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Thread: Anyone dry cure pork hams, etc?

  1. #1

    Anyone dry cure pork hams, etc?

    Anyone on here cure their own pork (hams, bacon, etc) as I'm after some advice about doing some for the 1st time. I bought half a pig and got 2 front legs (I assume they are classed as hocks) complete with trotters in the freezer and was toying with the idea of dry curing one of them. I have some prague powder #1 & #2 but am unsure which to use.

    Can anyone help please with a dry cure mix and what to do with the hock after curing? I have my hot and cold smoker as options and I assume it would need cooking properly after curing or cold smoking?

    Cheers

    Stratts
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  2. #2
    Stratts, I can't help with a mix for curing nor any advise on how to do it as I never have, but I do get a couple of cured hams every year from my Belgian guests.
    The hams need to be soaked in cold water usually two three days with frequent water changes, then boiled again with a water change half way through , then finally roasted so quite a lot of work, skip on the water changes and they are to salty to eat.

  3. #3
    A mate does it really well, but he claims lean meat cures better, and must be freshly killed and chilled to start the process, not sure if frozen is good, will call him up and mail you a few tips.

  4. #4
    Just brought a book called the fully updated sausage book by Paul Peacock, has quite a bit in it about curing, not easy in this damp climate but can be done
    certainly worth a read

  5. #5
    Thanks chaps I've just trawled the web and found out that frozen hocks are ok to cure if they are slowly defrosted in the fridge. I've also found a couple of American recipes using saltpetre but am unsure of the equivalent prague powder. And they use about 20lb of salt!!
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  6. #6
    hi stratts i do my own cure, i use supa cure and brown suggar ie sweet cure, it works very well and the hams are nice and tight in 7 working days. we have done 10 pigs this year all home grown, never smoked a ham yet but going to try it this year. give me a pm and i can talk you through it. atb Davie

  7. #7
    here's some good info on this site works for me, atb wayne
    Cured Meats: Prosciutto Crudo

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  8. #8
    What do you want to produce, Stratts? A dry-cured product like a Parma style ham? Or the likes of a gammon that you'll need to cook? By far the easiest way for a first attempt is to make up a wet brine for a gammon. You'll get a superb result and won't need to worry about temperatures and humidity whilst curing. The brine bucket can be left in a cool shed, but shouldn't be allowed to get too cold as the cure won't then take properly

    As a basic rule of thumb, Cure1 is used where the product is to be cooked, while Cure2 is used for the likes of air-dried products like salami, chorizo, etc.

    A basic brine for a gammon would be 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 40g Cure1 (that's about half the USDA recommended maximum so you'll well inside recommended limits) There's a lot of talk about nitrites being the bad guy of curing, but the negatives can all be safely ignored as long as you're careful. The body metabolises nitrite as a basic process of digestion so it's a naturally-occurring substance. In any case, botulism will carry you off far quicker than any imagined nitrite-related nonsense. One well-known 'chef' is on record as calls their bacon 'nitrite free' as they use celery juice as a 'cure'.............guess what that's really high in? Yep, naturally occurring nitrite

    Anyway, if you go with this, trim the meat of any bloody bits & sinew, and if you can inject the joint with a brining syringe to get the brine into the centre all the better. You don't need to do this, but it means you'll need to leave the gammon in longer so the cure can take hold. Incidentally, the pink colour of gammon is due to the nitrite. Give it 3 days per kilo plus an extra couple of days then either cold smoke it, or simmer it as it is before finishing it with a classic glaze.

    That's a pretty basic method, but as I said you'll get a pretty much guaranteed result which should whet your appetite. Don't be tempted to take it out of the cure early as the centre of the meat won't be cured. It'll taste fine, but you'll end up with the meat being a pale grey colour where the brine didn't have time to penetrate.


    if you go for dry-curing for air-drying you're looking at months before it'll be ready for consumption, and the techniques and risks of spoiling are high. I'd recommend a gammon to begin with, and read up as much as you can. Maynard Davies is really good, as is anything by Michael Ruhlman or Brian Polcyn, to name a couple
    A Man should be wise, but never too wise. He who does not know his fate in advance is free of care

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=scotlanddeerstalking;932104]hi stratts i do my own cure, i use supa cure and brown suggar ie sweet cure, it works very well and the hams are nice and tight in 7 working days. we have done 10 pigs this year all home grown, never smoked a ham yet but going to try it this year. give me a pm and i can talk you through it. atb Davie[/QUOTE

    Sweetcure ham, all homegrown sounds good to me. I would gladly buy some. You are not far from me either.

  10. #10
    River cottage stuff is pretty good loads of recipes on curing. An american website called something like hunter angler garden cook is full of recipes and surgestions the guy is called hank Shaw once you find it you will read for ages. I read a load of stuff about nitrates like salt peter and nitrites like inst cures or Prague powder and the problem seems to be blending the saltpetre in dry cures and accurately weighing the stuff if you get it right nice pink hams get it wrong and you might not like it doubt it would kill you but its the worry that puts me off, I did some venison hams with salt peter I ate them but didn't want my kids eating much, not very scientific but just my opinion

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