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. #31
    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 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.

  2. #32
    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!


    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!
    Last edited by TentHunter; 03-19-2018 at 07:58 AM.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
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  3. #33
    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.


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