Now that I’ve got your attention lets make your own Ham for Easter ? This past Christmas I decided to make my own ham instead of paying ridiculously high prices at the supermarket. Traditionally hams are pork butt portions that are cured and smoked but luckily for me I stumbled across a great sale on whole boneless pork loins while I was shopping for Christmas supplies. The price was so good I had to ask the clerk if it was a mistake ,it wasn’t ,I took two ! I would have cleaned them out but budgets being what they are. Now I have a beautiful cut of meat ,How does it become a ham, you ask?
It all starts with the Cure . Normally I would have made a brine cure and soaked it submerged in a pail for 5 days in my fridge, but its Christmas and the fridges are full. Time to get creative, since I wanted to do something special. I went online to check out homemade cures, they all had one thing in common various amounts of “curing salt”. There are a few commercially produced cures out there available online or at your local grocery store. The one I use most is called Tender Quick, It’s very user friendly for the beginner, just read and follow the directions on the pkg. It can be used as a brine or a rub.
After much research, I put together this small batch Cure recipe as a rub:
Home Made Cure – for 2-3 lbs. meat
2/3 cup Sugar ( brown or white)
2 tbls Course salt ( table salt works if its all you have)
1 tbls Cure (tender quick)
1 tsp. Ground Cloves ( experiment with your favourite seasoning, if you like)
At this point you would normally find a nice place to hang and dry your meat, in my case having no place safe I went with a combination cure and didn’t even know it .
After I mixed my cure , took out 1 still frozen pork loin ,carefully opened one end of the bag it came in and rubbed in my cure and placed the loin and all remaining cure back in to the bag to be sealed.
At which point it was placed into one of the crisper drawers in the fridge for a week turning over once a day .This is where the combination curing takes place ,you see as the pork loin defrosts water is released turning the rub into a brine. For this loin you can see I used brown sugar and since I was out of ground cloves I used ground Allspice, like I said experiment with what you know you like. Since I wanted to serve this up for Christmas smoking day is the day before.
Smoking day – very thoroughly rinse the meat in water and place in your smoker for 8 hours at 150*F
Usually I smoke larger quantities , in which case I usually use my good ole reliable homemade fridge smoker and an Oak fire , for small batches like this a pellet smoker or small electric smokers work well . Since the pellet smoker works like a convection oven it is very dry very fast, since you don’t want to be lifting the lid to often add a small pan of water to your smoker. The water evaporates fairly quickly so top it about every 2 hours and turn over your meat for even smoking . At the end of the day shut off the smoke and let cool in the smoker . Voila !!! instant ham
After cutting it in half for wrapping and storage (great excuse to sample it ) I sent half of it to my Ham loving nephew and on Christmas day I put my half in a roasting pan with a bit of water in the oven at 250* for an hour. slice and serve . Bon Appetite !!
Till Tomorrow , Good Smoking