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Old 12-02-2010, 04:33 AM   #1
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Join Date: 09-28-10
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Default Help on pulled Ham

I'm getting ready to go home after 10 months in Kuwait and I wanted to smoke some pork shoulders and briskets for the guys before I left. Unfortunately the only pork I can get my hands on, are some uncured hams between 3 and 5 lbs. A few months ago I did a cook with hams and tried cooking them the same as I would a shoulder. Smoker at 225-250, foiled at 170ish, wrapped and rested at 200. The result was very dry even though the "feel" was right. As soon as I pulled it the moisture was gone.
Does anyone have any experience with hams? I want to be able to pull the meat without drying it out. My guess would be to foil at 140-150 and take it off the smoker to rest at 175-180. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:32 AM   #2
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I recently did a half hog and the ham had a dry feeling when eating it. I attributed it to the ham not having the fat content of the shoulder. Next time I do a half hog, I'll pull the ham and pull the shoulder and mix the 2 meats together to get more fat and moisture into the ham.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:14 AM   #3
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Like NRA said, low fat content in the ham will make it dryer. Injecting it will help,IMHO. mmmmeat recently did a cured ham and he stuck pineapple slices to it and set it on more slices too. Might try brining too. Anything to keep some moisture in that big hunk o' meat. Good luck!

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Old 12-02-2010, 07:42 AM   #4
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Brine, cook it to 180-185, and inject that bad boy with some fat (butter, .....).

Get home safe
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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I've smoked quite a few hams. You are correct that they tend to be a little drier than a shoulder because they contain less fat, but you can still get a tender and juicy finished product with a little attention to detail. Here's how I would do it:

Use a simple brine: 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar per quart of water. If you can only get table salt, cut the amount in half. Make sure you keep it in the refrigerator during the brining process. Brine for at least 24 hours and up to 48, then rinse well.

After brining, inject with a 2 cups of apple juice, mixed with 1/4 cup oil (canola if you can get it, corn or vegetable if you can't) and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce. Pat it dry and apply a heavy coating of your favorite spice rub then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

When you unwrap, hit it with some more rub before it goes into the smoker. In my opinion, you can't over season a butt or ham you intend to pull.

Once it's in the cooker, don't even open the door for the first 4 hours. After that, you can spritz or mop every hour until you wrap.

Double wrap with foil when the internal temp reaches the stall (about 160-165). Add 1/4 cup of apple juice before you close it up tightly. Take it to 195-200 internal temperature for pulling. Don't worry, this will not dry it out, only make it more tender and easier to pull.

After it comes off the cooker, let it rest in the foil, wrapped in a couple of towels, in a cooler for a minimum of one hour. Two to four hours is even better. When you open it up, make sure you save the juices that collected the foil. After you pull the ham, pour all those juices back into the pork and mix it up.

It's a lot of work, but the results will be worth it!

Get home safe! Thank you for your service!
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mister Bob View Post
When you open it up, make sure you save the juices that collected the foil. After you pull the ham, pour all those juices back into the pork and mix it up.
Besides all of the cooking suggestions above, I think this will help a lot. If you don't have a lot of juice in the foil you can add some apple juice as well.

Either way, I'm sure that the gang will appreciate your effort!

Thanks for your service! let us know when you get home!
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:41 AM   #7
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Any chance you can cure some butts with Tenderquick? I did that to 1/4 of a boneless butt once as part of an experiment, and otherwise cooked it until it pulled. I thought it was incredibly tasty and had a good ham flavor. Just a thought in case the hams aren't going to work out.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:57 AM   #8
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Some people use only fresh ham for pull pork. maybe smoke it in an alum pan with AJ
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:04 PM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. Unfortunately I had to up my timetable for the cook to tomorrow. We stocked up on some apple juice from the mess hall so I'm going to try keeping it basted with that and cook as slow as I can foiling as soon as I can. I would have liked trying Mister Bob's method but it'll have to wait until I get home. As Ron L said, the guys will definately appreciate the effort. It's been years since I cooked something not fit to eat so we should be ok.
We're also going to cook 3 small briskets. I've been wanting to try a brisket with just salt and pepper maybe a little lowery's or garlic just to see how it turns out and this seems like the perfect time. I'll get some pictures and post them tomorrow. Thanks again for the great advice.

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Old 12-02-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
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Maybe it's cooking too long. You might try cooking hot and fast. I cooked mine on Tgiving at 350ish for about 3 1/2

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