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

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

  1. arbys sandwichs hahaha that was funny
  2. yeah I noticed that too [​IMG]  hey trizzuth is it DONE YET ?
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    From what I see everyone hangs their hams, some shank up some shank down.  I don't think it makes much difference after equalization as the hams shape is set by then.  The Prosciutto hams are hung shank up because of the way they will be carved, with the grain, long and narrow.  Country hams are normally hung shank down so they will be fatter or wider in the middle, makes for big ham steaks.  The Prosciutto and Serrano hams are on their side and sometimes pressed.

    No problem hanging in cheese cloth bag at all, it is what I will be doing.  I am sure the hams hanging naked are in a insect free aging room.  Some even suggest using nylon panty hose, now that will make your wife feel like she has something in the project.

    Still in the smoker, 4.5 days now.  Hope to be done this weekend.

    Later, Tom
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  4. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Added a little more to previous post.  Just completed the second cure application to the two new hams.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Some even suggest using nylon pantyhose, now that will make your wife feel like she has something in the project.

    Be careful.....  she may get a leg up on ya..... 
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  6. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Original post continued:

    Cold smoke.
  8. Over/under of the number of times I've pawed that at the screen on this thread set at 5, and I'll certainly take the over.

    Looks fantastic Mr T can't wait to see the finished view.
  9. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    WOOOOOWWWW at that ham's color Mr T!

    Looks absolutely amazing, almost just like those gorgeous pictures of the 'Edwards Hams' you can see online if you google them.

    Mine is all sorts of odd colors, and does not have a nice even brown like yours.  I have it out in the smoker again today with my AMNS getting some hickory with a little bit of Pitmaster's blend mixed in as that bag was getting small.  Waiting for some more dust to come in and will just have to keep at it.  Gets too cold here during the nights for me to do it overnight, but this week I might try it as it is warming up a bit.

    Total so far for my ham is 52 hours.  Went through a 4lb bag of Pitmaster's blend of dust and am now going through my 1lb bag of hickory sampler that came with the AMNS.  After today it should be a good 60 hours.

    Added some armenian string cheese in there too so it can take on a bit of smoke and I can see what that flavor combo is like!

    You should win a trophy just based on the looks and color of that ham dude, just AMAZING.  We need to get that up on the homepage!!!
  10. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    P.S. Tom - you lighting one end of the AMNS, or both?  Due to my shorter smoke time during the day, I've always lit both to get a little bit more smoke, also due to the size of my oil tank..

    I'm still going for color like you, but I think my ham may have gotten too much salt.  I think tonight I need to take it out of the cheese cloth sack and take some pics for you to see.  I have other cheese cloth sacks so I can put it back in for more smoke..

    EDIT: I see you were using an AMNPS... is there significantly more smoke generated by the pellets than the dust?
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, wouldn't know how to do that.
    It all depends,  the designated cold smoker used to smoke the ham is a converted, very well insulated 18 cubic ft. beverage cooler.  In colder weather, I can place the AMNPS directly in the smoker, in warmer weather I  place it inside a cast iron stove where the smoke is then piped to the cooler.  While smoking the ham the AMNPS was placed inside and one end was lit.

    I don't understand why you are smoking your ham in a cheese cloth bag.  It seems to me it would be like taking a shower with your clothes on.

    It's been my experience that the dust burns much slower than the pellets therefore putting out less smoke, but I wouldn't say the pellets produce a significant amount more smoke.

  12. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Well, my cheesecloth bag option seemed to be the only thing I could use to successfully hang it without having to pierce the meat.  But it looks like you were able to get a rope around the end of yours with good luck, just not sure that would work with mine as the cut at the foot area is decently high.

    Ok, that is it.  Tonight I take the ham out of the cheesecloth and then will try to determine if I can hang it some other way inside the smoker.  I have been using a large iron S-Hook that i've been hanging the cheese cloth bag on and then attaching it to one of the angle iron pieces inside my smoker.  

    Perhaps I can grind down one end of the S Hook and then stab that into the ham near the hock end and it will hold up good.  I have read that you need to get it in between two bones so it hangs good though.. tough to guess on that without being able to see inside the leg.  I was leary of piercing the meat as I read that would give another are for bacteria to accumulate..
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  13. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Mr. T - The color of the fully smoked ham the update is stunning. Was there anything special that you did to achieve that? You could post that on Ebay and auction off slice futures for a pretty good sum when it's completely finished.

    Really nice work. Congrats.
  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    trizzuth,  If the shank is too short to tie off, try making a rope sling or simply lay it on the rack. 

    dls, thanks for the kind words.  Nothing special was done other than a long slow smoke.
  15. trizzuth.

    Is the ham darkening up in the cheese cloth?

    I smoke country hams all the time in a stockenette and they take smoke just fine.

