View Full Version : Ham

12-20-2019, 08:48 PM
Hi all, I am interested in making my first ham. I would love to know how to make one without using pink curing salts. Thanks

12-20-2019, 09:14 PM
I am sure it can be done.Google is your friend or enemy,depending on how much you trust what you read.I would never try to cure pork without the use of pink salt or Tenderquick.Good luck.Back in the "old days" the indigenous people of this country showed the interlopers from Europe how to bury hams and other pork in the sands along the beach of Virginia and the salt would preserve them,so I have read?Just sayin.Then again,I read that there were no pigs here until the interlopers arrived.Maybe the indigenous people knew that fish and stuff could be preserved that way and figured pork could too.????? Let us know how the ham turns out.

12-20-2019, 11:47 PM
Why don’t you want to cure it? If you don’t, “green ham” is what you’re after for your googlefu.

12-20-2019, 11:57 PM
If you don't cure the leg, it will be roasted pork. Very delicious, but not ham.

12-21-2019, 05:01 AM
As thirdeye had posted, if it's not cured, it's simply roast pork.

However there is a marketing ploy to offer "UNCURED" bacon, hot dogs, and sausage in the grocery store. The fear of nitrites as a curing agent is simply a hoax and marketing scam.

Did you know that our own body creates nitrites in our salivary glands to help control bacteria in the mouth and in the digestive tract? Most of our leafy greens are also high in nitrites.

Items marked as "Uncured" are actually cured with concentrated celery juice/powder which is extremely high in nitrites. The USDA and FDA allow it to be called a "flavoring" in the ingredients, but it cures the meat. See: http://ruhlman.com/2011/05/the-no-nitrites-added-hoax/

Nitrites/Nitrates are necessary for curing meat; you can’t cure without them and keep meat safe, they also give it that pink color we are all familiar with. But if nitrates are necessary for curing meat, how can stores like Whole Foods carry meats they say are nitrate free? The trick is in the wording...

They do not intentionally add Sodium Nitrate to the process, but they add other items that are extremely high in Sodium Nitrate to the curing process. Concentrated celery juice and powder are used in the curing process, instead of the naturally occurring mineral sodium nitrate. The FDA allows it to be called “Natural Flavor” instead of “Cure.” It is all a trick to play on our fears so we will buy their product instead of one with a cure. How many times have we heard of "nitrite free bacon/hot dogs"? They are made without using a traditional curing agent so they may legally refer to it as uncured, only because the celery concentrate is listed as a flavoring agent. But, it still has the same nitrites as traditionally cured meats.

What most people don't realize is that nitrites and nitrates are used to prevent botulism and other food-borne illnesses when cold smoking or curing meats. The act of cold smoking provides the perfect environment for the formation of food borne toxins. Using nitrites is a merely a safety mechanism in the curing process.

However, when properly weighed and used, the cure simply dissipates into a gas and there are is no sodium nitrite remaining in the final food product. Nitrite (NO2) reacts to form harmless nitric oxide gas (NO) by losing a single oxygen atom. The nitric oxide then bonds itself to an iron atom in the myoglobin of the meat, which turns it pink, and prevents oxidation. Nitric oxide is also present in smoke, which gives that "pink smoke ring" around the outside of smoked meats. The cure, sodium nitrite, changes the PH level of the meat making the meat inhospitable to bacterial growth. The ph change not only inhibits bacterial growth, but it also causes changes in texture, and flavor, which is all part of the finished product.
93% of our ingested nitrites come from metabolic functions of the body.

If nitrite caused cancer, it would imply that humans have a major design flaw because we produce our own nitrites. However, I will agree that an excess of nitrites in meat that has not been properly cured is not good, but that is why the USDA and FDA have set safe guidelines on the use of nitrites in the commercial curing process for human consumption.

12-21-2019, 07:48 PM
Thank you everyone for the input. I guess the back story is last night I had what a Polish guy called a ham that he made. He said the wet brined the ham using a lot of kosher salt, fresh garlic, pepper corns, and old spice. Soaked it for a week in the fridge. Then smoked it to 160. It was really good and I was wondering if anyone had any info on this type of ham.