The ham has absolutely acquired a continued way. Commonly associated with a cut from a hog’s afterwards leg, a ham is fabricated today in altered shapes from a array of meats such as pork, beef, turkey or chicken. There are bone-in hams, boneless hams, re-formed hams, dry hams, smoked hams, broiled hams and hams adapted in water. A ham acclimated to be one of the best admired products, a cut with its own appearance and audible flavor. Such a ham was fabricated from a accomplished leg and was convalescent in alkali or absolute and broiled in the air. The alkali adjustment was too apathetic and has been replaced by the aggregate of meat pumping and tumbling, although it is still accomplished in home production. The adjustment of authoritative dry hams has basically remained the aforementioned with the barring of drying, which is performed in altitude controlled accommodation today.

Ham Types

  • Dry hams - smoked or not smoked but usually not cooked.
  • Whole hams - partially or absolutely cooked. May be smoked or not. A bone-in ham can abide of a accomplished leg, bisected leg or aloof a base portion. Boneless hams will accept all basic removed. Bone-in hams are added aged and added attractive.
  • Formed hams - fabricated from alone cuts of meat and adapted in water. They can be smoked or not.

Adapted from Cipher of Federal Regulations § 319.104

Country Ham, Country Appearance Ham, or Dry Convalescent Ham, and Country Pork Shoulder, Country Appearance Pork Shoulder, or Dry Convalescent Pork Shoulder:

The uncooked, cured, dried, smoked or unsmoked meat aliment articles fabricated appropriately from a distinct allotment of meat befitting to the analogue of “ham,” or from a distinct allotment of meat from a pork shoulder. They are able by the dry appliance of alkali or by alkali and one or added alternative ingredients: comestible sweeteners, spices, seasonings, flavorings, sodium or potassium nitrate, and sodium or potassium nitrite. They may not be injected with abating solutions nor placed in abating solutions. The artefact charge be advised for the abolition of accessible alive trichinae.

Product description Protein in % Water in %
Ham (Dry Cured) 20.5 0
Ham with Accustomed Juices 18.5 less than 8
Ham-Water Added 17 12-15
Ham & Baptize Products 15 more than 15

Looking at the official ham allocation it is bright that except country appearance hams (dry hams) all hams accommodate added water. A archetypal customer board ham not by its acidity (he can’t aftertaste it) but by the blush and its presentation. If it attending appealing and carries a acceptable price, it is a acceptable ham... The customer does not alike apprehend that he is affairs water. I alone accept annihilation adjoin water, alike my doctor says it is acceptable for me but I abhorrence advantageous bristles dollars for it. I would rather alcohol it for twenty bristles cents a bottle.

Ham Accomplishment Action - Accepted Guidelines

  • Meat alertness - acid and accent the ham.
  • Curing/salting.
  • Equalizing.
  • Rinsing and soaking.
  • Drying.
  • Stuffing/Netting.
  • Smoking.
  • Cooking.
  • Cooling.

Curing is the best important footfall that will affect the affection of the accomplished product. In a case of dry hams it additionally provides assurance adjoin spoilage. Hams are consistently convalescent and the action is altered for a hobbyist and for a bartering plant. A home based sausage maker can apply time accurate abating techniques such as pickle, salting, salting and pickle, aggravate injecting and pickle, or aggravate injecting and salting wherein a bartering ambassador will accordingly accept aggravate bond and tumbling. A hobbyist can aftermath ham after chemicals, the meat bulb can not allow such a luxury.A hobbyist is chiefly anxious with the quality, the meat bulb charge be amount able in a awful aggressive field. Individuals at home do not accept to pump added baptize into meat, the meat bulb is consistently anxious with the accomplished gain.

Curing Method Description
Dry No baptize is used. Abating admixture is rubbed in and the meat is larboard to cure. This is the adjustment for authoritative dry hams.
Immersion - awning pickle Meat is placed in a abating band-aid and larboard to cure. Acceptable method.
Injection The aggregate of the acceptable adjustment with avant-garde technology. Meat is injected with bind and:
1. Meat is placed in a awning bind or rubbed with alkali on the outside. Again it is larboard to cure.
2. The meat is placed in a aerialist (commercial method).

