View Full Version : Home-Cured Christmas Ham

12-28-2012, 03:08 PM
I had some family come up to visit from Northern California for Christmas and so decided to do something special for Christmas Eve dinner. Since we still have leftover turkey in the freezer from Thanksgiving and my mom was making our traditional prime rib dinner on Christmas night, I decide to fill out the holiday large meal trifecta with a Christmas Ham.

Since I am uncapable of doing things the easy way I decided that rather than go to the store and buy a pre-cured ham and double smoking it, I would start with a fresh ham, cure it and smoke it myself.

Since there would be 10 of us for dinner I figured I needed a full leg. Overkill? I think not. When making ham or turkey or anything for that matter you should always have a back-up.

I went to the butcher and had him split a 20 lb leg into a 9.5 lb shank end and 10.5 lb butt end.

Here you can see the shank end before trimming.

I took a sharp knife and peeled off the skin as well as any areas of thick fat.

Next it was time to create the brine. I used the recipe from Ruhlman's Charcuterie and bumped up the volumes by 1.5x since his recipe was for a 12-15lb ham and I had nearly 20 lbs.
Salt, brown sugar, pink salt all got measured into a bowl.

And then were added to 10 qts of cold water along with some molasses, which was my addition to the recipe.

The hams went into a clean bucket,

and were then submerged in the brine with a ziploc of water on top to keep them submerged.

Next they got sealed up and into the fridge for 5-days

5-days later they came out of their salty sweet bath

Then they got patted dry, set onto roasting racks and went into the fridge uncovered overnight so the pellicle could set. Here you can see the sheen that's developled on the outside of the ham after a night in the fridge.

Then onto the Traeger they went and smoked with cherry wood at 225-250 for about 8 hours until they reached 165*.

They were smoked on Saturday allowed to cool then wrapped in plastic and into the fridge until Monday morning at which point the butt end went into a 250* degree oven. Once it hit an IT of about 130* it was time to start glazing. I mixed up a glaze of ~4oz bourbon and close to an equal part of brown sugar as well as some dijon mustard. I hit it with some glaze ever 45 minutes or so until it was nice and sticky and glistening. Once it hit 165* IT out it came.

Let it rest for a bit and then sliced and served.

Along with the ham we served an appetizer platter with some salami, crackers and an assortment of cold smoked cheeses.

As well as a salad, some cheesy potato concoction that my wife made in the crock-pot and sauteed green beans. Overall it was a truly incredible meal.

Thanks for looking.


12-28-2012, 03:27 PM
Saweeeeet........PM send with my address :-D

12-28-2012, 04:21 PM
Gorgeous! That had to be killer:clap:

Captain P.J.
12-28-2012, 05:27 PM
Looks great! Thanks for all the pics!!

12-28-2012, 06:13 PM
Looks fantastic!

Cliff H.
12-28-2012, 06:36 PM

12-28-2012, 07:40 PM
Great looking ham, I just have to try this home made ham idea, they always look sooooooo good!

12-28-2012, 07:57 PM
Did the same recipe myself. One of the best hams I've ever eaten.

And YOURS looks great!!!


12-28-2012, 08:03 PM
Very nice!!! This has been put on my to do list since I got my charcuterie book. I drooling just looking at pictures.

12-28-2012, 08:55 PM
Sometimes it just feels good to do it the hard way. You get to look at it, and think, "I made that." :thumb:


12-28-2012, 09:14 PM
That's awesome. I feel the same way with curing my own bacon or brining corned beef. Nothing storebought is as good!

12-28-2012, 10:01 PM
Yummee lookin city ham.Good eats!Homemade always adds sumthin special.Great job. :thumb:

12-28-2012, 11:36 PM
Nice that looks great...Id like to do a ham that way myself sometime.

12-28-2012, 11:44 PM
Very nice indeed.
Did you inject at all,?

Smokey Mick
12-29-2012, 01:19 AM
He prolly didnt need to taking the skin off and sectioning it out.
Thats an interesting way to make a ham.
I personaly would be afraid to take the skin and fat cap off.
Only because I know how easy they are to dry out.
That one look good:clap2:

12-29-2012, 09:53 PM
yum yum:thumb:

Crazy Harry
12-30-2012, 12:29 AM
nice looking meat there

12-30-2012, 01:42 AM
I need to try a ham. That looks great

12-31-2012, 03:46 PM
Very nice indeed.
Did you inject at all,?

Thanks Titch. I didn't inject, just let the brine do its work over time. I think if I had wanted to speed the process some that injecting would be an option, though in this instance I didn't see the need for it.

He prolly didnt need to taking the skin off and sectioning it out.
Thats an interesting way to make a ham.
I personaly would be afraid to take the skin and fat cap off.
Only because I know how easy they are to dry out.
That one look good

Smokey, I made a ham like this last Christmas as well and left the skin on the end portion of the shank end. After a week in the brine and 2 different stages of cooking it was really leathery. I will say that it was an excellent ham hock and made a great pot of beans, but this year I decided to trim it completely. As long as you watch the IT and don't go to far beyond 165* I don't think there's much to worry about in regards to drying out. Also, I'm sure this technique would work with the leg completely intact but it would have taken forever to cure and probably close to an entire day to smoke. I've got some time on my hands but not quite that much.