Fresh Ham brining and smoking

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by papajohn47, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. papajohn47

    papajohn47 Newbie

    Hello Forum

    I am a newbie not only to this site but also to the world of brining and smoking meats. I will tell you what I have and would appreciate a through response as I have no idea what I am doing.

    I have a Masterbuilt electric smoker, about 16 in inside measurement. I have smoked some meats but all were store purchased and so I assumed they there properly cured or processed.

    My son in law gave me an 18# fresh frozen pork ham. Butchered, wrapped, and frozen, period. I want to smoke this, but it sounds like I should brine it first. So my questions are what are the steps to follow in what order,

    a)  what ingredients to use and in what quantities to the brine,

    b)  how long should it be brined,

    c) what should be injected next to the bone and how much,

    d) how long after brining before I smoke it, (I may be out of town for several days)

    I have read of adding some ingredients, IE, maple syrup, apple cider, molasses, brown sugar, etc. what is this added to and how much and is this injected?

    Some one Please Help.
  2. For the sake of clarity, are you wanting to make a cured ham or just brined pork, like pulled pork or whatever?

  3. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I've never cured a whole ham, only smaller things so I'll let the experts here help you but here's some good reading that should get you started:

    I see this is your first post here, when you get a minute would you do us a favor and go to Roll Call and introduce yourself so we can get to know you and give you a proper welcome, also would you add your location to your profile, we like knowing where you are when we talk to you, Thanks!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  5. papajohn47

    papajohn47 Newbie

    This a whole Ham and I am wanting to keep it as a ham, smoke it and serve for Christmas dinner. I'm just not sure where to start. I have Kosher salt, pickling salt, Mortons quicktender, Sugar, brown sugar, injectors etc. but don't know the process of doing all this. I reall don't want to screw this up.

  6. You're going to be pressed for time if the ham is still frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator at a safe temperature ONLY.
    Don't try to speed thaw it.
    The ham must be fully thawed before curing.

    If you're using Morton's Tender Quick (MTQ), for best results, you must get an accurate weight of the ham.

    This is the way that I used to do it when I cured hams with MTQ:

    Combination cure, injection and dry rub.

    1 level tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of MTQ per pound of ham.
    See Pops' tutorial for prepping the ham.
    Reserve 1/3 of the dry MTQ.
    Mix the other 2/3 with just enough water so that it fully dissolves (about an ounce of water or so per 1 level tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of MTQ.)
    Inject the solution as Pops describes in his tutorial, making sure you inject a good portion near the bone.
    Keep the needle in the ham for a minute or so after injecting, that'll help force the solution into the meat and minimize leakage.
    Pat the ham dry.
    Rub on the remaining dry MTQ, taking special care to get a good portion on and around the bone ends.
    Place the ham in a covered container such as a meat lug on something like a plastic cutting board (so the ham is not setting in any liquid.)
    After one week, carefully rub more MTQ on and around the the bone ends only.
    Cure for 3.5 to 4 weeks.
    Finish as Pops describes in his tutorial.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  7. papajohn47

    papajohn47 Newbie


    Thanks for the great feedback. See, I said that I was a newbie and didn't know what I was doing. I think that this will not be done by Christmas, and I would rather do it right instead of fast. I just put that monster back into the refridgerator to thaw properly. I suspect that it will take 3-5 days to thaw. The only thing that I have big enough to brine this ham is a big cooler. So I will adjust the brine mixture so that the entire leg can be covered with brine. Thanks for information. I read Pops thread, but I will re-read it several times as I process this. Thanks also for the list of ingredients. What is cure #1 and or cure #2? Where can I find the stocking net that Pops used. That looked like a boning knife, will I need to get one of those?.

    Thanks again for all the information.
  8. It may take as much as a week for a ham that big to fully thaw.

    Here's an article that describes the differences between various cures.

    A boning knife would be nice, but it's not essential.

    You can get the stockinettes from or Butcher and Packer.

    If you'll send me your address in a PM, I'll mail you a stockinette, there's no sense buying a bunch of them if you're only doing one ham.

    If you can't find cure #1 locally, and would like to brine the ham with MTQ, let me know and I'll post instructions.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012

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