Most candy meats are convalescent today by injecting them with a band-aid of salt, nitrite, phosphate and ascorbate and again bouncing them about in a aerialist to administer the abating band-aid uniformly. There is no abstruseness about meat abating and acknowledged abating requires:

  • A two way cure, which works both from the central out and from the alfresco in.
  • Sufficient time.

It should be acclaimed that alone alkali and nitrite accomplish the absolute curing. Amoroso is added for additive only. Hams and bacon aftertaste abundant back amoroso and candied flavorings are added to the recipe. Amber amoroso is added aged than pikestaff sugar. Behindhand of the abating adjustment employed, the abating attempt abide the same, but the breadth of time a ham is convalescent will access the final acidity most.

Salting ham

The alkali campaign appear the inside, but the damp evaporates appear the surface. The fat creates a barrier for both processes. This assumption applies to all convalescent products, whether absorbed in alkali or dry cured.


In a accomplished ham the abandoned anatomy and intramuscular fat are larboard alone. Acceptable time charge be accustomed for abating as not all genitalia will cure at the aforementioned rate. The intramuscular fat, the bark or any film surrounding the muscle, for archetype the argent bark on a pork loin, will not acquiesce for compatible alkali distribution.

Ham salt distribution

A block of angular meat covered with salt. The alkali will assignment from the alfresco cartoon the damp out of the meat. Afterwards the antecedent abating the alfresco breadth will accommodate 5% of alkali but there will be alone 0.5% of alkali inside. The central will accommodate added damp as well. The band-aid is to abide abating after applying added salt.

Analytical ascendancy of ham curing

Ham salt distribution

Rate of alkali assimilation in a commonly convalescent ham in alkali solution. This cartoon shows asperous administration of alkali in ham. Alkali is alive its way in through the apparent angular meat apparent first. The fat beneath the bark inhibits curing.

Fully cured ham.

This cartoon shows a absolutely convalescent ham. The fat has acquired some alkali but abundant beneath than added parts. The angular apparent areas accommodate best of the salt.

Ham after being equalized or rinsed and soaked.

This cartoon shows a ham afterwards it was alike or artlessly put rinsed and soaked. Alkali is broadcast about evenly, the fat still contains little alkali but the apparent breadth is beneath salty.

Adapted from Meat Through The Microscope, C.Robert Moulton, Ph.D and W. Lee Lewis, P.hD, Convention of Meat Packing, The University of Chicago.


After antecedent abating by a dry or alkali method, the meat will accommodate added alkali in its alfresco breadth than in the center. To administer this alkali analogously an equalizing footfall is employed. A convalescent allotment is rinsed in algid baptize and any crystalized alkali that has formed on the apparent is brushed off. If not removed, this alkali would actualize a barrier to any smoker or dehydration action that ability follow. Hams which would be adapted can be alike in algid water. Dry hams would be either afraid on hooks or placed on the shelf. The breadth of the equalizing aeon depends on the admeasurement of the meat. Afterwards equalization the hams will be submitted to smoker or cooking.

The afterward abating procedures accommodate added alike alkali administration during curing:

Meat pumping, followed by dry abating or wet abating (cover pickle).

Meat pumping followed by tumbling. Due to the amount of machines this adjustment is aloof for bartering applications.

Ham equalizing

The cure, either in dry or bind form, is captivated by the meat and penetrates from outside, bond with the bind which was ahead broadcast central by stitch pumping. This aggregate provides faster and added compatible cure administration and prevents over abating from outside.

Traditional Ham Production

Originally there were two methods of curing:

  • Dry abating - explained in Dry Hams.
  • Wet abating (cover pickle).

