salt cured country ham
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salt cured country ham

salt cured country ham

Now, this might sound like a bad thing but really it isn't. * Virginia Country Ham is cured in salt. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. When it's cold, he explains, the fat stays solid. A country ham, properly prepared is a delicious treat. Cover with cool water and let stand 24 hours at room temperature, changing the water 3 to 4 times. Country Hams are the quintessential dish of The South. Uncured hams from butchers can be a tad pricey. The smokehouse sits next to the salt house, a square, white clapboard building of pine siding and cedar shingles, with a pointed red roof that is as high as the walls are tall. Rub the cleaned ham with the coarsely ground black pepper. For a home-cured ham, you will either smoke it or pack it with salt, sugar, and other flavors. This is where fresh ham is rubbed with a dry mixture of salt and other ingredients. You can make cured ham yourself. I still remember taking small forkfuls of the ham (a taste that can only be described now as dark, hard, mysterious, and smacking of salt, smoke and spices), carefully lacing it between bits of soft rolls, and then dousing the whole thing with red-eye gravy. If you want to serve it immediately, and I strongly recommend it, smoke the ham at 325°F until it is 145°F in the deepest part of the center. They can control the humidity and the temperature. Unfortunately we cannot issue refunds for taste preferences. The best way to discourage the insects is to keep the smokehouse clean and dark. Wiping the ham with a clean paper towel soaked in vinegar will remove any remaining mold. The longer you soak it, the less salty it will be. The desserts were nearby: plum pudding and fruitcake, ambrosia and pecan pie, and, of course, my Aunt June's legendary caramel cake, which had faithful fans in three countries. Three wooden tiers ring the smokehouse rafters. Salt-cured by hand and smoked with natural hickory wood, these country hams are aged to a rich mahogany color. Dry curing is another process used to make prosciutto and country ham. Then I put the green wood on the fire. “So you want to know about hams,” he said, in all seriousness. “Put them together and you never have to worry about chemicals to keep the bugs out. If possible, you will want to desalt the ham before you cook it. You can soak a ham for up to 72 hours to remove the saltiness. Soak it in water. Ham, generally, is the cured hind leg of a pig, and will comprise a cut somewhere between the shank (the ankle) and the rump. A native of ham country (smoked hams from places like Gwaltney and Smithfield have made the area famous), I feel justified to state unequivocally and with all prejudices firmly in place — that my Uncle Billy makes the best country ham in the world. Above us, hanging on hand-turned wooden pegs, a dozen hams are suspended. “Once I get the fire going, I get it hot as hell,” he says. One of the original haute country hams, the Wigwam—reportedly a favorite of the late Jean-Louis Palladin—is cured for 12 months and hickory-smoked to make a pungent ham … He cuts a few extra armloads of young sassafras, which grows wild along a nearby fence row, and stores it all in a dry place until March. Calories, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, cholesterol, and more for Cured ham (Pork, low sodium, lean and fat, cooked). He covers the hams with a thin coat of the mixture, which toughens the skin to keep bugs out. Broadbent Country Hams are dry cured, meaning they are hand rubbed with a cure mixture, then aged at least six months for milder hams, nine months for our Broadbent Grand Champion Hams and eighteen months for our Heritage Hams. Unlike the salt house, which is built thick and tight, ventilation is key here. Cousin Duna's wedding was set for the following weekend, and the whole family of six girls, several husbands, and numerous grandchildren were working in the yard getting ready for it. Country hams are not generally smoked, but this is a matter of personal taste. The next morning he pours a layer of salt on the table and begins to cover the meat with it, rubbing it in, moving the joints, adding more salt until it “starts feelin' stiff.” For his annual 24 hams, he buys 50 to 100 pounds of salt. 3. If you've got space and room, things seem to work better. The result is a more subtle, milder flavor that still retains our distinctive country-cure … (It’s one of the ways we kept meat edible before refrigeration came around.) which is Located in the NorthWestern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Cutting into a Traditionaly Cured Country Ham after 22 months! Two-year-old hams hang on the second tier, and 3-year-old hams are on the bottom, so that my Aunt Mildred, who stands about 5 foot 3 inches tall in her stocking feet, can retrieve them easily with the help of a long pole made just for that purpose. They are usually hardwood smoked (usually hickory and red oak), but some types of country ham, such as the "salt-and-pepper ham" of North Carolina, are not smoked. “They'll eat the damn meat up.”