It's a small piece of bone in front of the ball joint that the shank attaches to. There is a slight risk of the joint breaking down and contaminating the meat nearby. The best way to eliminate that is simply to remove it exposing the ball end of the shank. The brine does not taste salty and being away for 2 weeks I had to trust that the cure would preserve everything which it did beautifully. Last ham I did at Easter was only brined a week which produced inconsistent results. Some of the meat was a hamier color if you will. Thanks For Looking George. Happy Thanksgiving too!
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