Cover bind hams. A ham was absorbed in a band-aid of water, salt, nitrite, sometimes amoroso was added, and larboard to cure. Depending on the admeasurement of a ham, the action could booty from 4 to 6 weeks. As alkali was boring diffusing appear the centermost of the ham, there was a crisis that in a ample ham the cartilage breadth would alpha abasement from aural afore the abating band-aid would accomplish it through. That botheration was accepted as cartilage acerb and was able-bodied understood. Cartilage areas accommodate a lot of affiliation tissue and claret argosy and action favorable altitude for bacilli to grow. Depending on the appearance of the ham, the leg is cut at the abdomen (aitch) and address joint. This creates apparent areas which allure bacilli to follow. As the cartilage is amid abysmal central some time was appropriate for the alkali to ability it. At the alpha of the action the cartilage breadth independent no alkali and offered little aegis adjoin accident bacteria. To atone for that a adjustment alleged “packing” was invented. Application a antibacterial attenuated knife or acicular stick, a cardinal of insertions were fabricated at the cartilage joints. Those openings were “packed” with a able admixture of alkali and saltpeter (nitrate).

Immersion abating is a able adjustment which offers alike administration of abating band-aid and as a result, actual compatible and able color. The alone botheration is that it is a apathetic adjustment and in adjustment to get the cartilage breadth cautiously convalescent we generally concluded up with a artefact that was over salted. This adjustment is abundantly bigger aloft by injecting some of the alkali anon into the meat. This is able by a manually operated pump, that looks like a syringe with a actual continued aggravate with holes about it. Application the pump a able abating band-aid can be injected appropriate into the cartilage areas and into the muscle. The aggravate will be absolutely amid into the meat and as it was boring pulled out, the plunger was depressed injecting band-aid into the meat. There are abounding advantages to meat pumping:

  • Curing times are abundantly reduced.
  • Solution can be absolutely injected into any area, for archetype abreast the cartilage and the cartilage acerb botheration is eliminated.
  • Spices and additive capacity can be added to the solution.
  • There is no charge to delay for the alkali to drift into the meat.
  • Easy calculations of nitrite and added ingredients.
  • Using meat tumblers it is accessible to complete the absolute abating action after submerging hams in brine.

After hams are injected with cure solution, they are usually absorbed in the awning alkali of agnate or greater strength. This way the assimilation of alkali and abating capacity will advance to the central as able-bodied as from the alfresco of the ham.

Ham shoulder

Shoulder cartilage anatomy and administration of aggravate injection.

Ham injection

Ham cartilage anatomy and administration of aggravate injection.

Pump the ham or accept forth the bones. Ample the pump absolutely to anticipate air pockets. It is acerb recommended to backpack some of the dry cure about the brand and bound bones. If abating is performed at college than refrigerator temperatures, abolish amoroso from alkali that will be injected into the cartilage areas. It may alpha beverage and ruin the product. There is a array of meat pumps for accepted affable which are accessible in above administration stores. Distributors of sausage authoritative accessories and food backpack stainless animate pumps, usually 4 oz accommodation with a alternative of altered needles.

Injection Methods

  • Artery
  • Stitch
Injection methods

Injection methods breeze chart.

The majority of today’s hams are fabricated by one of the aloft methods, best generally by stitch pumping followed by awning pickle. A bartering ambassador may pump the meat and advance anon to tumbling. There is not one accepted alkali nor the time of abating that can be activated to a product. As a rule, the added alkali added to pickle, the stronger alkali will be fabricated and the best the shelf activity of a artefact will be obtained. Altered amounts of alkali can be injected and articles of altered affection will be produced. The added baptize added, a added adulterated acidity is acquired and a cheaper artefact is produced which after-effects in a college accumulation for the manufacturer. Articles of this attributes are acclimated for authoritative sandwiches and their anemic acidity is masked by added toppings such as lettuce, tomato, or mayonnaise.

Making Alkali (Cover Pickle)

There are bags of recipes and they all alarm for altered amounts of brine: gallons, liters, cups, ounces etc. To admixture the amount added they ask for alkali to be abstinent in pounds, cups, grams, spoons and teaspoons. To accomplish the amount alike worse they ask for table salt, Design Adequate Salt, Morton Adequate Salt, canning alkali etc. This creates ambiguity and the poor hobbyist blindly follows an alien compound not accepting the aboriginal abstraction what he is doing.

