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mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Hey y'all. It has been a minute since I've posted a cooking thread, so I thought I'd start one about one of my favorite annual holiday traditions - one without which, for me, the holidays just wouldn't be the holidays.

¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ holiday ham ¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪



last year's ham, pictured

I grew up, like a lot of families I'm sure, eating holiday ham every year on christmas eve. Our family always just got a Honey Baked Ham™® ℠ - which I always looked forward to, and still to this day think is a perfectly tasty ham.

About 5 or 6 years back though, I discovered how amazingly better heritage breed pork can taste than grocery store nonsense, and also discovered I had a perfect source at my local farmers market. We get via Berkwood Farms (formerly Eden's Farms), excellent berkshire pork that has amazing marbling, great flavor, and makes some of the best bacon I've ever tasted.

This year, I figured I'd document the process a little, since it's really easy, and you end up with really amazing results if you start with a good product.

Here's this year's fresh ham - just #lookatthatfatcapson



So, the first step is to get your ham. You want to ask your butcher for a 'fresh ham', about 10-16lbs in weight. You want the shank end, with the iconic ham shape. My butcher is usually happy to break out the bandsaw on a whole ham and let me kind of indicate where to cut. This one ended up being about 14.5lbs, which cost about $43. Not bad at all - that's still less than a honeybaked ham by a large margin.

First step is to trim off your excess fat, and render it out for another purpose. (or not, if you want glorious slices of ham with 1" thick fat cap attached)



Here's my ham trimmed up. You can tell how much fat to cut off by feeling the firmness of the fat. It's like judging the doneness of a steak, but in reverse. If when touching the fat it's completely solid, you need to take fat off. If it's firm but has some give, you're getting close, and if it's soft like a blue steak, you've probably gone too far.

Next step is preparing a brine for your ham. Brine proportions are very important, since you'll be curing raw meat for over a week in your fridge. Measure everything BY WEIGHT - better accurate than just winging it with charcuterie. I'll just quote Ruhlman on measurements, because I've tried a few different mixes over the years and I like his the best. also because I e-mailed him a few questions once and he actually replied in pretty great detail, so the guy is aight by me.

quote:

1 gal water
350g kosher salt (mortons I prefer)
360g dark brown sugar
42g pink salt (you can buy it here : http://www.butcher-packer.com/index...&products_id=55)

I think Ruhlman uses a little bit excessive amount of pink salt, and I also like my ham a bit more intense than his recipe, so this year I ended up with :

quote:

1 gal water
380g kosher salt (mortons I prefer)
380g cane sugar
40g sorghum syrup
35g pink salt (you can buy it here : http://www.butcher-packer.com/index...&products_id=55)

I guess I just told you to measure everything really carefully, and then I changed the recipe - so what gives? Mostly the salt. Salt can vary massively by volume depending on the brand (mortons vs diamond vs table salt vs sea salt vs whatever), so you need to measure the salt. And of course, measuring pink salt is always mandatory, you don't wanna gently caress around too much with that. 100g vs 35-42 would be a huge mistake.



spices!
You can really get creative here. I think mandatory are clove and anise. I typically boil a small portion of my water and steep spices like a tea for 30 mins, dissolve my salt and sugar well, then add ice and more water to make up a gallon.

I add a good amount of :
  • clove
  • anise
  • garlic
  • bay leaves
  • black peppercorns
  • black cardamom
  • juniper berries
  • pinch of herbs de provence.

just how I roll. feel free to roll in your own, different direction. use smoked paprika for all I care, it's your goddqamn ham christ

injecting

finally, before you drop your ham into your brine bucket, you need to inject your ham with some cure. I have done it both ways, and I feel like the cure is just a lot more even and well done when injected. One time I cured a ham and didn't inject, and close to the bone was just normal pork, with the outside cured properly, and it was really weird and probably marginally unsafe to eat. still was loving delicious thooo #yoho (#uyha)



I tried to point out an artery here, but it's hard to see. IRL its really blatant. Inject first a good amount of cure into the pig's artery - it's like a natural delivery system for cure! I also inject a few times close to the bone on both sides, as well once or twice into the deepest parts of the flesh. seems to work nicely.

drop your ham into your brine, and leave it for about 7-10 days, depending on size. (7 for closer to 10-12 pounds, 9-10 for closer to 15-16+lbs.) I'll leave mine about 8.5 for a 14ish lb ham. Injecting really helps speed things along here though.

that's all for now - more pics as the cure finishes and I smoke this year's ham - let me know if you have any questions or need any tips on hammery!

