




Let's take this one step at a time:

First, I'm very familiar with the website you referenced. Their numbers/curing times align with what I give. The main difference is they are shooting for the government max of 200 ppm nitrite, whereas I shoot for the minimum 120 ppm to give some fudge room.

For future reference an extra day or two in the brine at 10% wouldn't have hurt at all. You could also have taken the ham out of the brine and let it equalize in a covered container in the fridge for a day or two. With a 7.5% injection it will just take a little longer for the cure to do its job, and for salt to penetrate, but you should be fine. Hopefully you injected well around the bone, and in the thickest parts of the ham.



For a 7.5% injection the math works like this (reference the chart): 0.000120 x 3778 / .0625 / 0.075 = 96.71g cure #1 per gallon (97 grams or about 16 tsp per gallon).

Your 109g cure #1 per gallon at 7.5& pump will give you approximately 135ppm which is still well within tolerances, so you should be perfectly fine. And THAT is why I like to shoot for 120ppm and not the max 200 ppm! ;)


Soaking:

A two-day fresh-water soak is a long one and may take too much salt out leaving your ham bland tasting. If you followed my recipe (adjusting only the cure #1) I suspect you may not even need a fresh water soak.


HOWEVER... Salt level is a VERY subjective thing and the only way to know for sure is to test it first!

Before doing a soak, or dumping out the brine, slice off a piece, cook it and see how you and your family likes the flavor (salt level). KEEP IN MIND that since you did such a light injection it will be saltier on the outside than it will be near the center!

If it needs more salt put it back in the brine for a couple more days.

If the flavor/salt level is good or just barely too salty, then I would NOT soak it at all. I'd put it in a clean covered container (no brine), in the fridge for a day or so to let the salt equalize throughout the ham.


Only if you think it's WAY too salty would I do a soak, and It would only be for a few hours, then I'd retest and repeat if needed.


After testing just put the ham back into a covered container in the fridge until you're ready to smoke it. It will simply continue to equalize.

Hope this makes sense. Don't hesitate to ask!

Smokerguy
03-19-2018, 10:23 AM
Thank you so much for your response. I guess i'll know in 2 weeks how it came out. I have cured pig belly for bacon before, and I have cured briskets to make both corn beef and pastrami, but I have never cured large ham like this before so I wasn't 100% sure on the salt ratios. I'll come back when it's done with some before and after pictures.

steveastrouk
11-09-2018, 03:06 PM
Just put our second ham down into brine yesterday after the great success of our first, last year. This is a 17 pounder, with a 20% pump, and 120ppm target nitrite.

Am I correct in thinking there is no harm in leaving it in the brine for longer than the suggested time ? It can't get any saltier than the brine its in, and it a 12% solution.

Thanks for answering my first post here !

TentHunter
11-09-2018, 03:17 PM
Just put our second ham down into brine yesterday after the great success of our first, last year. This is a 17 pounder, with a 20% pump, and 120ppm target nitrite.

Am I correct in thinking there is no harm in leaving it in the brine for longer than the suggested time ? It can't get any saltier than the brine its in, and it a 12% solution.

Thanks for answering my first post here !

You are correct! Once equalization has been reached it won't get any more/less salty.

If you can get some pics to post in a thread that'd be super!

steveastrouk
11-10-2018, 04:47 PM
You are correct! Once equalization has been reached it won't get any more/less salty.

If you can get some pics to post in a thread that'd be super!

Will try and do that. Thanks for your help.

Steve

BBQJUDGE
12-09-2018, 07:30 PM
TentHunter, would any of your bacon recipes work for beef navel to make a "kosher" bacon?

TentHunter
12-10-2018, 03:21 PM
TentHunter, would any of your bacon recipes work for beef navel to make a "kosher" bacon?

Yep. Any of them would work to make a Kosher-style bacon from either beef or lamb.


I've done beef bacon, and it was delicious! If you can't find a beef navel labeled as such, find a local butcher who can sell you some untrimmed short ribs. They're from the same area.

BBQJUDGE
12-11-2018, 04:10 PM
Yep. Any of them would work to make a Kosher-style bacon from either beef or lamb.


I've done beef bacon, and it was delicious! If you can't find a beef navel labeled as such, find a local butcher who can sell you some untrimmed short ribs. They're from the same area.

Thanks, Tent! I was wondering how I was going to get my hands on beef navel. I haven't looked yet. I'll keep untrimmed short ribs in mind.