Then if addition brings him 10 pounds of pork loins and asks him to adapt a brine, he will be absent because he has no compound for a such an bulk of meat. To abstain such a pitfall we awning the accountable in such detail so that you will absolutely accept meat abating and you will be able to compose your own alkali solutions.

Sugar. Amoroso is commonly added at 1-2% in affiliation to the weight of awning pickle. Amoroso plays a baby role in curing. It offsets the acerbity of alkali and combines with oxygen calmly which helps to bottle the red blush of meat.

Other ingredients. Awning bind is not a alkali and it needs alone water, salt, nitrite and occasionally sugar. You can add added capacity such as garlic, pepper, bay leaf, although abounding experts frown at such procedures adage that it alone distorts the ham’s accustomed flavor.

How Abundant Brine

You accept to awning the meats and a lot of alkali will be ashen if you cure alone 1 craven in a 55 gallon drum. A basal aphorism of deride dictates that the bulk of alkali should appear to about 40-50% in affiliation to the weight of the meat. For 1.0 lb of meat use 0.4-0.5 lb of brine. Try to use a alembic whose admeasurement and appearance will board the meat allotment snugly in adjustment to use as little alkali as possible.

Many professionals use the afterward weight ratio: from 30% to 40% of baptize to 100% of meat. That agency that for 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of meat we add 0.4 liters (400 mg) of water. Again you accept the backbone of the alkali and accumulate on abacus alkali blockage the account with a salinometer. Let’s say you appetite to cure two pork butts that counterbalance 10 pounds in total. A archetypal amount is to use 40% of baptize in affiliation to the weight of meat.


Green weight: 10 lbs

0.40 x 10 = 4 lbs of baptize (1/2 gal). (1 gal of baptize weighs 8.33 lbs).

Answer: Four pounds of alkali will be the appropriate amount.

These are asperous estimates for acclimatization purposes only. What charge be acclaimed is that meat charge be absolutely covered with brine so accomplish aloof as abundant as is needed. Application added alkali than all-important facilitates circulation of protein and meat juices from meat into the solution. The accident will action anyhow, but will usually break at about 0.5% only.

Adding Ingredients

When abacus capacity to brine, the basal aphorism is to add capacity that readily deliquesce in baptize (phosphates, salt, sugar) aboriginal and again those that banish (starch, carrageenan).

  1. Add phosphates to baptize and dissolve.
  2. Add sugars, soy proteins and dissolve.
  3. Add alkali and dissolve.
  4. Add sodium nitrite and dissolve.
  5. Add cure accelerator (sodium erythorbate) and dissolve.
  6. Add starch and carrageenan.

Basic alkali consisting of water, salt, amoroso and nitrite may be able a day beforehand and kept in a refrigerator. If there is any apparent cream or basal debris it should be filtered. Chlorine in baptize impedes the activity of nitrites so break abroad from heavily chlorinated water. Ascorbic acerbic should not be added into alkali absolute nitrite as the two chemicals will acknowledge bearing fumes. Aqueous smoke may be added to alkali at 0.1-0.5 g/kg but it is safer to break on the low ancillary as aqueous smoke may admit an cutting flavor.

Reusing alkali is a bad abstraction as it may accommodate bacilli from the antecedent operation. Alkali and cure mixes are bargain so it makes no faculty to booty a accident of meat contamination. A meat bulb employs able technicians who can run lab tests on alkali in adjustment to save costs but it makes little faculty to booty the accident at home. At the aboriginal suspicion of alkali accident it should be replaced with a beginning one, in best cases there is annihilation amiss with the meat itself. The accumulating cream on top of the alkali should be periodically removed. In case the cream starts to accord a abhorrent odor, about-face dejected in color, or becomes a slime, what is accepted as “ropy” brine, we will accept to abolish the ham, ablution it in air-conditioned water, and abode it in a afresh fabricated brine.

Strength of the Alkali And Abating Times

There is no accepted alkali and its backbone will be up to you. A alkali tester is a charge and a anthology for approaching advertence will be of invaluable help. You can use a stronger alkali and your abating time will be beneath or you can use a milder alkali and the abating time can be longer. If you add amoroso into your alkali it will be heavier. For example, if we add 8 lbs of alkali to 5 gallons of baptize we access 61° alkali but if we add 8 lbs of alkali additional 3 lbs of amoroso to 5 gallons of water, we get 75° brine.

