I think I messed up my whole ham injection - advice appreciated! Pop's Brine

Discussion in 'Curing' started by starwars1138, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Hi All,

    I butchered a half hog the other day for the first time (man... I could fill pages with observations and thoughts about that endeavor).  Ended up with about an 18lb bone in ham (aitch bone removed).

    I mixed up 2 gallons of Pop's Brine (the full salt version) and tried to inject along the bone lines.  Sadly. I don't think my needle was long enough (one of the many take-aways of the whole process of home butchery has been, "Don't try to get by with half-arse equipment!" - which applies to my lousy injector).  So I tried my best to come in from the outside - and just spot inject where I thought I could get close to the hone.  I also just shot up some of the thicker sections thinking that any help I could give it wouldn't hurt.

    So... is it possible to over-inject?  I realize the point of injecting along the bone line is to allow it cure from both inside and out (and that bone areas are the most susceptible to spoilage).  Should I go to the store, get a real injector, mix up another half gallon of brine and try again (its been in the brine since thursday afternoon - about 40 hours)?

    Anyway - I would appreciate some advice.  My guess is that I'm probably ok... with as much as I pumped in there, and the fact that I know the brine was made properly, and the fact that I plan to let it cure the full 30 days.  But after the amount of work (and money) that went into sourcing a locally raised, pastured, heritage breed hog (Mulefoot, Large Black cross) and then butchering it in my kitchen, I'm scared to death to lose a single pound of meat.  I'd love a little reassurance or guidance from you experts out there.


  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I bet you are going to be fine. Keep that ham submerged in the brine and let er go. Watch your brine if it starts to get Ropey you will want to make a new batch. I had that happen on the last picnic I cured. It was about half way done and I had to change out the brine. Everything turned out great and the ham was fantastic!
  3. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Isn't it silly?  I feel as anxious about this as I did about my first kid being born...  After all, its just meat!

    Thanks for the tip - I've done some research on Ropey brine and will look out for it.  I'm guessing that you know it when you see it?  Is it worth the hassle to re-arrange the ham in the brine so make sure that all parts have open contact to the brine (rather than touching the side of a bucket and not making contact with the liquid) - or am I WAY over-thinking this?
  4. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with Case, I think it will be fine. I've cured quite a bit with Pop's brine. I only had ropey brine 1 time and I think it was because the gallon ziplock bag leaked and changed the brine strength.

    I'm a few weeks away from butchering my first pig. I'm curious if you know how big your pig was to have 18 lb hams. That is exactly the size hams want.
  5. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Hey Woodcutter - thanks for the additional reassurance.  I'm more worried about penetration of the brine than I am the ropey brine (will cross that road if I come to it).

    I'm planning to put together a long post with details on the butcher process - any suggestions as to the sub-forum to post it to?
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes I would rearrange the ham every 2-3 days, can't hurt.
  7. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pork>>> Meat Selection and Processing.

    I'm really interested in your post. I've butchered a lot of deer and understand the anatomy of the pig but my head is working over time on this project.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Have a hard time wrapping my head around the whole injection thing. Thanks to a rookie mistake on my part while curing some BBB I had to inject some brine. Seemed like it seeped out as fast as I was pushing it in. There was some areas where the meat would swell out while injected, and stayed puffy while I was reseal ing the bag...
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Inject a little bit and massage the meat while the needle is in it.... move the needle and repeat.....
  11. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Initial draft posted woodcutter! More to follow.
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh yeah baby! Massage it!
  13. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    For anyone who was interested, I made up anothe batch of brine that I was sure about with respect to salinity and injected some of that as well.  I'll post back in a few weeks once it comes out of the dunk and hits the smoker.  

    Thanks for all the input!

Share This Page