Wet Curing Window Of Time Question...........

Discussion in 'Curing' started by gltrap54, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. gltrap54

    gltrap54 Newbie

    Only going to have a week to wet cure a raw, bone in, whole ham (sans the shank) ........ FWIW the ham will be injected before curing......... The formula I've been using is one day of curing for every two pounds of ham & most of these hams will run around 18 pounds...... Will a couple of days of curing make a great deal of difference?
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can't rush curing.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The cure needs time to distribute. Cutting the time short can likely end up with patches of uncured meat. If at all possible, it is ok to long then smoke when you have time again...JJ
  4. gltrap54

    gltrap54 Newbie

    Thanks folks for chiming in! Guess this only confirms what I already knew......... Did the search here & saw a thread suggesting 2-3 weeks for a wet cured ham......... In my mind (what's left of it), I perceive a ham cured this long as being much to salty for my taste...... While I have only been wet curing hams a couple of years, the one day/two pound method, plus injection (using a recipe very similar to the aforementioned thread) seems to work, but on the other hand, I don't have any longer cures to compare it to.....

    My actual smoking career spans more than two decades with Jeff's brining method being used on my turkeys/poultry for the past decade...... Now I know about the muscle structure of poultry being different than that of pork, but it just seems like 2-3 weeks would be too long.....

    Also, does the fact that I inject before curing do anything to expedite the curing process?
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is pretty basically what I have lived by and I have yet to me disappointed.

    Curing Times

    “Curing times vary with meat, but generally overnight to 2-3 days for chickens and turkeys, 8-10 days buckboard bacon, 10-14 days belly bacon, pork shoulder, whole butts, 3-4 weeks whole hams, 10-20 days corned beef (fresh beef roasts, briskets, rolled rib roasts, etc.)   If whole muscle is more than 2" thick, then inject so it can cure i/o as well as o/i, and/or in and around bone structures, etc.”

    I have seen some try a vacuum wet cure but really seems best used for thinner sliced meats like steaks & Chops.

    Any time you have meat over 2" thick OR a bone in, I always inject. It is like a simple and easy guarantee. Why wouldn't you. I visualize a 2" grid pattern on the meat and hit it about as close as I can to square.

    You have to realize that within a larger cut of meat there are different layers and densities of meat. You have fats, tendons, cartilage, and you want to transverse thru all of them.

    OK, heres a picture of a good example of a piece of thick uninjected meat (which was intentional BTW).

    See what I am talking about towards layers and densities?

    Its just too easy to take the time to inject to ensure a quality cured meat not to do it.

    But the bottom line is, whatever works for you is how to do it. We will all agree here that there are lots of ways to achieve the same end.  We basically want to suggest safety concerns as being the only exact science.

    I have no problem extending the cure past the due dates, but pulling early is like Russian roulette.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The saltiness of your Ham is determined by the amount of salt in the brine you injected or soak it in...Not how long you let it cure. 1 week or 3 months no difference if the injected brine is not to salty, say 2% of the meats weight. Now if it was a Dry Cured Ham like a Prosciutto or Country Ham where the meat is packed in an abundace of Salt. Then curing it the proper number of days is critical so too much is not absorbed. It is a little unclear if you just injected 10% of the ham weight and resting or injected some of your brine and then are soaking the ham in the rest of the brine? Either way, the percentage of salt used, not time, determines how salty the finished product will be...In general you can count on brines penetrating 1/4" from all sides per day or about 1 Day for every1/2" of thickness. So a 12" thick ham will take around 24 days to cure. Most guys add a few days to CYA and equilize, for a total of 28 days (4 Weeks). Injecting speeds up the process compared to just soaking...JJ
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  7. gltrap54

    gltrap54 Newbie

    I should of been more specific about my injecting method....... I'm injecting some of the brine that the ham will soak in, using this injector....... Being sure to inject around the bone......

    I guess my primary concern for using (or not) extended cure time has been the threat of "over curing"........ This thread debunks that notion........ I just assumed that if a turkey could be over brined, so could a wet cured ham....

    The recipe I'm using consists of : 2 cups brown sugar

                                                     1 1/2 cups Kosher salt

                                                     1/2 cup pickling spice

                                                     8 tsp pink salt

                                                     2 gallons tap water

    All ingredients are added to the tap water & allowed to simmer on the stove top, then cooled before injecting and adding the ham to the remaining solution......
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The issue with Turkey's and Brine is a strong brine, 1Cup Salt per Gallon, can cause the meat to get a bit mushy if brined more than 24 hours. This is not an issue with Pork as the muscle is different and actually benefits from the long time in the Brine, it get more tender. That injector is nice. I too use less salt at 1/2C Morton Kosher per Gallon of Brine with no salty issues...JJ
  11. gltrap54

    gltrap54 Newbie

    Appreciate all the good info here on wet curing folks! My future cures will be much longer......[​IMG]
    Agree......... I've read in the past that heating the pink salt is an issue, something I can easily change...... Pop's recipe is on my radar as well.......

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