. Country hams can be found whole in the south–often wrapped in the netting used for smoking–or you can buy it … Four things influence the salting process: the thickness of the meat, the moisture of the meat, the humidity of the air and the temperature. “We used to say you used everything but the squeal,” laughs Uncle Billy. The only thing left to do is wait and check them periodically for skippers. “Well, I tell you. Canadian Subscribers - Click Here “When it's blood-red fresh, it has a tremendous amount of moisture,” Uncle Billy says. Rubbing salt over the exterior of a ham to cure the meat produces country ham, which is a Southern delicacy that originated in Smithfield, Virginia in 1902. Salt Dry Cured Local. And watch videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking techniques. Get Country Ham Recipe from Food Network You can also find 1000s of Food Network's best recipes from top chefs, shows and experts. Mix all these ingredients well and divide them into two equal batches. Gather the ingredients. Deep red on the inside, covered with cloves and a mahogany glaze of molasses and brown sugar on the outside, its aroma filled the dining room. “The salt is going to penetrate the meat quickly. The few he has donated to his church's charity auctions have sold for as much as $75. Replace the water every 2 hours to reduce bacteria growth. There was turkey with oyster dressing and cranberry salad, rice and gravy, and hot rolls for dipping and shoving. Photo by Holly A. Heyser. He learned it from his mother, Caroline, when he was a boy, and he's been doing it steadily, almost as a revival, for the last 15 years. The key to keeping good hams…is to keep your smokehouse locked.” He leads the way down a path in the yard, shooing tame ducks from underfoot, to where two small buildings back up to a soybean field. Uncle Billy opens the heavy latch on the door, and we step inside, enveloped by the darkness and the sharp smell of smoke and aging meat. Like room. I ate too much anyway. don't have an online Their characteristic flavor is quite different from mild-cured commercial hams.When to cureHams should be placed in cure during December and January when production of country cured hams is dependent on natural conditions for refrigeration. For the cure: mix together the saltpetre, salt, black pepper and coriander, Bone out the leg of pork and then apply the ingredients inside and out. Should the skippers get in anyway, he'll put his hams in the freezer for a day and scrub the smokehouse until “it's as clean as a hospital.”, “The old generation had all these little things they did,” Uncle Billy says. Whenever possible,... 2. The new meat goes on the bottom tier, about three feet overhead. Dr. Gregg Rentfrow. Want to use it in a meal plan? “Well,” I offered, “it's a bit of an acquired taste.”. Salt Cured Country Hams. He flicks on a bare light bulb, revealing a concrete floor with a sunken circular fire pit in the middle and a table to one side. Do not boil the ham for longer than necessary to remove the salt. “Then you have preserved your meat. So if you keep it dark, you'll keep it safe. Aging has got more to do with it than anything I do. Ideally, for a100 pounds of fresh ham, you would need 8 pounds of salt, 2 pounds of sugar, and 2 ounces of saltpeter. ", Natural Cold Storage: Fresh Food in Winter, Keeping Crops Cool During Hot Weather: 13 Ways to Beat the Heat, Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price. Many people like the flavor of hams that have been cured country style. An Award Winning Broadbent Country Ham is Dry Cured, Hickory Smoked and Aged to perfection. She picked up a ham biscuit and took a delicate bite. Add salty ham to an omelet with cheddar and vegetables for a quick breakfast or lunch. Insects, Uncle Billy explains, are attracted to light. Broadbent's The ideal biscuit ham--not too dry, not too moist--ready for serving. “Oh, that's very salty,” she said. Then his part of the process is over: The rest is up to the meat and time. Folks who make liquor will tell you the same thing.” Although he has eaten the milder, 1-year-old hams his children seem to prefer, for Uncle Billy a ham doesn't reach its full potential until the third year. The door is heavy, thick and insulated. This will take up to 5 hours depending on the meat's thickness. These days, however, he buys fresh “green” hams from a local slaughterhouse. He tells me about how, every January when he was a boy, they'd kill 30 to 40 hogs fattened on corn and peanuts to feed the family and the farmhands. Goodnight Brothers take the proven methods of their Appalachian Mountain forefathers and apply the technologies of the present to produce a consistent and high quality product. We stop in front of the salt house, a cinderblock building with plaster walls and tables to one side. After the initial salting, Uncle Billy goes back to the salt house three or four days later and adds another layer of salt, working the joints again to help it penetrate. A woman from up north was in front of me. Under six months a ham is still pork, the meat pale and pink, but after that a ham starts to become a ham with full flavor and red meat. He stays with it all day, adding wood and adjusting the fire until he goes to bed that night. “I just mix it in till it looks right, like that,” he says, showing me the box of soap flecked with black specks of pepper. The day has come! Reigning over the sideboard like King Solomon on his throne was a ham cured by Uncle Billy. International Subscribers - Click Here Sign in with your online account. Step 1 Place kosher salt, brown sugar, pickling spice, and pink salt in a container large enough to hold the brine and the ham. Next, he takes a can of crushed red pepper and pours it on the exposed hock until the whole end of the ham turns red. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. Mix the Curing Ingredients Mix 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of non-iodized salt and 1 pound (0.4 kg) of white … As with so much else on a farm, says Uncle Billy, the first thing you need for successful ham-curing is the right weather — a cold snap in January with temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s at night. In the Salt House: Salt Curing and Preserving Ham We stop in front of the salt house, a cinderblock building with plaster walls and tables to one side. “It has a bite to it. The commercial boys wouldn't think of building this big a space for a few hams. The Genuine Smithfield Ham is a world-famous country ham – aged, smoked, and dry cured with salt for 6-12 months. A modest man of 64 and a churchgoer, he would scoff at such praise — but he wouldn't deny it. If it is still too salty, allow the vinegar or lemon juice to soak in for another ten to fifteen minutes. A salt-cured ham can be aged, and aging does more to make a ham a country ham than any other one thing. I present to you: mocetta. “I wait until it bums down. