Store Bought Ham vs. Homemade Saltiness

Discussion in 'Pork' started by itstom, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. itstom

    itstom Newbie

    So here's the question(s), and I know it might be hard to qualify, but is there any reason to believe that a ham I brine cure and smoke at home has any less salt per serving that a commercial product I buy at the store?

    Maybe they use more salt because they need a faster cure? Other than taste, does anyone have a basis for their opinion?


  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Other than old school Country Ham, the Dry Cured style that has to be soaked for days before cooking. Store bought City Hams seem to have gone down in Salt over the last 30 years. Folks have become label savvy and health concerns drive the market. In any event, You most certainly can make Ham with Less Salt than Store bought...Let's put some Numbers down...[​IMG]  

    Cook's Ham is popular in my area and is just slightly salty for my taste. From their label... 

    1540mg Sodium (per serving)  /  .4 (Salt is 40% Na)  =  3850mg Salt  /  113g (serving size 4oz)  =  34.07  X .1 =  3.4% Salt in Cook's Ham...

    Yes there is Salt in the Cure #1 But contributes approx .2% to the total salt in the Ham with around 156ppm Sodium Nitrite.

    Lots of guys here make their Ham and DaveOmak has a nice Recipe that uses 2% Salt in the Brine with extensive detail on how its done.

    So, Store City Hams vary a bit but based on my palate, seem to hover around 3%, had some saltier ones that would probably be 4%. You can make yours to Your desired Salt % but I would not go below 1.5% or the risk of Spoilage during the cure time goes up. Dave's 2% has good flavor and no risk with spoilage...JJ
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016

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