  16. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Yup, Ham was darkening through the cheese cloth pretty good, but I think it may be affecting the overall color in certain areas.

    So Mr. T, not to piggyback your thread, but I feel it would just add to this thread for anyone attempting to do this in the future to have some pictures of multiple Country Cured Hams so they can see variations.  That being said,  here comes the pics!

    Took the ham out of my smoker last night, now it's got about 60 hours of slow smoke from my AMNS using Pitmaster's blend.  Hot damned this thing smells like HEAVEN!  Every inch of it just smells divine.  Now my color range is pretty odd, but it was more or less the same before I started the smoke, so at least it's consistent.  One thing I noticed about my ham that I do not see in others are the veins in the skin and some areas where it looks like it bled a bit under the skin where you can see that it is red..  not that nice smooth skin tone that you had on your Mr. T.  Funny thing is that this was not a store-bought ham, it came from a half hog my wife and I bought from a local farm.  Due to the visible veins, I was wondering if that was a sign of it being injected with hormones,. etc. but the wife tells me that one of her friends is very touchy with meat processes and that is why she buys it from this farm, all natural, no hormones/antibiotics, etc.  I checked their website and all it says is "Free Range Pork" so who knows...  any ideas on what caused these veins to be visible (been there from the start) let me know..

    So I took it out of the smoker, cut the cheesecloth bag off and then took some pics.  It still had a bit of the brown sugar on the surface that I rubbed on it before the smoke, so you may see that in the pics.  I then washed it off and got off as much of the sugar as I could, went out to the garage and used my grinder to carve one end of my S hook into a sharp point and then estimated where I might get lucky and stab it between that hock bone and I think I got it!   Hangs nice and free now and looks like the hook is seated in there nicely.  I will smoke it the rest of the way like this so I can get a more even color.  You will see some areas nice and brown and others more pinkish.  Not a nice smooth overall color like Mr T's.  Put it back out there in the smoker today with the last of my Hickory dust, 2 more 4lb bags on the way from Todd, should be here tomorrow!  I too will smoke this until I get the desired color and will post up how many hours it took.

    Time for the pics!

    See the veins in this pic and the pinkish hue to the skin area here?  You can also see the little red bloody spot to the left..

    A little bit of pattern here from the salt coming through and the cheesecloth..

    Little bit of white mold growing here (good mold) -  and no signs of black mold..

    Pic of hook where I pierced the shank..

    Here you can see ground down point of my S hook coming through the end

    Hangin up!

    Had to toss this baby in there too since I was running the AMNS..  Mozzarella String cheese (I thought it was Armenian string cheese, but that has caraway seeds in it and is overall a much better flavor..).  
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    trizzuth, I see what you mean about a short shank.  Seeing how you are buying from a local farmer, ask that they cut the ones in the future with a long shank.  The way I understand it, there would be chance of contamination. My pictures have now been numbered.   If you look at my pictures 13-14 you will see veins, after 72 hours in smoke they are diminishing and eventually disappearing. 

    Could the blotching be caused by there being salt and sugar on the surface.  As  you know, mine was soaked for an hour prior to equalization. Any mold that had accumulated was brushed of with a stiff brush prior to smoking.

    There are many different techniques of curing and/or smoking, we are doing two of them.   
  18. Hog zilla looking good and a lil tanned , thanks for the pics

    Lets us know how the final product looks

    Thanks Trizzuth
  19. trizzuth

    trizzuth Smoke Blower

    Hmm, kinda hard to see from your pics 13 and 14 but I guess I do see it a little bit.  Any idea why they disappear after more smoke?  Is it the continual drying out process that then recesses the blood back into the ham?  I find this very interesting, and I hope mine comes out like yours in the end!  For now, more smoke it is!

    As far as the short shank goes, the farm did ask us initially if we wanted any sort of special cuts, and had I known I was going to do this back then, or even known anything about smoking at all, I would have asked for a long shank, or even maybe with the foot left on (is one better than the other?) I'd think foot on leaves minimal chance of contamination..  Next year now I know!

    I really wish I could insert a scratch and sniff into this thread so everyone could smell it, it is really that good.

    As far as surface blotching, I did rinse it after the curing stage before equalization and scrubbed it with a brush pretty hard to get whatever I could see off, so if there is salt still coming through, it may be just coming out of the ham.  I do like the soak for 1 hour method, I bet that would help next time..

    When exactly can I do the stick and sniff test with the metal wire?  I'll wait all the way to the end if i have to, no rush to see if this baby is ruined now!  Sure smells great on the outside at least..
  20. It's not uncommon to see veins in dried hams.
    It's illegal to use hormones in the production of pork in this country.

    Some of the darker blotches on the ham are likely nitrite burn.
    The one red area looks like a bruise from here.

    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

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