Ham  Brining 101 (and Bacon)
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Ham  Brining 101 (and Bacon)
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Thread: Ham Brining 101 (and Bacon)

  1. #21
    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.

  2. #22

    Amazing Ham recipe - 22lb ham

    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

  3. #23
    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...

  4. #24

    Thanks

    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...
    Last edited by u06jgg; 10-04-2016 at 05:30 AM.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by u06jgg View Post
    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?
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  6. #26
    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...

  7. #27
    Junior Member rockyballbuster's Avatar
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    Is it OK to brine it, freeze it, and then smoke it later?

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by rockyballbuster View Post
    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).
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  9. #29
    Junior Member rockyballbuster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Richland, Washington, United States, 111920165491909, Richland, Washington
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by TentHunter View Post
    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.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by duongdoanh View 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 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 ).

    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.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

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