Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Make a Ham

Kevin made the leg of his little pig into a ham this weekend, a process that began Friday morning and ended Monday afternoon - a nice weekend project.  

First, of course, he did a lot of research.  In the end, it all came back to Michael Ruhlman and his book, "Charcuterie", to which almost every internet blogger referred when it came to making a ham.  Nothing new there.  So, since Kevin already has the book, he has the recipe and the methods most found useful.  

The weight of the leg of pork determines the brine and the length of time it goes in the smoker.

Kevin made his brine with a little spice and a little sweet, as well as a salt called "Cure #1".  Sodium Nitrite is necessary to make any kind of sausage, bacon or ham.  It is basically mixed with salt dyed pink - pink so you don't mistake it for regular table salt, a mistake which could actually be fatal. Kevin's brine is heating on the stove, right next to Mr. PC, who is cooking up some turkey legs.  (14 minutes!)

It's going to stay in this brine for 60 hours - or two and one half days, the formula being 24 hours for every two pounds of meat.

Half way through he turned it over and checked the progress. 

The cooking/smoking part began on Monday afternoon. The brined leg is tied up so it will cook more evenly, and put on the smoker with some cherry chips.  The meat must get to 165 degrees. 

One of the joys of having to do this at home is the quality time
it offers on the patio.

 Kevin opens the smoker to let me get a picture of the
leg on the grill.  Smokey!

 This should take a few hours.

When the probe reads 165, Kevin deems it Done! 
Looks gorgeous!

He slices into it this morning.  The review?  Moist and flavorful, maybe a little overly smokey, not too salty.  I see a ham sandwich in my future!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing documentation of a fascinating process with an (undoubtedly) tasty result. Thanks!