Author Topic: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned  (Read 1527 times)

Schaef

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Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« on: April 22, 2019, 01:30:28 PM »
Hello All,

Other than the recipe offered by Brian (Pork Belly), I found very little guidance on curing and smoking fresh hams.  After taking in recipes from multiple sites and Brian's, I gave it a try, a first-timer with lessons learned for my next one.  Thought I might share this with the group. 

The Plan
1. 15 pound fresh ham ordered from a local locker at $1.59 per pound.
2. In my 5-gallon Brine Bucket, cure recipe was 3 gallons distilled water, 3 packets of #1 curing salt, 2 cups Morton salt, 21 days.  No injection.  Used curing calculator from this site: www.amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/pork-recipes/wet-cured-smoked-ham-recipe
3. Rinse ham thoroughly and leave in fridge for 24 hours. 
4. 6-7 ounces of pecan wood
5. Smoke until 160 degree internal temp.
6. Apply glaze (heated mixture of brown sugar, cherry/apple/pineapple juices, ground cloves).
7. Roast in 350 degree oven until 165 IT.
8. Glaze again.
9. Rest for an hour or so.  Serve.

The Experience
1. Curing time went a couple days longer than planned.
2. The Cook was Saturday before Easter so if it turned out badly, I had time to run to the store to recover!
3. Brian suggested glazing after two hours and adding more wood if necessary.  I'm reluctant to lose the moisture so didn't open the #2 door until it was done.
4. 7 ounces of pecan, water pan, and temp set to 250. 
5. With a 15 pounder, I expected a long day and a stall so like Brian's post, I left for a period of time but didn't reduce the temperature like he did.  When I returned, the IT was 174!  I pulled it and began glazing and resting. 
6. I glazed a couple times before sending it to the fridge overnight.  Next day, glaze again, slice, reheat, and serve.  The glaze was that good. 
7. Overall, a better than store bought ham.  The dinner guests all liked it.  The bark was not heavy nor was the pecan smoke over powering.  The fresh, smoked ham flavor was definitely the rock star. But...the meat was dry on the surface and as deeper portions were removed, the salty taste reduced. The cure evidently reached well into the core except for one ping-pong ball sized section in dead center. See the pics.

Next Time
1. Same size ham but add more salt to the brine.  The surface pieces were ok on the salt scale but could have stood more and the core needed more.
2. Inject the core with some of the brine.
3. 7 ounces of pecan was just right.
4. Smoke for 4-5 hours at 100, glaze, bump heat to 200, pull at 150, glaze, wrap, rest.   

Thanks for reading.  Thoughts?



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Pork Belly

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 09:10:18 PM »
I am curious how much curing salt is in a "packet". The concentration of cure would have some affect of penetration to the center of the ham. Your kosher salt amount exceed the recipe I posted as did your curing time. I used cure #1 measured as, 1 1/2 oz or 42grams or 8 teaspoons.

If you were to smoke it to a lower IT then glaze and smoke to a finished temp of 160 IT you get better results. It will never be as good or as moist after cooling and reheating as it is fresh out of the smoker.
Brian - Michigan-NRA Life Member
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Schaef

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 09:54:24 PM »
Thanks Brian.  Appreciate the feedback.

I used the Curing Calculator on this page to arrive at the amount of curing salt:
https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/salting-brining-curing-and-injecting/science-curing-meats-safely

Each packet is roughly one tablespoon.  The minimum time in the cure came to 23 days using the numbers I entered (5.5 inch diameter, cone meat shape). 

I think I can do this the same day as dinner knowing what I do now. 

On your Ham post from July 2014, you cooked until the IT was 150.  Is that your recommended temp?

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Pork Belly

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 09:30:13 AM »
Yes I only go to 150, that is hot enough for us. We do not care for scalding hot meat.

You mentioned in your first post you did not want to open the smoker to glaze it as listed in the recipe I posted. I believe the benefits outweigh any negatives to doing it that way.

I recommend trying the recipe posted exactly as it is then making your substitutions on your next attempt. The only changes I have made are additions of ginger, garlic and black pepper, always in measured amounts so I know what I did.

I have never had that recipe fail, those that I know of that made it enjoy it. The only complaint I heard was my friend that got a dry ham. He Smoked then cooled and reheated in the oven. His later atempts turned out great.

Full credit for that Brown Sugar Holiday Ham Recipe goes to Michael Ruhlman in Charcuterie.
Brian - Michigan-NRA Life Member
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Schaef

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2019, 11:30:08 AM »
Ok thanks Brian.  I'll give that a try in a few weeks with a smaller ham as you did and report back. 
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Schaef

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 04:16:51 PM »
This is a follow up to my April post and conversation with Brian (Pork Belly) after trying his recipe for our Christmas dinner exactly as he posted. 

Brine
1 ½ cups kosher salt
2 cups dark brown sugar
8 teaspoons pink curing salt
1 gallon of water

My 12 pound ham was injected then kept in the brine for 5 days followed by an overnight uncovered in the fridge. After 2 hours of smoking with pecan at 200 degrees, applied the first glaze (recipe below).  Applied a second glaze 2 hours later then pulled it at 150 IT.  Double wrapped and rested about 2 hours before serving. Drizzled the glaze over the serving plate.

Glaze
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup 100% pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons ground clove
Combine all and bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes stirring often.

The injection really helped get the brine deeper which I didn't do last time.  Result was a more evenly moist and tasty ham.  The bark had a strong smoke flavor so maybe next time reduce to 5-6 ounces of wood and add 1 ounce at the first glaze.  Serving the same day without reheating made a huge difference.  The family liked the result which is all that matters. 

Thanks Brian.  You have a winner.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 11:24:03 PM by Schaef »
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Pork Belly

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2020, 12:08:04 PM »
Thant's a fine looking ham. That recipe never fails, I'm glad it worked for you.
Brian - Michigan-NRA Life Member
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MudFarm

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2021, 10:47:01 AM »
That looks great, I'm going to try it for Easter
Justin from Wisconsin
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OldeSmoker

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Re: Fresh Ham Smoke with Lessons Learned
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2021, 01:33:22 AM »
I would definitely eat that ham. Looks great, congratulations on your success!
Paul from Southwest Missouri
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