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The Midniter
Jul 9, 2001



Cool process, I'm interested to see more.


Have you ever done a completely fresh ham, without brining/curing/smoking it? We used to have it for Xmas dinner every year just absolutely stuffed to the gills with whole cloves of garlic, then roasted until done. It's one of my favorite holiday meals ever, especially since I don't particularly care for cured ham (don't kill me...I'd eat yours).

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


I put it in my fermentation fridge about 36 hours ago, and it's already starting to look rosy.



it's a good idea to stir up your cure and overhaul your ham every 24 hours or so.

I've had a ham cure more on one side than another because I guess like the bottom half of the brine liquid supersaturates with salt and sugar, and then the top layer has a lesser concentration or something? given, that time I pretty much just left the ham in the cure without touching it for a week straight.

anyways, protip : stir your ham++

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


The Midniter posted:

Cool process, I'm interested to see more.


Have you ever done a completely fresh ham, without brining/curing/smoking it? We used to have it for Xmas dinner every year just absolutely stuffed to the gills with whole cloves of garlic, then roasted until done. It's one of my favorite holiday meals ever, especially since I don't particularly care for cured ham (don't kill me...I'd eat yours).

yes I have cooked pork.

I lived in the UK for a year during my postgraduate program, and a favorite was sunday roast with pork belly. you basically just do what you're describing, stud a fatty roast with garlic and herbs and roast/braise. the skin goes cracklin' and the meat gets falling apart.

it's alright, but it ain't no ham. (and roast pork needs puddings and gravy, which smoked and cured ham aint need none of)

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

Well, mindphlux, this is a good thread that doesn't deserve page 2 status so close to Christmas. Our ham is currently defrosting, so it allows me to bring another question to bear: do you all glaze your hams during baking? The family likes it when I do a mixture of honey, mustard, and orange juice which is pretty traditional for us, and of course when i do this I score the ham and stud it with lots of cloves.

Crusty Nutsack
Apr 21, 2005



Mr. Wiggles posted:

Well, mindphlux, this is a good thread that doesn't deserve page 2 status so close to Christmas. Our ham is currently defrosting, so it allows me to bring another question to bear: do you all glaze your hams during baking? The family likes it when I do a mixture of honey, mustard, and orange juice which is pretty traditional for us, and of course when i do this I score the ham and stud it with lots of cloves.

That glaze sounds delicious, never thought to do orange. I'm a total sucker for pineapple with ham. My glaze is usually pineapple jam (homemade, but whatever will do) and mustard with cloves holding on some pineapple slices. Gotta eat that roasted pineapple on ham sandwiches yessssss

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Mr. Wiggles posted:

Well, mindphlux, this is a good thread that doesn't deserve page 2 status so close to Christmas. Our ham is currently defrosting, so it allows me to bring another question to bear: do you all glaze your hams during baking? The family likes it when I do a mixture of honey, mustard, and orange juice which is pretty traditional for us, and of course when i do this I score the ham and stud it with lots of cloves.

Yeah, I'm a little surprised there isn't more interest. To me, curing a ham is like everything cool about cooking. salting and preserving meat, adding flavors through brines, smoking technique, a sense of overabundance/festivity, and an awesome presentation. Ohwell!

I glaze during the last 30 minutes or so of gently cooking. I usually do a couple coats, which lets the glaze take on some smokiness.

