Friday, October 30, 2009

Ham I am with green eggs and ham?

How do you make a great ham?

Well you will need.......

half a bone in locally farmed pork leg or shoulder (about 5-8kg)

(I prefer using rare breed or heritage breed pork such as large blacks, Berkshire, Duroc etc..)

For the cure

  • 2kg salt
  • 80g curing salt #1 (optional)
  • 1 litre good apple juice or pear juice or apricot juice etc....
  • 1 litre cider (I use a nice cider from Quebec)
  • 6 litres water
  • 1kg golden brown sugar
  • 1kg dark brown sugar or molasses
  • 20-30 juniper berries (I pick mine myself and use them fresh)
  • 30g black peppercorns, crushed
  • 10 bay leaves, crushed
  • 10 cloves

To cook the ham

  • 1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, rough chopped
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme or you can do like me and add 10-15 sprigs of thyme!
  • 1 small bunch parsley stalks

For the glaze

  • 1 generous tbsp grainy mustard
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 8 cloves powdered

Okay how do we do this?

Mix the cure together in a pot. Bring to the boil. Cool completely to 3-4 Celsius. Pour brine into a none metallic tube (plastic or wood). Weight your ham. Its needs to be left in the cure for 2 days/kg. So for a 5kg piece of pork leg it will be in the brine for 10 days. Place ham in brine and place a weight on top to keep it submerged at all times.(get creative with this, I will give you no hints here on how to accomplish this!)

After the time is up in the cure, it needs to be hung in a cool place 2-8 Celsius for 1-2 days to form a pellical for the smoke to stick too. If you are not smoking the ham leave it to hang for about a week then proceed to the cooking part. If your smoking your ham, you will need a gentle fire and a cold day to to maintain a constant cold smoke. Cold smoke for about 8-12 hours with your favorite hardwood (maple and apple are nice) or until nicely coloured. Leave to hang for at least a week. If you don't have a cold smoker you can use a upright water smoker or bradley smoker and smoke it over several days a couple hours a day.

To cook your ham. If you have had it in the bring for longer than expected, you may need to soak it in cold water overnight to draw out excess salt. The following day place it in a pot, cover it with water and cook for a hour at a low temperature around 180-190f. Taste the water. If its still quite salty pour it out and cover with fresh water. After a hour if the water is not overly salty add all veg and aromatics cook till tender on a low simmer about 3-5 hours. Or instant read thermometer reads 150-160f

Pull it out, mix the glaze together. Pull of skin, rub with glaze and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350-400f oven. Enjoy!!!

Served with mash spuds, creamy peppery cabbage and roasted or glazed carrots.