From Hog Leg to Easter Ham!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by pops6927, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---Good correction there Dan.

    He might not mind being cured, but not held in the fridge at 40˚.

  2. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    POP'S you threads are informative and interesting .Keep up the good work.[​IMG]  Thank you for sharing. Easter is next weekend are you doing another Q-view.I'll keep a eye out.
  3. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Good looking ham[​IMG]
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops.  Great post as always.  Nice meat and great pics of the family.  I can't help myself, though?  It aint often we can see Pops holding his boner.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, not this year, the stars didn't line up properly for it, lol.  Initially I checked into prices and fresh hams were over $2.00/lb.  Pretty high, but for the sake of a custom cured and smoked product it would have been feasible.  Then, for the last 8 weeks have been working 6½ days a week fighting to retain my job of the last 16 years, and to top off that end they pulled a full store inventory on each of us for last weekend, and the final cut is that I am working alone Easter Day open to close so my employees could enjoy the non-holiday (company view).  One good thing is, the day after Easter I will get my first full day off in the past 2+ months (provided one of my employee's wife doesn't go into labor that day!).  After 2 strokes, however, I'm just glad to still have a job; but that's why I've not done much smoking in recent months.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Pops,

    I got a question for you, and anyone else who wants to chime in.

    I finally decided to give double smoking Ham a shot, so I got a couple Hams on sale to experiment with.

    I got fully cooked & smoked "Shank" ends for 79¢ per pound.

    Why is this particular item so cheap?

    A lot of bone?

    Too much fat?

    I mean the shanks were 79¢, and the butt end hams were 99¢.

    Everything else was over $2 per pound.

    BTW: I bought 2 of them---11 pounds each.

    It says on them, "cook to 130˚", but I might take them to 140˚ to 150˚. I'll be keeping a close eye on them, once they hit 130˚.

    We've been paying a fortune for the best Double Smoked Hams in SouthEast PA for many years. I just want to try that myself.


  7. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    This is a great thread and I am bumping it up for you new guys that have not seen it....
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We need a Pops Wiki!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Like a best of pops wit and wisdom.I'd read it.[​IMG]
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depends on what cut you have, Bear - shank portion is quite a bit cheaper as it's had center cut slices removed, whereas shank half is more expensive because they're not.  Portions are more skin, bone and fat and not much useable meat.
  11. Great Thread.

    Earlier pop said something about to many pictures and on another thread i read something about to much smoke.

    This is just not a concept for me i dont under stand. One can never have to much art or smoke.



    Love the smoke
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops!

  13. smokin - k

    smokin - k Meat Mopper

    I'm picking up a 17 pound leg today to make a ham... I will be following your lead! Looks great! Happy Smoking, Smokin - K
  14. billyj571

    billyj571 Smoking Fanatic

    Thats great to pass down you knowledge to your sons great job wish I had a mentor to learn from but I have this forum and a great bunch of SMF friends 
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  15. Thanks for the motivation Pops and the advice.  Finished a 15 day cure on a 10lb half ham (butt end). Through it on the smoker this morning after a 12 hour marinade in a rub. Doing the cracklings and rendering lard from the skin tonight over a couple of adult beverages. Here's a shot at about 3 hours in on the smoker.


    Apple wood smoked. Gonna do a bourbon glaze to finish it off.
  16. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I ran across this earlier and thought it needed to be re-posted because it was just so informative.....Thanks Pops great post [​IMG].....BTW I'm knee deep in some BBB using your recipe....if it comes out half as good as that ham looks I'm going to be in trouble.... I didn’t make enough....[​IMG]
  17. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  18. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First and foremost, we must use the correct terminology.  We are using Cure #1 with Sodium Nitrite, not Nitrate.

    You follow the brine formula.  You add the prescribed amounts per gallon.  You do not increase the proportions; the dilution remains constant whether you are using 1 gallon or 50 gallons.  You can throw the ham in a 100 gallon vat of brine and it will cure at the same rate as in 2 gallons of brine because you are not increasing the concentration.

    Wieght is one of many factors, as is strength of concentration.

    MAXIMUM strength of concentration is shown on the package label:


    24 lbs. per 100 gallons of brine is 1/100 of 24 lbs, or 1/100 of 384 ounces, or 3.84 ounces.  Maximum strength for nitrite cure is 3.84 oz/gal of brine.  

    My recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cure #1 per gallon.  A heaping tablespoon of cure is approx. 1 oz.  This is almost ¼ the maximum amount of curing agent allowed, so we are accomplishing curing with a much lower concentration of curing agent.  Safety is of the utmost.  

    The length of curing time is longer; my dad maintained, and backed up by NYS Meat Inspection with test after test done, that a milder brine in a longer cure time will achieve the same or better results with less toxicity and produce a flavorful product and more tender with no harsh chemical aftertastes as compared to modern "maximum-strength" cures with shorter brining times.  That is why his brining is much lower concentration and still effective.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  19. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I cannot positively remember what the ppm was, it was 35 years ago and I didn't have privy to the State's records, they were kept under lock and key (the State Inspector require his own locked office and locking desk; one time the Bigwig Regional Director came and p.o'd dad off so much when he insisted dad get him a coat rack to hang his coat on, dad took a 16 penny nail and drove it right through his coat and hung it on the wall.... lol.... he got a $500 fine for that one but dad said it was worth every penny to see the look on the Regional Director's face when he nailed his coat to the wall!).  I think it was around 80 ppm because I remember Mike (the local state inspector) going over the figures from a recent (35 yrs ago) test and 80 was right where it should have been.

    Yes, Cure #1 contains sodium nitrite.  see:

    Cure #2 contains sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate.  see:

    Explanation from one of many sources:

    "...and another quick question about the time, when you say "Longer" are you recommending that a 25#'s leg be left 30 days, and is that "10 days longer" than other stronger brines? and would 15 days still be considered "longer" for 10#'s, and would 7 or 8 days be long enough for a small 5# piece?..."

    Yes, that is about right on the times, it's based on weight and size and strength of brine.  All three weights under maximum brine concentration would be at least ½ - 1/3 the time; stronger cure, shorter cure time, more chemicals and less quality.
  20. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As long as you don't go below the minimum.  If you use what I recommend, 1 tbsp / gal., you will have sufficient qty to cure your product and protect yourself from botulism and still be less than what you'd eat in a green tossed salad.  You consume more nitrites in other natural foods than you ever will in smoked meats; 

    Vegetables With Nitrites

    • In terms of vegetables, green leafy ones and root vegetables contain high levels of nitrate that are converted to nitrites on ingestion. Vegetables such as beetroot, radish, lettuce and spinach have high levels of nitrate which can convert into nitrites. Lettuce and spinach have especially high levels of nitrate. You will also find nitrates and consequently nitrites in carrots as well. The levels of nitrates depend upon the age of the vegetable and how much of a nitrate based fertilizer was used on it.



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