OJ/Honey Mustard sounds pretty good, haven't ever tried that. I usually do a pretty traditional brown sugar/mustard glaze, because I like to bring the sugar to a soft ball candy stage, so it gets sort of crackly/gummy after I glaze it on, like a delicious meaty candy shell. Maybe I'll add some citrus to my glaze this year and give it a go.



current HamShot - I've flipped it over about 3-4 times over the past several days, it is coming along nicely. I weigh it down with an empty beer stein to keep the whole thing submerged. I'll take it out probably around 1-2AM on the 24th, start smoking it around 12 hours later, and it should be ready by Christmas day. ^_^

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010



I think the most exciting thing for me with that ham would be looking forward to carving off a leftover steak in the morning to brown up with some red eye gravy.

And using it for eggs Benedict on homemade muffins would probably be a contender for the "too much effort for one meal, but gently caress you, it was an orgy in my mouth" award.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Butch Cassidy posted:

I think the most exciting thing for me with that ham would be looking forward to carving off a leftover steak in the morning to brown up with some red eye gravy.

And using it for eggs Benedict on homemade muffins would probably be a contender for the "too much effort for one meal, but gently caress you, it was an orgy in my mouth" award.

honestly, the best thing about ham is it keeps for like weeks. you eat it in earnest the first day on christmas eve/morning/whatever, but that's just the beginning. it gets even better when you're smashed on glühwein late that night, and then it's there for sandwiches over the next couple days. And then eggs benedict sounds insanely perfect, I'm gonna have to do that this year. And finally, when you've devoured all of the meat, you're left with a meaty hambone to make black eyed peas & greens with, to ring in the new year.

at least, that's what my mums always did. motto was, ain't no hambone, ain't no blackeyed peas, ain't no collard greens, ain't no money in the new year. it's a southern thing I guess - I was talking to a friend from Boston about this recently and I guess it just completely is not a tradition in the northeast at all.

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010



Yeah, New England doesn't really have a traditional New Year's dish. Mostly just get cocked on hard cider or bubbly and eat something boiled. Although lobster has a fairly strong following in places.

Glühwein sounds good to cap off the New Year's beef stew my wife is demanding. Thanks for bringing it up.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

mindphlux posted:

Yeah, I'm a little surprised there isn't more interest.

Not much to say, but I'm watching with interest. Might have to do this some week when I'm feeling ambitious. I'm curious to see how involved the cooking process is.

taiyoko
Jan 10, 2008




Mr. Wiggles posted:

Well, mindphlux, this is a good thread that doesn't deserve page 2 status so close to Christmas. Our ham is currently defrosting, so it allows me to bring another question to bear: do you all glaze your hams during baking? The family likes it when I do a mixture of honey, mustard, and orange juice which is pretty traditional for us, and of course when i do this I score the ham and stud it with lots of cloves.

My family's traditional glaze has always been mustard, brown sugar, and maple syrup, atop a ham that's been scored and studded with cloves. It'd be neat to try it with home-cured ham too, but there sure as hell isn't space in the fridge for us to do that. Not with 4-5 adults and 2 kids living in this house. (I don't always count myself these days because I'm off in student housing most of the school semester this year.)

Ranter
Jul 11, 2004



I'm watching this thread. I don't have room to cure a turkey or ham in brine, otherwise I'd totally be doing this.

Bob Saget IRL
Oct 24, 2014



My brother just picked up a fresh ham, and didnt know what to do with it. I think this solves that problem. Is smoking it to finish it necessary? He doesnt have a smoker.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Bob Saget IRL posted:

My brother just picked up a fresh ham, and didnt know what to do with it. I think this solves that problem. Is smoking it to finish it necessary? He doesnt have a smoker.

Well, you could definitely just bake it and end up with an edible product, but I think the smoking process is 70% of what makes it amazingly tasty. I guess I'd just say at least get some applewood liquid smoke (http://www.amazon.com/Colgin-Natura.../dp/B000SBPBA0/) and both add it to the brine, and give the ham a rub down with it before baking...

In other news, here's how smoking day went...


