Ham curing question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by nakom, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. nakom

    nakom Fire Starter

    If you can dry cure a ham at high temp why cant you brine cure one as long as you keep it sealed?


  2. The more diluted the salt/cure, the longer it takes to complete a stable cure....brines are obviously less concentrated than a dry cure. Consequently, the longer it takes for a piece of meat to fully cure, the more likely it is to spoil, especially if conditions are not right.
    By curing at a high temperature, especially at the beginning of the cure, you risk losing your hams or making yourself sick.

    Here's the basic procedure for Country Ham.


    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nakom, morning.......

    Where are you reading "High Temp".... What temp ????   What method are they using ????   What cure are they using ???

    Sounds to me you are trying to mix 2 or more methods of curing meat..... 

    I may have this wrong but, there are many cures and methods for curing meats and all of them have variables that have been taken into account for health reasons.... 

    Curing meats for sausage, bacon, hams, salamis, pepperonis,  etc. are all different.... mixing and matching recipes is very dangerous and some results could be life threatening.... 

    What is it you want to cure ???  What method are you wanting to use ???  Help us out here so we can give you some safe solutions to your question.....   Dave
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    it is important to point out that the more diluted the cure brine the more cure/brine that has to be absorbed by the meat.  The standard 2000 ppm sodium nitrite cure/brine with a 10% by weight absorption in the meat gives you the 200 ppm concentration of sodium nitrite called for by the USDA    If you use a 1000 ppm sodium nitrite cure/brine you have to have a 20% absorption by weight.

    If using an injection where you inject cure/brine to increase the weight of the bacon by 10% you can get by with 5 days cure/soak time instead of the commonly recommended 10 days for a straight soak.

    I am using the bacon example because I have these numbers handy.  The procedure for hams is different but the logic is the same.  Follow a good recipe and confirm the concentrations you are using by doing the math and then compare it to USDA standards.  When doing things like injecting and then dry curing your are combining two different procedures and the calculations are a bit different.

    Good luck

  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Also when you are talking about a Cured Country Ham ageing in a 80*F barn...It didn't Start there. The Salting/Cure was applied at a 30-40*F temp in Nov or Dec with a huge amount of Salt. Then by the time 6 months passes and it is June, July and HOT...The Ham is so Salty and DRIED out that Bacteria can't thrive...Way different situation than a Month in a bucket of Pops Ham Brine...JJ
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    In response to the High Temp comments.

    High temps are considered to be in the 50 to 60 degree range and you are using Cure 2, a sodium nitrite / sodium nitrate cure.   The sodium nitrate it converted to sodium nitrite by bacterial action.  The sodium nitrite is converted to NO by moisture, heat and I believe it is low pH.   If curing at high temps you will be using Cure 2 and possibly bacterial cultures that produce environments that are not suitable for the growth of most pathogenic bacteria. 

    If curing at higher then normal refrigerator temperatures you are presenting a wonderful environment for the growth of pathogenic bacteria and your attention the cure procedures is very important.  There is little room for error when curing at room temperature.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  7. nakom

    nakom Fire Starter

    thanks for all the replys,  I plan on Using Pops brine reciepe and since i just got both my hogs back from the butcher i just dont have space to cure them in the fridge for 30 days.  I have 2 freezers and 2 refrigerators and they are all full.  Once i get the bacon done i will have more room but 4 whole hams off a 333lbs and 314lbs pig are pretty big.

    I will say the butcher said they were outstanding looking hogs and he said if i do another batch will i raise one for him?  I took that as a huge complement.

  8. You may want to consider banking them in the freezer until you can free-up some fridge space.
    Curing them above safe temperature would be extremely un-wise.

  9. Alternately you could buy a couple good sized drainless camping coolers and brine in them.
    Using some frozen 2 liter pop bottles of water floating in the brine too keep things at safe temperature, be sure to monitor the temperature closely....2-3 times a day.
    I've brined turkeys that way short term, but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work for a longer brine if you keep things impeccably clean and at a safe temperature.

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  10. nakom

    nakom Fire Starter

    thanks, I was also thinking about the coolers that you can plug in.

Share This Page