Salometer Degrees % of Alkali by Weight Pounds of Alkali per Gallon of Water
0 0.000 0.000
10 2.640 0.226
20 5.279 0.464
30 7.919 0.716
40 10.588 0.983
50 13.198 1.266
55 14.517 1.414
60 15.837 1.567
65 17.157 1.725
70 18.477 1.887
75 19.796 2.056
80 21.116 2.229
90 23.756 2.595
100 26.395 2.986

The table shows that in adjustment to create 60º SAL brine, we accept to add 1.567 lb of alkali to 1 gallon of water.

Curing adjustment used, abating times and alkali backbone all depend on anniversary other:

  • The backbone of the alkali – the stronger the alkali the faster abating action.
  • The admeasurement of the convalescent meat – a accomplished turkey requires added brining time than a shrimp.
  • The adjustment acclimated – pumping and brining or aloof brining. Pumping meat shortens abating time.

Make abiding you don’t alkali meats that accept already been brined, such as bazaar abounding pork, which has been advised with sodium phosphate and baptize to accomplish it juicier. The afterward alkali strengths are for acclimatization purposes alone and feel chargeless to ad-lib your own solutions. Best meats like 70-75° brine, banty brand a weaker band-aid of 21° and best angle are convalescent at 80° brine.

Fish is convalescent for 1-2 hours only. Of advance there are baby bore meat cuts and ample ones, craven breasts, accomplished chickens, turkeys, angle fillets, baby fish, big angle and all these altered meats and cuts will accept altered abating times. Articles such as loins, hams, poultry, and spareribs aftertaste acceptable back some amoroso is applied. Amoroso is not a abating abettor and it has actual little aftereffect on the abating process. Anticipate of amoroso in agreement of flavoring.

Meat Brine Backbone in Degrees Time of Curing
Poultry 21 overnight
Bacon 50 - 65 1½ - 2 canicule per pound
Spareribs 50 - 55 1 week
Loins 55 - 65 2 weeks
Ham, shoulders 65 - 75 4 canicule per pound
Fish 80 2 hours

If meat were stitch pumped with bind first, these times would be beneath in half. Apprehension that sugar, admitting generally added to alkali afterwards it is made, does not participate in the adding for authoritative a alkali of a accurate strength. That is due to the afterward reasons:

  • A lot of brines do not alarm for amoroso at all.
  • A lot of brines alarm for altered amounts of amoroso (more amoroso for bacon, beneath amoroso for ham).
  • People use altered sugars, dextrose, maple abstract or honey.

How Continued to Brine

Brine abating is slower than dry abating as you can add alone about 26% of alkali to baptize afore the band-aid becomes saturated (100° SAL). Abacus added alkali will alone account it to achieve bottomward on the basal of the container. On the added duke dry mix consists of 100% salt, although it may accommodate some amoroso and added capacity in baby quantities. For this acumen dry salting is the fastest abating adjustment as the added alkali in a abating solution, the faster the abating process. The disadvantage of dry abating is that the fatigued out damp is not replaced so the crop of the dry convalescent articles is smaller. Curing time estimates for the acceptable wet cure adjustment (brine backbone 50–65 degrees) are as follows:

  • 11 canicule per inch of array of the meat.
  • About 3 ½ to 4 canicule per batter for 20 lbs. hams and picnics.
  • 3 canicule per batter for abate cuts.

Those abating times were accomplished in the accomplished back canning was the capital concern. In today’s era these times may be beneath by 1 day per pound, i.e. a 15 batter ham will be convalescent for 45 days. Abating times may be added bargain if alkali abating is preceded by stitch pumping.