Late on the 23rd, took the ham out of the brine, rinsed it off, and patted dry with paper towels. set it on a baking rack above a pan lined with more paper towels, and left it uncovered in a fridge overnight to develop a pellicle


On the 24th, realized I hadn't checked the status of my smoker in a longggg time. smoker is completely full of water and the electric element basically had rusted out, so had a panicky 'gently caress' moment, since I was planning to just throw it in the smoker and walk away. Electric smokers are great!



panic subsided when I remembered I had a perfectly functional gigantic grill, and that smoking isn't magic. you can literally smoke with a cardboard box and some ingenuity, provided you have both. a functional grill is more than adequate to smoke with. I started by lighting a small amount of charcoal (about 1/3rd chimney worth) on one side of my grill, and setting up my grates on the opposite side.



I set up a drip pan with some water to catch fat (there will be a lot, and you don't want that poo poo in your grill), and put about a chimney's worth of unlit charcoal on the offset side. We're setting up for a long smoke, and heat rises - so if you put a huge mount of unlit charcoal below a small amount of lit charcoal, the rig will burn through it more slowly, giving you a kind of like delayed release fire. Target smoking temp here is 225 in the smoker - don't worry about it if it's under 225, since the main point of this part of cooking is to get smoke flavor on the ham. Adjust your vents on your grill to keep it under 225 though, we don't want to overcook the outside of the ham. low and slow!

I soaked some applewood chunks and threw them on right as I put on the ham, and then doubled down on those about 20-30 mins in, again at an hour in, and again at about an hour and a half in. After that, the ham won't take much more smoke, so the rest of the cooking process is basically baking. (you can finish doing this in an oven if you want with no loss of quality.)



This is about 2 hours in, ham is just reading 115 deg. We want to hit about 150-155 for our finished product, at the deepest part of the ham. You can see the crosshatching of the fat beginning to pay off - looks lovely!

Ham took about 7-8 hours on the grill to reach 155, I pulled it off late last night. I wrapped it with foil and threw it in my fridge, we're about to take it over to my gal's parents house for xmas dinner. will post some finished photos.

merry christmas y'all!

edit : forgot - I made a glaze from cane sugar, sorghum, and mustard, and glazed it the last hour of cooking. pretty straightforward, that bit.

mindphlux fucked around with this message at Dec 25, 2014 around 19:47

The Midniter
Jul 9, 2001



mindphlux posted:

Well, you could definitely just bake it and end up with an edible product, but I think the smoking process is 70% of what makes it amazingly tasty. I guess I'd just say at least get some applewood liquid smoke (http://www.amazon.com/Colgin-Natura.../dp/B000SBPBA0/) and both add it to the brine, and give the ham a rub down with it before baking...

In other news, here's how smoking day went...


Late on the 23rd, took the ham out of the brine, rinsed it off, and patted dry with paper towels. set it on a baking rack above a pan lined with more paper towels, and left it uncovered in a fridge overnight to develop a pellicle


On the 24th, realized I hadn't checked the status of my smoker in a longggg time. smoker is completely full of water and the electric element basically had rusted out, so had a panicky 'gently caress' moment, since I was planning to just throw it in the smoker and walk away. Electric smokers are great!



panic subsided when I remembered I had a perfectly functional gigantic grill, and that smoking isn't magic. you can literally smoke with a cardboard box and some ingenuity, provided you have both. a functional grill is more than adequate to smoke with. I started by lighting a small amount of charcoal (about 1/3rd chimney worth) on one side of my grill, and setting up my grates on the opposite side.



I set up a drip pan with some water to catch fat (there will be a lot, and you don't want that poo poo in your grill), and put about a chimney's worth of unlit charcoal on the offset side. We're setting up for a long smoke, and heat rises - so if you put a huge mount of unlit charcoal below a small amount of lit charcoal, the rig will burn through it more slowly, giving you a kind of like delayed release fire. Target smoking temp here is 225 in the smoker - don't worry about it if it's under 225, since the main point of this part of cooking is to get smoke flavor on the ham. Adjust your vents on your grill to keep it under 225 though, we don't want to overcook the outside of the ham. low and slow!

