First Time Ham Questions
I have been lurking for a few years and decided to join recently I haven't had a major reason to post yet.
I have a friend that decided to buy a fresh ham for christmas dinner, although it's on the 8th. When he picked it up they asked how he was going to cook it. He was surprised to find out it doesn't go straight in the oven. What he currently has is a frozen, skin on, bone in, 15 lb ham. I got called last night to see if I would smoke it for him.
After a bit of research I am planning to make the "Black Pepper Smoked Ham" shown here: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=121301
I currently have some pink salt on order to be here thursday. I think I've seen that a rule of thumb for brining would be 1day/2lb. So I think I need to get it defrosted by this friday to get it brining for 7 days to cook it next fri night.
Do I need to remove the skin and trim the fat? I read some places that scoring the skin would work? Does the trimmed turn out better?
Should I cook it bone in? Would it work if I cut it in half and removed the bone? Would that cook it faster? What is an estimate for cooking time? I know I cook it to 155 IT but what is a ballpark time for that?
I have a brinkmann upright gasser and a mini-wsm. After seeing a giant ham of similar size at the butcher today I know it won't fit in my mini-wsm.
If you were caught by a friend looking for help in this situation what would the plan of attack be?
Thanks for you help!
I would also inject the brine into the thickest part of the meat due to the large size of the fresh ham.
You have to remember Phrasty was using "boneless shoulders" and not a fresh ham.
Keep in mind the initial stages of smoking a ham are done at a lower temperature and then raised for cooking.
The cooking time is dependent on your cooker and the temperature settings it is able to maintain. You can calculate a approximate time, but your thermometer will be your final point when to remove for resting.
If a friend catches you looking for help, no worries, you explain it is like a recipe, and there are many variations in techniques. You simply want to do it right with guidance from Brethren with experience in this matter.
Here's what I did for a cottage ham.
Post 10 has some links to other hams that Phrasty has done. At least one of them is a full fresh ham. As IamMadMan says, you probably will want to inject. Phrasty did the same for his fresh ham and mentioned making sure you get it in the joint.
Good luck and post pron!
I've not done one of these yet, but I'm going to for Christmas this year.
Only thing I'll suggest is that defrosting that thing is gonna take some time if it's just put in the fridge. You may need to put it in the sink here and there and keep a continuous stream of COLD water going to help it along. Just put it in a pot in the sink and keep a nice continuous stream of water going into the pot to keep the water moving and cold. This is the method accepted by SafeServ for thawing food other than just by means of letting it sit in the fridge. I know a 16 lb turkey will take a week to thaw through in the fridge. I'd think a solid chunk o ham will take at least that long. Just sitting it out on the counter is NOT recommended.
I'll make sure to inject it and brine it. You mentioned to cook it at a lower temp and then cook hotter at the end. What temps what you do? It seems like most of the stuff from Phastry has said he does that at 275.
There is no way it'll fit in the mini-wsm. Too tall, too round. No way possible. My gasser holds temps pretty good. I use my maverick and know exactly what it's running at. I have filled the water pan with sand and like it much better than messing with water.
I'm still curious about a ballpark cooking time. Is 30 min per pound a reasonable time to guess and know I might be off a couple hours?
skin off/bone in
Anywhere you don't get brine the meat will be grey and not pink. Inject it all over and right down to the bone. It should blow up like a ball, and look visibly swollen. Injecting it by hand and not with a pressure pump means you should inject quite close together.
Sit something on top of the ham while its in the brine so its fully submerged.
Leave the skin on as it will stop the fat rendering out, and will protect the meat in case of any unplanned temperature spikes.
If you get the temperature right it will be done in 8-9 hours.
Piercing the skin doesn't hurt, but don't score it because when it's cooked and cooled you will take it off whole and save it to put back around the ham while it's in the fridge wrapped in a damp towel. A good use for the rind when you get down to using the last of the ham is to throw it in a pot for flavoring some ham and pea soup. It won't be good to eat though, just flavoring.