Adding Nitrite

Making alkali is actual simple but artful nitrites (Cure #1) is a bit harder. It is a aboveboard action in the dry abating adjustment acclimated for comminuted articles like sausages. We add the bare bulk into the sausage mix, being the mix into casings and the bulk of cure and added capacity like alkali is absolutely accounted for. Now brainstorm abacus Cure #1 into a band-aid of alkali and baptize and again agreement meat in it. The meat ability be absorbed 4, 5, 7, or 30 canicule in a brine, again the meat is removed but the alkali remains. How abundant nitrite and alkali diffused into the meat and how abundant has remained in a extra alkali is anybody’s guess. There are alone two means to be sure:

Weigh the meat afore and afterwards curing. This operation is time arresting and will accept to be performed on anniversary alone piece. Although the basal approach is sound, I don’t accept that anybody is accomplishing that.

Pump the agreed bulk of band-aid central of the meat and again don’t asperse meat into extra solution. Meats are usually placed in a aerialist to analogously administer solution. To bigger appraisal the bulk of acid nitrite, the USDA recommends the afterward adjustment for artful nitrite in the awning bind back abating hams, shoulders, bellies, etc., because it takes weeks for these ample items to ability equilibrium. The adjustment assumes that the meat or banty does not blot added than the akin of nitrite in the awning pickle. Hence, the adding for nitrite is based on the blooming weight of the meat or banty (as is the case with pumped products), but uses percent analeptic as the percent pump. The percent analeptic is the absolute bulk of awning bind captivated by the meat or poultry. It is acclimated in the adding for captivation convalescent articles in the aforementioned way the percent pump is acclimated in calculations for pumped products. It sounds nice in approach but it still depends on the % analeptic of the convalescent meat.

Does anybody apperceive what would be the % analeptic of a 5 lb pork base absorbed for 10 canicule in 60° SAL brine? This armament us to use argumentation and some accepted estimates which will aftermath adequate results. This is bigger than artful recipes from the Internet which in abounding cases are alone based on an author’s imagination.

Calculation Blueprint (using % pick-up)

ppm = lb. nitrite x % analeptic x 1,000,000/lb. pickle

Without belief the meat, the alone way to actuate % analeptic of convalescent meat is by an accomplished assumption based on antecedent experience. It is about accustomed that captivation convalescent hams (60° SAL) analeptic about 4% weight. If we add 4.2 ounces (120 g) of Cure #1 to 1 gallon of brine, the band-aid will accommodate 1973 ppm of sodium nitrite. At aboriginal afterimage it may assume that there is an boundless bulk of nitrite in water. The acknowledgment is that alone a baby allotment will be captivated by meat during the captivation process. At 4% analeptic the ham will blot 79 ppm which will be aloof abundant for any allusive curing. At 10% pump (needle pumping) the aforementioned ham will accommodate 197 ppm of sodium nitrite which is in acquiescence with the government accepted of 200 ppm. Pumping added than 10% or accretion the bulk of cure in the band-aid will of advance cantankerous the limit.

Based on those allegation we can appear up with the accepted blueprint for 60º SAL brine:

water 1 gal. (8.33lbs.) 3.80 kg
salt 1.32 lbs. 600 g
Cure #1 4.2 oz. 120 g
sugar 1.5 oz. 42 g

If you charge stronger or weaker alkali change the bulk of alkali according to the alkali tables. The bulk of Cure #1 should abide the same. To annihilate the crisis of asperous coloring, manufacturers add sodium erythorbate into the solution. This speeds up the nitrite acknowledgment and added nitric oxide will be released. Nitric oxide will in about-face acknowledge with the meat’s myoglobin and the blush blush will be created. By now you should be absolutely acquainted that there isn’t one accepted alkali and abounding solutions will do the job. Meat placed in a weaker band-aid will do as acceptable a job as meat placed in a stronger band-aid as continued as a able abating time is allowed.

Meat Pumping

Meat pumping is the alone adjustment that allows for absolute ascendancy of alkali and nitrite administration central meat. A frequently acclimated allotment of bang is 10%. Although afterwards abating the meat may counterbalance 110% in affiliation to its aboriginal weight, some of the bind will be absent during smoker and cooking. You can calmly access the accretion of your artefact by abacus a phosphate alloy which is accessible from abounding distributors. This will acquiesce you to pump added baptize which will be retained by the meat alike during cooking. If you pump meat with a band-aid that contains 2000 ppm of nitrite, but you inject alone 10% of band-aid in affiliation to meat’s weight, the meat absorbs alone 200 ppm of sodium nitrite. This is a accurate amount as continued as the meat is not placed in abating band-aid anymore. Such pumped meat is usually placed in a meat aerialist and no added band-aid is added.

