Help with smoking a ham

Discussion in 'Pork' started by tatts4life, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. So last year I bought a fresh ham from Smithfield. I added my own spices and it was a huge hit with everybody. This year for thanksgiving I bought a fresh ham but it ended up being a generic fresh ham from Harris Teeter instead of a Smithfield one. So I put it in a brine, smoked it until it was 165. Looked awesome and smelled even better. But when I sliced into it it was more of the consistency and flavor of pork chops. So my question is how do I get the flavor and texture of what is expected from a ham and not taste like a different cut? Is there a certain step for fresh ham I need to do? Or is there a type of ham I can brine my own to add my flavors and not have any competing flavors that are added from the manufacturer?
  2. BBQ Pit Boys has a great Bourbon Glazed Ham recipe using a fresh ham.
  3. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    um, you forgot to cure it?
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    A Fresh Ham is usually sold as an uncured back leg. If you just make a brine without Cure #1 (Sodium Nitrite) you end up with nothing different in taste than a brined Pork Butt. If you wish to have a classic Christmas Smoked Ham, that is, a City Ham as apposed to a Dry Cured and Smoked Country Ham that has to be soaked for days in fresh water, you need to make your brine of choice and add 1-2T Cure #1 per gallon of water, inject 10% of the weight of the ham and let it brine cure for 3-4 weeks. In other words, it ain't going to be ready for this Christmas. Take a look at Pops Brine and Ham recipe. You can add your flavoring ingredients, but his procedure and recipe is super simple and gives consistent results. Your other option is to buy a Smoked Ham, your choice and Double Smoke/cook it for the holiday. Lots of guys do it and get great results. Bearcarvers tutorial, below, is very good...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  5. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i'm sorry. i have to disagree with jimmy. a fresh ham is nothing like a butt. it is much leaner. it doesn't have all the marbling n connective tissue that make butt ideal for smoking. i don't smoke them for that reason, but people here do, so i guess it works, but i bet anything it's not as yum as a butt.

    i've done dozens of fresh hams in the oven. it's a family tradition. due to the  dryness of the meat, we roast it the day before, then marinate overnite in mushroom sauce.

    now that i'm smoking everything in sight, i'm curing a ham to smoke it.

    if you have good equipment, dave's brine n very slow smoke is a good option. that's what i'm trying because his cure takes 10 days, pop's  takes 30.
  6. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Roast then marinate? Can you elaborate? Do you heat it up for serving?
  7. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    yeah, that sounds odd, right? it's an old polish recipe. it's super, tho/

     the ham sits on a bed of carrots, celery n onions. the roasting pan is filled with chicken stock, maybe a little white wine, but it doesn't touch the meat. as the meat cooks the drippings go into the broth, making a stock.

    when the ham is done, you strain it n simmer with lots of both dry n fresh mushrooms.

    the hard part is cutting up all that ham, to let it sit in the sauce.

    this is fun for xmas. you do all the work xmas eve n just heat it to eat on xmas day.,
  8. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you. Gotta try it. Roasted pork swimming in mushroom concoction... That can only taste good. Probably a good approach for leftover ham and turkey.
  9. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i forgot to mention something. when you use dried mushrooms you soak them in  hot water to plump them up, right?

    well, you strain that water getting rid of sand n add it. more mushroom flavor.

    lemme know if you try it.
  10. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Of course...not my first time around dried shrooms.

    I will post when I get to do this.

    Thanks for the explanations.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I apologize for not being more detailed and specific. I was not comparing a Fresh Ham to a Butt in terms of the wonderful tender texture, delicious fat content and exceptional juiciness of the finished product. I merely was trying to to point out that a Ham (rear leg) without cure #1 is virtually no different in flavor to a big hunk of Smoked/Roasted Pork. I meant the Hammy flavor and pink color comes from the cure. Without cure, excluding those qualities mentioned above, the smoked Ham would result in a finished product that " tastes " like a Smoked Butt, Picnic Shoulder or even a Loin. I am thinking along the lines of the pulled or chopped and mixed meat of a Whole Hog...Ooopps...[​IMG]...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  12. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    gotcha, jimmy. i shoulda realized  that.

    i mostly wanted to point out that uncured fresh ham may not be the best choice for smoking.

    that's why i bot nitrates n a syringe. i have high hopes for an actual ham.

    so far, it looks like curing a ham isn't that hard.
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Curing and smoking a ham is not hard at all. The most important thing is not to over cook it when smoking it. An IT of 145-150  will give a finished IT of 150-155°F. This is a temp where the meat proteins do not completely denature and shrivel squeezing all their moisture out. The ham maintains that tender velvety texture that sets it apart from the stringy drier meat of a smoked fresh ham. Best of luck with your's...JJ
  14. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    jimmy, i had intended to smoke to 165. would it be fully cooked n safe at 155?

    with no further cooking?
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yep...The final internal temp for cooked pork, cured or not, is 145° according to the USDA. This temp is plenty to kill the Trichinella parasites. The cure will take care of Clostridium Botulinum so both of the most dangerous bugs are eliminated by 145°F. There is a risk of the ham getting stringy and dry at 165 and carryover can take it to 175 making the texture undesirable...JJ
  16. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    thanks jimmy. you saved me from a major screw up.

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