Country Cured Ham - From Go to Show: Q/View

Discussion in 'Curing' started by mr t 59874, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Man, didn't realize you were from Montana, so you are in the same situation as me, but probably colder!  We're supposed to have a massive blizzard later today through Saturday, should be sweet!

    Umm, not so sure about hanging it up in my house, that thing already has my basement smelling like delicious smoky ham (heaven to me, but I am sure the wife wouldn't be a fan!)..

    Right now she's in a cheese cloth bag, and I have other ones so I was planning on removing the smoky cloth bag, then cleaning off some of the brown sugar and adding ground black pepper all over as has been recommended.  I wonder if I did that, and then took a huge paper bag and put it around the cheese cloth so the ham could still hang, but would be protected from having the smoky smell penetrate anything near it if that would work better.  Then, and only then may I be able to bring it into my house..  otherwise, I am not sure what to do here...

    If I am not able to bring it in where it's super warm and have it in my basement until the weather gets better and spring starts to come, I should be fine, but would just have to let it hang longer until the temps warm up, correct?  I mean, I want to taste that baby, but I am really in no rush.. so I could wait it out till summertime.  Let's see... Mid-February - Mid-July is 5 months... and I'd be getting the warmer months of May, June and July in there..wonder if that'd be enough.  hmm.

    I put her back into the tank all day yesterday for another 11 hours of cold smoke.  Now she's got about 35 hours total.  Still going to do some more to work on that color.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Got a good chuckle, I read the wife part then it lead right into "she". [​IMG]
  3. what about hanging it in the attic? i would think that would control the smell. might be to hot depending on where your duct work is. might be a thought.

    happy smoken.

  4. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    trizzuth,  Hope your stocked up and the power stays on for you.

    I understand about the wife.  Have you given thought about trading her in for one with sinus problems, after the storm of course?  [​IMG]

    Sounds like you smoked it while it was in the bag.  If so discard the bag.  Yes some do apply pepper to deter insects, but buy wrapping in paper and using a cloth bag or nylon stocking that your wife has it will do the same.

    As for aging , I would try to find some way of keeping it warmer.  One suggestion I received was to rent a heated storage locker.   Some choose not to smoke at all or smoke after aging.

    On a personal note, I went to town today to pick up the two hams that I ordered last week.  Well they are lost.  They didn't make it to the store and no one knows were they are.  A three hour drive for nothing.  It did give me a chanch to check out Arby"s two fish sands for $5, not bad.
  5. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Original post continued:

    End of equalization period and the beginning of cold smoke.
  6. krusem05

    krusem05 Newbie

    Fantastic tutorial. I've got to admit, I'm more than a little jealous of the fridge with the meat curing section on one side and a selection of homemade pickles on the other.
  7. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Mr. T - I see that you've started smoking the country ham, as well as some bacon. It's all looking good.

    How long will you smoke the ham?
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    After over 50 hours, it is taking on a good color.  I look for it to be done sometime this week. [​IMG]    Looking for the color that suites me.[​IMG]
  9. Nice job! Have to try this so I can stop driving to Virginia for country ham.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mr. T.... do you have any idea what the weight was before the smoke started ?  Just curious about weight loss and if you were approaching a fine aged, smoked and dried prosciutto...   Dave
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    DaveOmak,  Yes I am keeping track of the weight as I go along.  From doing research, in order to be classified as a country ham it has to loose a minimum of 18% weight and be aged a minimum of four month's after cure and equalization periods.  Mine had lost 17% after equalization and prior to going in the cold smoker.  It will be weighed again after the smoke and prior to the aging process. This one will be aged an additional 10 months. 

    I chose to do a Country ham instead of a Prosciutto or Serrano which are made from large and extra fatty hams (shown in links above). Do to the excess fat they are able to be cured for a longer period of time, two or more years.  Other than the Berkshires, most American hogs are raised to produce a leaner product and that is what is generally desired by the public and for the Country ham.    The Prosciutto and Serrano hams generally are not smoked, as not all country hams are smoked.  It usually depends on the region that they are produced whether they are smoke or not. 

    Hope this answered your question, Tom
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you....  I can't wait to see the finished product.... I should be AWESOME !!!   A very good thread to learn from......   