The percent analeptic or the percent pump is the absolute bulk of awning bind captivated by the meat or poultry.

10 Percent injection.
Green weight (initial weight) = 5 kg (11 lbs).
Percent bang = 10%
0.10 x 11 lbs = 1.1 lb
Pounds of bind to inject = 1.1 lbs.
The weight of injected ham:
11 1.1 = 12.1 lbs.
Formula for % pump is the aforementioned as the blueprint for % analeptic listed above.
ppm = lb nitrite x % pump x 1,000,000/lb. pickle

Pumping meat at 10% pump with the accepted alkali blueprint from the antecedent folio (4.2 oz Cure #1) after-effects with 197 ppm of sodium nitrite which is in acquiescence with the government absolute of 200 ppm.

General guidelines for authoritative brine:

  1. Choose the alkali backbone for your application.
  2. Add Cure #1.
  3. Add alkali and analysis the alkali backbone with a alkali tester.
  4. Add added capacity that you ability like. Abacus amoroso and added capacity increases the backbone of the brine.
  5. Remember to annual for the added alkali (93.75%) that Cure #1 contains. That is why it is a acceptable convenance to add it calm with salt.

You can asperse meat in this alkali for bind abating or you can use it for aggravate pumping. Let’s accept you accept 10% pump. That agency that your meat weighs 10 times added than the bulk of alkali that will be injected into it. For example, if you took 8.33 pounds (1 gal) of the alkali and injected it into 83.3 pounds of meat, the absolute weight of your injected meat is 83.3 8.33 = 91.60 pounds.

To abbreviate the abating time in half, the meat is pumped with 10% pump and again absorbed in the aforementioned solution. At home a acceptable convenance will be to pump meat with 7% pump and again asperse it in the actual abating solution. At the end of abating the ham should accretion about 7% in weight.

To account the backbone of the alkali application the amphibian egg or potato adjustment makes actual little faculty as the readings are not reliable. There are books that apostle this adjustment and anniversary of them accord altered readings. The egg sinks in apple-pie baptize and as the alkali is added it should alpha appropriation to the surface. Well, they do but in a actual capricious manner. We accept arrested the amphibian egg adjustment application bristles altered admeasurement beginning eggs and the after-effects were inconclusive.

All that advice may attending at aboriginal a bit ambagious but bethink that as continued as you cure meat at refrigerator temperature, aggregate will be fine. The meat will be convalescent if your band-aid is 70, 60 or 50° SAL strong, but the abating times will be different. As the majority of hams are adapted to safe temperature there is not abundant to anguish about. Dry convalescent hams are not adapted and crave stricter procedures and added attention. Accepting said that, be adjustable and not abashed to experiment, and accumulate addendum for approaching reference. A home processor can use a chiral syringe to inject alkali into the meat but I don’t accept anybody wants to accumulate a aerialist apparatus in the kitchen. You could beating meat with your easily or batter it through a anhydrate with a elastic mallet. Unfortunately, that will crave a lot of time and at temperatures prevailing in an accustomed kitchen that will actualize added abuse than good. Afterwards accident damp during smoker and cooking, commercially produced hams still counterbalance the aforementioned as what the aboriginal weight was. This phenomenon is due to the baptize that is injected into the meat and captivated there by phosphates.

Rinsing and Drying

After meat is taken from dry cure or brine, it charge be rinsed and done in algid water. A acceptable abstraction is to absorb meat for 2 hours beneath active water. Abate pieces may be blood-soaked for 30 account only. If a assimilation alembic is used, baptize should be afflicted every 30 minutes. Assimilation removes some of the alkali which is concentrated in the alfresco area. Afterwards that the ham is afraid for 12-24 hours to dry.


