Smoked Cured Ham
From Habanero Smoker
(click on images to enlarge)
IMPORTANT: Please read all instructions thoroughly before mixing the brine (pickle). Do not add the pink salt until the brine has been cooled.
Brine Ingredients: Cure -- Pickle Brine (Enough to cure up to a 25 pound ham)
Glaze Ingredients: Glaze and roasting recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated for the Bradley Smoker.
- 1 Tbsp Juniper Berries; bruised
- 1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns, cracked
- 1 Tbsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Seed, toasted and crushed
- 1/2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 3 Bay leaves, crumbled
- 3 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 5 quarts Water; divided (See note under curing)
- *2/3 cup + 1 tsp pickling salt (7 ounces)
- *1/4 cup brown sugar; packed
- *1/4 cup maple syrup
- *3 ounces Pink Salt (aka InstaCure #1, Prague Powder #1; Modern Cure #1; T.C.M.)
- * or Substitute 1 pound Maple Ham Cure, by Sausage Makers, for the sugar, syrup, pickling salt, and, pink salt.
- 10-12 pound fresh ham; shank end
- Injector or meat pump
- Cheese cloth (optional)
- String (optional)
- 3/4 C. Maple Powder Sugar
- 3/4 C. Pineapple Juice
- 1/4 C. Brown Sugar, or 1 cup if you are not using the Maple sugar
- 1/3 C Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 C. Whole Grain Mustard
- In a 2 quart sauce pan add one quart of water. Measure and prepare the first seven ingredients. Wrap ingredients in a double layer of cheesecloth, tie off at the top (bouquet garni), and add to the pot. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- You can skip the step of making the bouquet garni; but you will later have to strain enough of the pickle to use for injecting. In addition, leaving the seasonings in the brine during curing, the flavoring may be too strong; so it is best to strain all of the brine.
- Remove from heat and add the sugar, syrup and salt. Stirring until all the sugar and salt has dissolved. Pour mixture into the non-reactive container you will be brining the ham in. Add ice water to bring the amount of brine to 5 quarts. After mixture has cooled, add the pink salt, and stir until it is fully dissolved. Before using the pickle, it has to be between 38 degrees F - 40 degrees F.
- The weight of water is equal to it's volume. For example 1 pound of ice equals one pint of water.
- Remove ham from the refrigerator and trim off the skin and all outer fat. Weigh out the amount of brine needed to inject the ham; this will need to be 10 percent of the weight of the ham.
- Example: If your ham weight 10 pounds; 10 percent of that equals 1 pound. Therefore you will need 1 pound or 1 pint of brine. This calculation is accurate enough, but does not take into account the the weight of the ingredients, so for greater accuracy you can weigh the brine.
- Inject ham at the shank and in the front around the bone. If the ham can not hold any more brine around the shank and bone, then start injecting further away from the bone, until all the measured brine is injected.
- Injecting Instructions
Fill your injector with brine, and start by injecting around the shank and around all the bones in the ham. When the ham can not hold any more brine around the shank and bone, then start injecting further away from the bone, until all the measured brine is injected.
The best procedure is to insert the needle deep into the meat, and inject as you slowly pull the needle out of the meat. Do not pull the needle all the way out. Stop before the holes in the needles reach the surface. Slant the injector at a 45°angle to the right and again push the needle deep into the meat. Inject using the same procedure as earlier mentioned.
Again do not remove the needle; slant the injector 45° angle to the left and follow the same injection procedure. Stop injecting before the needle reaches the surface, remove the needle, refill the injector, move the needle over two inches and start injecting at that site. Continue injecting in a 2 inch pattern, until you have evenly injected the meat, and all measured brine has been injected. If you have to refill your injector before an injection site is completed, reinsert the needle at the same insertion point.
- Place ham in the brine making sure the ham is full submerged. Cure in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, at 38 degrees F - 40 degrees F.
- Remove ham from the brine, and rinse off the surface. Soak ham in about 3 gallons of cold water; making sure it is fully submerged; for one hour to remove some of the salt taste. Turn the ham over, after 30 minutes, and continue to soak for the final 30 minutes. To sample the saltiness, slice a small piece off and pan fry it. If you like your ham with less salt, changed the water and soak for an additional 30 minutes. From my experience, the test sample tastes less saltier than the finished product, so you may want to keep that in mind.
- Remove ham from the soak, and pat dry with paper towels. Return to refrigerator, and allow to air dry for 24 hours. This time also allows the brine to more equally distribute itself throughout the ham.
- NOTE: To calculate how much brine you will need, place the ham into the container you will be curing it in. Add water until the ham is completely submerged, remove ham and measure the amount of water that is left in the container. That is the amount of water you will need to make the brine (pickle) cure. If it is less then 5 quarts, you should make at least 5 quarts of brine, and make sure your container can whole both the ham and the 5 quarts of brine. If it is more then 5 quarts, you will need to adjust the amount of cure used in this recipe. The best brining containers are those that are more tall then they are wide.
- Preheat your Bradley smoker to 110 degrees F to 120 degrees F, with vent wide open and no water in the bowl; place ham in the middle position of the smoker and "air dry" for 8 hours. Rotate ham from front to back after 4 hours.
- Next increase the temperature to 130 degrees F - 140 degrees F; add warm water to bowl, and apply 4 hours of smoke; I used maple.
- If you prefer more smoke, you can apply another 2 hours of smoke, but 4 hours gave it a nice mellow flavor.
- After smoke has been applied rotate ham once more, insert meat temperature probe, and increase the cabinet temperature to 210 degrees F -220 degrees F. Roast until internal temperature reaches 1145 degrees F.
- When ham has reached an internal temperature of 1145 degrees F, remove from the smoker and allow to rest. When ham is cool enough to handle, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, then cover with foil and allow it to age in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours; 2 days would be better.
- Don't be concerned if the outer layer of the ham seems to be as tough as leather. It will soften during the "aging" period, and will crisp up nicely, after you apply the glaze and roast in the oven.
Just removed from the smoker.
- Remove the ham from the refrigerator, and line a 9x13 roasting pan with a double layer of aluminum foil long enough to wrap the ham in. Make the glaze by combining all ingredients and whisking together. Place ham in pan, and liberally brush with glaze. Wrap tightly in foil, and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to the lowest level, and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake until the internal temperature is 100 degrees F. This will take about 2-3 hours; calculate about 17 minutes per pound.
- Remove ham from oven. Cut off and remove the foil to expose ham; leaving only the foil that lines the pan. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Brush ham liberally with glaze and return to oven.
- If you do not cut off the foil, any glaze that is stuck to the foil will smoke up your kitchen once the oven temperature is increased to 450 degrees F.
- After 15 minutes, apply another liberal coat of glaze and bake for another 20 - 40 minutes; until glaze becomes a golden brown and sticky. Remove ham from oven, apply another liberal coat of glaze and loosely foil. Allow to rest 30-40 minutes before carving. During resting time, you can baste the ham with its juices once or twice.
- Slice and serve. You can heat any remaining glaze to be used at the table.
1 New USDA recommendation as of May 24, 2011.