  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Is that ham done yet??? Its torture having to look at the Drool Factory above every time someone comments!!! [​IMG]
  14. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Looking amazing Tom!  I have the ham out there in the smoker again today while I am at work.  It had about 44 hours until this morning and should get another 7-8 today bringing my total up to about 41-42 hours of cold smoke.  Went through an entire 4lb bag of Todd's A-Maze-N dust Pitmaster's blend so far.  I have a 1lb bag of hickory that I will continue to use, but need to order me some more dust for future endeavors.  Smoker now smells absolutely amazing from the pitmaster's blend and the ham is smelling just as good!

    I do have a bit of color variation going on though, where the sides of the ham are a little pink-ish on the skin and the top and bottom skin are much darker.  Thinking I need to take it out of the cheesecloth soon and take a pic so you all can see.  Don't really see any mold on the ham so far, and my intentions are that once I am done with the cold smoke, to rub some bacon lard on it and then coat it in some black/red and white pepper for the final hang.

    Have a small closet in my bedroom that I might try out, but it would still need to hang in the basement for awhile to mellow out the smoke aroma before I go hanging it in the bedroom.  We shall see!

    Snow keeps on coming up here in Massachusetts, but that don't stop the smokin!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    trizzuth, be sure, wherever you hang it to age, there is some air circulation....  hate to see it spoil after all that work.....  Dave
  16. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    good advice Dave,  now you're making it even more difficult!

    I could put a small fan on it until it gets warmer.. man, not sure what to do with this thing now that I am almost done with the cold smoke!

    Once spring comes, I could hang it in my garage near the back door where it should get a nice flow of air from a crack in the door, and the door does have a padlock on it so I wouldn't be worried about larger intruders (racoon, possum, etc).  Not too many meat hungry critters around my way and I do have 4 cats, so there aren't really any mice or rats around either.  Probably have to worry most about racoons and possums, but you'd think the would stay away from a peppered ham that's hanging way up, although they are pretty crafty.


    Is it bad that after I cold smoke it for an entire day's time that I then bring it into my basement which is around 50-60 degrees so it won't freeze by staying outside in my smoker all night long?  

    This is my typical smokin session, bring ham out to smoker in morning, usually around 25-35 degrees to start the day, during the day, doesn't get much warmer here than 40, but can plummet to the low 20's or teens during the night, which is why I bring it in.  Next day, bring it out, more smoke, wait till AMNS finishes, bring it back in.  

    I am now just thinking of making a giant free standing rack and putting it up on display right in my living room corner for all to see and smell!  Personally, the thing smells like heaven, I cannot imagine who would NOT want to have that smell in their house!  Wives... that's who. :) No offense to the lady-smokers on here!
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    dirtsailor,  I just got a new computer yesterday and am now learning to use  windows 8.  Will look for a braille feature for you.[​IMG]

    trizzuth,  Sounds like your getting the Bertha broken in, what a better way to do it !!   Do you have any idea of your internal smoker temps during the smoke?

    I see where some will coat their hams and put black and red pepper on the hams to deter insects.   You can build a simple box and cover it with 32 mesh screen and seal the cracks with a sealer to keep insects out, thinking of that myself. 

    You have to worry about coon and possums, I have to worry about bears, lions and wolves. [​IMG]

  18. I found your thread to be very intresting and certainly learned a few things from it

    I am attempting my first batch of prosciutto hams , the curing proces is a lil different

    to country hams, if my prosciutto works out , I will give country ham a try

    thank u for ur detailed info

  19. zahlgren

    zahlgren Smoking Fanatic

  20. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    My smoker internal temp is more of less the temp of what it is outside.  I tested it out on my first round and it was around 38-40 degrees.  If it get some sun on it, it can go up to about 50 or so, but not much higher than that.  

    Wooden box with mesh screen sounds pretty sweet!  Is it better to have the ham hang if you can rather than rest on it's side in a box?  I'd like to do whatever is best.  I could always hang it and cover it with a loose mesh screen too..

    any negatives about hanging it for the long haul in a cheesecloth bag?  Mostly all of what I've seen of hams hanging for the long haul, they are hanging free on a meat hook.

    I am sure the bears, lions and wolves can smell your ham from miles away, better get it inside quick!

    Are you done with the cold smoke yet? and if so, how many hours till you got your desired color?

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