I soaked some applewood chunks and threw them on right as I put on the ham, and then doubled down on those about 20-30 mins in, again at an hour in, and again at about an hour and a half in. After that, the ham won't take much more smoke, so the rest of the cooking process is basically baking. (you can finish doing this in an oven if you want with no loss of quality.)



This is about 2 hours in, ham is just reading 115 deg. We want to hit about 150-155 for our finished product, at the deepest part of the ham. You can see the crosshatching of the fat beginning to pay off - looks lovely!

Ham took about 7-8 hours on the grill to reach 155, I pulled it off late last night. I wrapped it with foil and threw it in my fridge, we're about to take it over to my gal's parents house for xmas dinner. will post some finished photos.

merry christmas y'all!

edit : forgot - I made a glaze from cane sugar, sorghum, and mustard, and glazed it the last hour of cooking. pretty straightforward, that bit.

How was it, rear end in a top hat??

Your Gay Uncle
Feb 16, 2012
EXCUSE ME WHILE I HELP DOZENS OF MEXICANS FUNNEL HOT TAR UP MY MOTHERS ASS WITH A TRAFFIC CONE

This seems like a good thread to ask about leftovers. I ended up taking the hambone(with tons of meat still stuck to it). I'm not really to sure what to do with it though. I was thinking baked beans, but I don't kow if you can use a hambone instead of a ham hock. I was also thinking maybe a ham and bean soup, carribean bean soup, etc.
Really I'm looking for any awesome hambone recipe that isn't split pea soup, because I'm allergic to peas.

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

Yes you make a big pot of beans (especially black eyed peas, which are not actually peas), for new year's. Also, make an even bigger pot of greens and some cornbread.

For the beans, you don't need a recipe. Just soak your dried beans overnight before cooking, discard the water, and add fresh water to cover, pkus two inched, and the hambone. Maybe an onion if you're feeling fancy. Cook all day, serve with hot pepper sauce.

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


Your Gay Uncle posted:

because I'm allergic to peas.

drat IT

ps. I fukkin love pea soup

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Ham turned out great! I may have overcooked it by a few degrees in places, since I was winging it with a grill. Gonna aim for a uniform 150 next year.





Crusty Nutsack
Apr 21, 2005



gently caress yeah that ham looks good.

thread delivers

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010



Candles unlit, soulless electric light glaring. Thread voted one

forbidden dialectics
Jul 26, 2005



God drat that looks good and your dining room looks like it belongs in Versailles

Annath
Jan 11, 2009



Clever Betty

Butch Cassidy posted:

And using it for eggs Benedict on homemade muffins would probably be a contender for the "too much effort for one meal, but gently caress you, it was an orgy in my mouth" award.

Let me tell you about the time I made Coq au Vin for my half hour lunch break my first semester in nursing school... (it was to impress a girl. She was impressed)


Hamchat:

I'm tempted to try this, as my next step up now that I'm comfortable smoking a butt for BBQ. However, stuff like making a cure, injecting it, and the risk of doing so incorrectly and ruining almost $50 worth of meat is intimidating.

Could this be done on a smaller, and/or shorter scale?

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mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by R. Guyovich


Annath posted:

Let me tell you about the time I made Coq au Vin for my half hour lunch break my first semester in nursing school... (it was to impress a girl. She was impressed)


Hamchat:

I'm tempted to try this, as my next step up now that I'm comfortable smoking a butt for BBQ. However, stuff like making a cure, injecting it, and the risk of doing so incorrectly and ruining almost $50 worth of meat is intimidating.

Could this be done on a smaller, and/or shorter scale?

you can cure pretty much anything. buy ruhlman's charcuterie, and pick up some pink salt. I've done a short cure on chicken, turkey, duck, beef, etc - it all takes on that hammy cured meat flavor. once you get comfortable with curing you can scale up to boneless meats like DIY bacon and eventually take on bone in hams. it's not that intimidating - you basically can't gently caress up curing a fresh pork belly if you follow some instructions and measure properly.

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