Day by Day

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Be a Man, Make a Ham

So the Ragin' Mrs. put forth one of the best spreads EVAR!!!!!!!!11!!1! for Thanksgiving, and it included our home-made ham.

Yep.  Home made.  We make it and cure it.  And I'm about to tell you how.

Go ye forth and procure a picnic ham.  We pick them up at the Commissary, but any meat shop should be able to get one for you.  Your local grocery store can order them in if they don't already have them.

Take the ham home, rinse it off, and then prepare your salt cure; equal parts salt and sugar.  The Ragin' Mrs. and I use our almost world famous Spice Rub, but I'm not giving THAT recipe away.  For the right price, I can send you a pound of it.  But take your equal parts salt and sugar, and add whatever spices you want to it.  Garlic, pepper, ginger, anything that happens to float your boat.

Now that your fresh picnic ham is coated in your salt cure, seal it in a big ziplock bag, put it in the coldest part of your fridge, and let it sit for two weeks.  Yes, two weeks.  That's what the salt is for.

Once it's sat for two weeks, it's time to cold-smoke it.  You need to get the smoke into the meat, but NOT COOK IT.  We actually have a hot-plate that we place a thin metal pan full of wood-chips on, and that gets the smoke we want without the heat that traditional smoking would bring.  Smoke it for about five to eight hours, depending on how heavy your smoke is.

Once the ham is smoked BUT NOT COOKED, take it out of the smoke, put it back into the bag, and pour a bottle of good red wine into the bag.  Merlot, Cabernet, even Lambrusco if you like a little sweetness.  Seal it up, and put it back into the coldest part of your fridge for another week.  Turn it once a day to make sure the wine gets everywhere.

After the week is up, you can freeze it or cook it right then.  The flavor is friggin' AWESOME, the meat is cut-with-a-fork tender, and you've done it yourself.  The biggest part is patience as you wait for the salt, sugar, and wine to do it's job.  We've made several hams this way, and people darn near rip the ham right off the plate when we set it down.  You won't be disappointed.

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