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#3504039 - 12/17/13 12:16 AM Attempt at a "City Ham"
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 9856
Loc: Memphis

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I've got no motivation for this project whatsoever…just decided to swing for the fences. From my small doe a couple weeks ago, I decided to wet cure one of the rear legs to do a ham. The goal is to cure it in the brine for a while, then smoke it just a bit for flavor, then actually do the cooking in the oven. I have very little scientific basis for this, but here's what I've done so far. After some Googling around, I settled on trying this method out.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89979/from-hog-leg-to-easter-ham

1) Dry aged the meat in the fridge for about 14 days. Sounds counter-productive to dry age the meat, then soak it in a brine……honestly, no real reason to dry age this. Mainly just trying out "dry aging", while buying time to gather everything together to brine this thing. So with a little reassurance that "pungent" meat was good, I continued on. The meat was clean, the fat was still white, and it didn't stink. The texture was firm, but had some give to it. I'm still not quite used to dry aging.


2) Make the cure….this ended up being a total of (4) gallons, while the original recipe called for 1 gallon. So I dissolved twice the dry stuff in the pot, then covered it in 1 gal of water. Poured it over ice, added water, and ended up close enough to the "recipe". Also, I generously added some dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, juniper berries, and black pepper for some flavor. Bring it to a boil, take off heat, and pour it over the ice into the curing vessel. In this case, I bought one of those Kingsford charcoal tubs….it's sized perfectly, has a snap lid, and is much cheaper than a trashcan.





3) Granted, the recipe is based on a hog leg, which is much more massive than the rear leg of a 68lb doe….however, the theory made sense. So I used the injector to pump brine around the bone. Again, no scientific basis one way or the other, but it made sense. I didn't just puncture muscle to get to the center, but placed the needle alongside the various bones, and used natural muscle contours to get the brine inside the meat. No extra holes punched in the meat.


4) Then close the lid, and pop it into the new (to me) TAFKAP Meat Curing Fridge. I'll periodically check this, but I think right now, we'll go for 10 days. I really don't know what the goal is. The recipe is based on a humongous pork leg, so I doubt 30 days is necessary. Christmas maybe???


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#3504041 - 12/17/13 12:17 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TAFKAP]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 9856
Loc: Memphis

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FYI, Curing Salt (AKA: Insta Cure #1, Pink Curing Salt, Sodium Nitrate) is nearly impossible to find……Academy Sports has it. And it's cheap…..but most importantly, EXTRA FANCY

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#3504371 - 12/17/13 08:59 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TAFKAP]
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2701
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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LOL @ "extra fancy"

I like your spirit of experimentation. Once I find a hunting spot where I can shoot does into the late season, I might share your sense of adventure. Right now, I'm greedily guarding my 2 deer in the freezer and haven't done much in the way of "cool stuff".

I know...that's no way to live \:\)

Hope it works out for you!
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#3504386 - 12/17/13 09:12 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: Crosshairy]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

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Interesting. 10 days sounds exactly right for curing a hole leg.
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#3504423 - 12/17/13 09:37 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: Poser]
WMAn
8 Point


Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1226
Loc: Williamson County

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I'm curing a fresh ham (pork) for Christmas. I got my curing salt from Amazon.

Are you going to leave the leg out of the brine in the fridge for a day or so before smoking/cooking?

I'm really interested to see how this turns out for you. I've got a whole leg (venison) in the freezer that I might have to use for this.
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#3504542 - 12/17/13 10:50 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: WMAn]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 9856
Loc: Memphis

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Yes, I'll rinse the cure off, and have also debated soaking in clean water for a day to temper some of the saltiness. Air-drying is a must for me.
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#3504669 - 12/17/13 01:01 PM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TAFKAP]
TheRealSpurhunter
8 Point


Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1587
Loc: Cleveland & Bedford CO

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Very anxious to see your results.
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#3505534 - 12/18/13 12:06 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TheRealSpurhunter]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 9856
Loc: Memphis

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 Originally Posted By: TheRealSpurhunter
Very anxious to see your results.


Me too \:D


Actually, how about a little guidance here?

I've never been just a huge fan of that candy-crusted stuff the "ham companies" put out……..but I've never really seen any other ham cooking techniques out there. Either you country dry-cure the stuff, or you glaze it in the oven like a stained glass window.

I plan on smoking this one for about an hour or so, mostly for flavor. Please help with some suggestions for how to go from there. Keep smoking? Oven bake? Oven bake with a better glaze idea? I've never been tits about sweet glazing meats, in general. I'm just not overly excited about the possibility of covering a nice deer leg with a bunch of canned pineapple, etc.and coating it in a layer of corn syrup candy coating.
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Everything important in life was learned from Mary Jo Kopechne.

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#3505767 - 12/18/13 08:31 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TAFKAP]
TheRealSpurhunter
8 Point


Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1587
Loc: Cleveland & Bedford CO

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I wish I could, but I am an absolute newbie when it comes to curing or anything resembling charcuterie. I make summer sausage, but have so far used preassembled kits as a starter. I do smoke extensily, and have done some 20 hr cooks at very low temps, (180*) but thats as far as I have gone.

My buddy Robtatoo has extensive experience in curing, I will tell him to check this thread.
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#3505861 - 12/18/13 09:33 AM Re: Attempt at a "City Ham" [Re: TheRealSpurhunter]
Robtattoo
4 Point


Registered: 08/14/12
Posts: 229
Loc: Tullahoma, TN.

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It sounds like your wet-cure is about perfect. The pre-aging, dry is hugely important & 14 days for a deer ham should be about right. You need to remove a lot of the original moisture, so that the brine has somewhere to go.
Once you get it out of the brine, rinse it & then let it dry age again for 2 or 3 days. That really gets the enzymes going.
As far as cooking goes, I've only ever done pork ham. Either boiled or roast (the only glaze I've ever used is honey & mustard in the last hour of cooking)
I'd like to try a quick smoke & then oven roast.
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