brine curing ham ?

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by sonofcarl31, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. sonofcarl31

    sonofcarl31 Newbie

    Can you leave a ham in the curing brine too long? If it is possible to brine too long, how long is to long and what are the consequences? I'm using Pops brine. Thanks
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you're following Pops, your in good hands...he's been around many aspects of meats his whole life. When he says 3-4 weeks brine-cure for hams, that's a minimum time frame to fully cure.

    With the mention of too long in the brine, are you expecting a major delay to finish? Not being able to further process on your scheduled dates? A couple of weeks extra should not be cause for are in fact preserving the meat against pre-cook bacterial issues. 3 or 4 weeks, may raise the need for further discussion. Just be sure your refrigeration temperature control is adequate...that's your best insurance against future problems.

  3. sonofcarl31

    sonofcarl31 Newbie

    I'm going to do roughly an 8 pound ham? How long you think?
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm assuming this is a smaller bone-in picnic shoulder (not rump/hind leg, due to lighter weight), but this is irrelevant. You'll want to inject/pump the brine-cure into the muscle, especially near the bone, and to be sure of achieving a complete cure, I would brine for 3 weeks...2-2.5 weeks may be enough time, but you won't know until you smoke and slice it, whether or not it fully cured. It's always best to err in favor of safety when curing. I've never had grey meat in the core of anything I've cured, and I don't ever want to have that sinking feeling one would have when you slice the meat only to find it didn't fully cure. That said, don't scrimp on cure's just not worth it. I've had 2" thickness be fully cured without injection in 12-14 days, repeatedly, but this is different...too thick to take the chance without injecting.

    If this is a boston butt pork shoulder, treat as described above.


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