If you are bound and determined to cure it (rather than just brine it and que it like a shoulder) I'd mix the brine to formula with the cure in it and then inject about 10% into the meat. You'll need a nice long canulla to reach in and along the bone.
Here's a thread from sausagemaking.org:
The Brine Cure
Our basic brine cure is:
33gm Cure #1
This makes 1308gm of brine cure (about 1308ml).
You also add 2 - 5gm in total of a mix of herbs and spices of your choosing per litre of water, use a mixture and, unless you particularly like the flavour of one spice, use them in fairly even amounts. Suggested ones are juniper berries, cloves, coriander seeds, bay leaf, peppercorns - white or black, thyme sprigs and parsley stalks. I like more juniper and less cloves. Weigh the spices, and write the weight down; smash them up a bit before use.
The sugar can be of any type, white, brown, Demerara, treacle or honey. A mixture of half white and half light brown, or Demerara, makes a nice mild ham.
Calculate how much of each ingredient you will need to make enough cure to cover your meat. Weigh the ingredients out.
To save having to calculate each ingredient every time you make a brine cure, a spreadsheet is available that will do the calculations for you. The calculator is in Microsoft Excel format.
Beginner's Injection Brine Calculator
Put the water, salt, sugar and spices (in fact, everything except the Cure #1) into a pan and bring to the boil. If you are making a lot of brine, just use a portion of the water. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Leave to cool.
Using water, make the weight back up to the original amount - that is the original weight of the water, salt, sugar and spices, added together. That's the total weight of everything except the Cure #1. The downloadable brine calculator does this for you.
Mix the Cure #1 into the cooled brine mixture stirring to ensure that it is dissolved.
Injecting the Brine Cure
Injecting the brine cure into the meat is also called 'pumping'.
Calculate 10% of the meat weight - you wrote the weight of the meat down earlier! This is the amount of brine cure that you will inject into the meat. So if your meat weighed 1760gm, you would inject 1760gm x 10% = 176gm of brine cure into it. The calculator also does this calculation for you.
Inject the cure into the meat ensuring you get cure into all parts of it by injecting from all sides. I do the injecting in a separate bowl and re-inject any cure that leaks out.
Cure the Meat in the Brine Cure
Now place the meat into the remaining brine and put it into the fridge to finish curing. For pieces up to 2 or 3 kilograms 5 - 7 days is fine. Leave larger pieces for around 10 days. Turn the meat over in the brine cure occasionally.
Don't worry too much about the time in the brine cure - as long as the meat's in the cure for a reasonable length of time it will give the correct levels of salt, sugar and Cure #1, even if cured for a few days longer.
Rinsing and Cooking
Rinse the meat in cold water. There is no need to soak the meat in water. Just rinse it under the tap.
The meat can be cooked in a number of ways, most forum members 'boil' their ham, but the term 'boil' is probably a bad description. The meat and its cooking liquid never gets anywhere near boiling point.
The meat is put into a pan with any flavourings, maybe onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf - that sort of thing. It's covered with water, or other liquid - maybe cider or even coca cola - and then heated until the liquid is around 70 - 75C. The liquid is tasted after about 15 minutes cooking and if salty replaced with fresh water. It is left to cook until the middle of the meat is 72C - use a meat thermometer to test it.
When cooked, leave it to cool in the fridge then remove the skin, slice, and enjoy.
Of course, you can use any method of cooking you prefer or serve it hot, cold, glazed, oven baked, honey roasted, or any other method you choose.
follow these simple instructions.
THEN, on your second round, because the first is soooo good, tweak with phrasty's stuff.
i've got 2 or 3 threads of hams i've done on here somewhere....
here they are.
I got the ham tonight. It was very defrosted. It actually came with the skin off and fat trimmed. We decided to do the dizzy pig recipe. Lots of injecting. I was very surprised how much it plumped up!
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I forgot to take pics. I got a food bucket from the grocery store to brine it in. I could take a pic of the bucket in the fridge but that's not much fun.
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