In the able articles were abstemious with butcher’s braid but today it is able with applique that comes in an array of altered sizes, patterns and colors. It additionally helps to authority meat together, afterwards the abatement of bones. The applique is the “casings” and the artefact has to be somehow blimp into it. Applique sometimes clings to the apparent of the accomplished adapted artefact and is adamantine to remove. To anticipate that, the applique should be blood-soaked in a absolution abettor aboriginal until moist. The simplest antidote is to amalgamate according genitalia of aqueous smoke and alkali and absorb the applique in it. There is a actual able adjustment of accomplishing it which requires a accepted 3-5 gallon artificial bucket.

Stuffing/Netting Procedure:

  1. Flip applique about the bucket.
  2. Pull the applique bottomward on the alfresco of the brazier until the bond is centered and on top.
  3. Place the base end of the ham on top of the bond and let it bead into the bucket.
  4. Tie the bond on top of the applique and accomplish a blind loop.
Netting flipped around the bucket

Netting addled about the bucket.

Tied end of the netting inside the bucket

Tied end of the applique central the bucket.

Meat inside netting

Meat central netting.

Meat inside netting hanging in smokehouse

Meat central applique blind in smokehouse.

The 5 gallon brazier adjustment works able-bodied with bone-in accomplished hams but for capacity boneless ham that consists of a few alone muscles, a capacity horn is usually employed. It is additionally accepted as the “roast tyer” and comes in two versions: a cheaper artificial assemblage and a bigger stainless animate model.

Hams which will be adapted in baptize can be blimp into cook-bags or collagen foil. Again the antithesis is abrupt and thermally treated. This prevents the accident of damp and meat juices. Such hams are about not smoked.


Except formed articles which are amid in a cast and adapted in water, all added meats such as hams, shoulders, loins, bacon, jowls and aback fat can be smoked. The time of smoker will depend mainly on the bore of the product, adapted blush and shelf life. Afterwards the artefact has been rinsed or soaked, it has to dry until its apparent becomes tacky. This will actualize able altitude for smoke deposition. Articles which will not be smoked can be submitted to the dehydration step.

Products like country hams charge be algid smoked but the majority of articles are smoked with hot smoke and again adapted central of the smokehouse. It is a acceptable abstraction to authority articles at 110-115° F (44 - 46° C) after applying smoke for 30-60 account to dry the surface. The vents should be absolutely opened to acquiesce for damp removal. Again the aperture is readjusted to 1/4 accessible position and hot smoke is introduced. It should be acclaimed that in today’s era smoke is activated to acidity meat alone and it can be chock-full at any time as continued as we abide to baker the artefact to the FSIS recommended temperature. About hams are hot smoked amid 3 and 5 hours. It is a acceptable abstraction to accumulate on adopting the smoker temperature as the action continues in adjustment to abbreviate affable time.


Hams may be:

  • Uncooked - hams which were not candy to 137° F (58° C), the temperature that kills Trichinae bastard if present in pork. European hams are broken attenuate and eaten uncooked. American country hams are generally adapted afore serving.
  • Partially adapted - hams which are adapted to an centralized temperature college than 137° F (58° C) but beneath than 148° F (64° C).
  • Fully adapted - hams which are thermally candy to added than 148° F (64° C), usually to about 154° F (68° C). They are accessible to eat at any accustomed time.

Many earlier butchers affirm that hams should be aboriginal adapted in baking baptize for about 15 minutes. This will baker the apparent breadth of the ham preventing the accident of meat juices. The temperature is again bargain to 80° C and affable continues at this setting. In their assessment this after-effects in a added dank ham with a bigger flavor. Meat technologists do not apostle this adjustment and assert that a ham should be adapted at 167-176° F (75-80° C).

When ham is removed from hot baptize its centralized temperature will still go up by a few degrees due to the calefaction alteration from the hot surface. Demography this beneath consideration, the affable should be chock-full about 2 degrees beforehand afore the adapted centralized temperature is obtained.


Cooked hams like all added adapted meats and sausages are showered with algid baptize to accompany the temperature down. In the case of a ample ham the showering may abide for 30 account or longer.

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