Rathmel
12-22-2018, 06:25 AM
My first attempt turned out salty than I like . Due to a family emergency my ham was in brine for 11 days instead of 7. Would this effect the saltyness or should I just cut back on it. I used 1 1/2 salt 3/4 brown sugar,gal water 2 tbs cure 2 lb venison tip roast. Thank you in advance

Rathmel
12-22-2018, 07:14 AM
My first attempt turned out salty than I like . Due to a family emergency my ham was in brine for 11 days instead of 7. Would this effect the saltyness or should I just cut back on it. I used 1 1/2 salt 3/4 brown sugar,gal water 2 tbs cure 2 lb venison tip roast. Thank you in advance

TentHunter
12-23-2018, 06:01 AM
Yes, leaving the roast in the brine longer may have affected saltiness, especially if your brine was strong. Cut back on the salt to your liking.

Question:
Were the amounts of salt & brown sugar you stated per 1 gallon of water? If so, that's a LOT of salt (double what I use)! Perhaps you got the salt & sugar amounts switched.

Either way, I prefer lower salt, so I actually use around 2/3 cup pickling salt per gallon water (rather than the 3/4 cup I give in the recipe). I have gone as low as 1/2 cup per gallon and it was still fine.


The beauty of wet (or brine) curing is that you can easily control the saltiness to your liking by adjusting the strength (salinity) of the brine and it will work for any size roast/ham/bacon, etc. (within reason of course). This is because you are working off of equalization. If the brine is saltier than the meat, then salt/sugar will continue moving into the meat until they have equalized.

So, once you figure out what salinity level you like, it won't matter if something happens and you have to leave the meat in the brine a few days longer. Once equalization has been reach, the meat won't get any saltier.




Hope this helps!

onionhead
11-21-2019, 01:44 PM
Hi Cliff,
You are the "man" when it comes to makin' bacon! I have read all that I could find on curing bacon and I want to put my MAK 2 through its first cure. However, I have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes, too. Do you have a recommendation (recipe) I could use that has no sugar in it, please? Thank you.

TentHunter
11-23-2019, 07:11 AM
Onionhead, you can simply omit the sugar in any bacon recipe, HOWEVER, the bacon will have a harsher salt taste. It's best to simply cut back on the sugar.


Since I was diagnosed with Diabetes what I've done is basically stuck with two recipes: My low carb/sugar Cider Mill bacon recipe, or the German style which has only enough sugar to balance the harshness of the salt, with no real detectable sweetness.

Either of these recipes will do around 10 - 12 lbs of pork belly, and are both so low in sugar that you really don't have to worry about it!

Low carb/sugar Cider Mill Bacon:

4 Quarts Water
2 Quarts Apple Cider (This is the only source of sugar, which is not much at all.)
1 cup Pickling Salt
6 tsp. Curing Salt #1


Mix the ingredients into a brine. Either submerge in the Brine for 10 - 14 days (rotate/flip every couple days), or inject at a 30% rate and brine for 3 - 5 days. cold/hot smoke as normal. Allow to sit for 48 hours before slicing to allow the smoke to penetrate.

Note: I prefer Applewood smoke for this, as it reinforces the cider and gives a very good deep penetrating smoke that will fill your house with a wonderful aroma when cooking it up!







German Style Bacon or Ham:
Wow is this stuff good - very different from typical American style bacon!

6 Quarts Water
1 cup Pickling Salt
6 tsp. Curing Salt #1
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 TBS whole Peppercorns
4 TBS Juniper Berries - slightly crushed
1 1/2 tsp whole Coriander Seed
2 large or 4 small Bay Leaves


Slightly crush the juniper berries and simmer them, along with the peppercorns, coriander seed and bay leaves, for about 15 minutes in 2 - 3 cups of water. Allow to cool and add this as part of the 6 quarts of water. Mix in the rest of the ingredients into a brine.

Either submerge in the Brine for 10 - 14 days (rotate/flip every couple days), or inject at a 30% rate and brine for 3 - 5 days. cold/hot smoke as normal. Allow to sit for 48 hours before slicing to allow the smoke to penetrate.

Note: Beachwood is a traditional wood of choice for German ham/bacon, but if you can't find beachwood, just use oak.






Best of wishes in dealing with your new lifestyle changes!

onionhead
11-24-2019, 03:22 PM
Thanks Cliff. I will try it both with Apple Cider and no sugar at all. I am not into any sweetness, so I'll see and let you know. Take care.