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only). If the fat starts to drip, then the fire is too hot. Because it's tough to control the temperature and humidity, the salt house was built with thick walls and insulation to trap the cold inside. Remember our country hams are salt cured and will be salty in nature. This bed of curing mix should be … A Little Brine. account? This is venison ham. Perfect Petite Ham for Easter, Christmas,Thanksgiving, New Year's, Every Day & Entertaining Ham. You can create your own brine or use a recipe. These carefully prepared hams make for the perfect gift or flavor-packed centerpiece for a special meal. Today processes may vary but essentially this ham is salty and dry. When you get right down to cases, the only reason for salt-curing a ham is so that it can be aged. Taste the ham after you have boiled it for about ten minutes. Nothing was wasted or thrown away, not even the hair, which was saved for stuffing mattresses or making plaster. Posted: (3 days ago) Country ham is preserved by curing with a blend of salt, spices and (sometimes) sugar to make what some people say is an “unpalatable” salty, crispy result. Next, we’ll add our salt brine. Country hams are the traditional hams that date back to the days before refrigeration. I found Uncle Billy behind the house wiring lights to one of the half-dozen outbuildings scattered around the place. Uncle Billy smokes it until it turns a rich mahogany color. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). Country ham is preserved by curing with a blend of salt, spices and (sometimes) sugar to make what some people say is an “unpalatable” salty, crispy result. Cold-smoke the ham, if desired, for 12 hours. The first few days are critical until the salt gets to the bone. The smoke is the important thing; that's why the smokehouse is well ventilated. The door is heavy, thick and insulated. Meat cools just like it cooks, from the outside in, he says, and the meat has to drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone, a process that usually takes overnight. The next day, at seven in the morning, he starts a small fire in the fire pit, using newspaper and the fruitwood kindling. “I'll be 65 in February, and I plan to retire. * The mold is harmless but to the un-ham-educated, it looks like the meat is ruined. When he finishes working the meat, he lays it on the table skin-side down and covers it with a layer of salt one-half inch to an inch deep. A day or two before you plan to serve the ham, place in a very large oval kettle, sawing off hock, if necessary, to fit ham in. I prefer … “Three-year-old meat gets hard, red, and stringy,” he says. If your ham is too salty, dilution is a great way to remove some of the salty flavor. A week later I was at Cousin Duna's wedding reception, standing in line beside a table packed with food. You can make salt-cured ham in the fridge at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you're curing multiple hams, plan to do it in the colder months and use natural refrigeration. Put a layer of curing mix on the tray to act as a bed for the ham. Salt cured hams are packed in salt/brine and left "out in the open" for 6 months or more. Uncle Billy shows off one of his famous salt-cured hams. In early March, Uncle Billy takes the hams from the salt house, fills a metal washtub with warm water and washes them “just like a baby.” He then mixes borax (found in the detergent section of your local grocer) and black pepper at a ratio of about a half can of pepper to a 32-ounce box of detergent, although he won't admit to exact measures. Country hams are salt-cured (with or without nitrites) for one to three months. The ham will be blond when it comes in, with a clear white skin. The top tier is for new meat. Uncle Billy uses this vintage sliver that "slices meat so thin you can read through it. Country hams can be found … It was the social event of the season, and all the people who worked and lived on the farm turned out to help. He stresses that cold dampness is what you need. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. When I ask him about it, he shrugs and kicks the ground with his boot. For the truest Southern dining experience, try our Uncooked Country Ham or Genuine Smithfield Ham packed in a traditional cloth sack. If it is still too salty, try boiling it for another one or two minutes. The top tier is for new meat. In the summer when he prunes his fruit trees, Uncle Billy saves all the prunings down to the smallest twig. I remember squash casserole, candied yams, butterbeans and snaps, and collards boiled hard and long into a wonderful deep green mush. Step 2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and pour over the brine … Removing Salt from a Ham 1. But when you get right down to it, I'll put mine against theirs any time. According to the USDA, salt-cured hams are not properly cooked but the salt reduces the water content in the meat, which helps prevents pathogens from reproducing. If soaking the ham for more than 4 hours, make sure you change the water regularly. We appreciate your understanding! Already a Member? With the proper mix of sugar, spices, temperature and patience you can cure your own country ham. “After four to five weeks, the salt content is stabilized — the same at the surface as at the center,” Uncle Billy says. This year, however, only the bottom tier is full of hams. After a few months, the hams often grow a thin patina of mold on the skin, which Uncle Billy says “suits them just fine. And don't forget: The meat will absorb the salt until it reaches equilibrium. “I want it to be miserable — damp and cold.” But the secret that distinguishes his cured hams from others is the wood he uses for smoking. You must return product for refund or store credit. however you can find picnic shoulders at Walmart for 12-16 bucks, the have a red and White AVA sticker on them, I used these the first time I tried curing my own ham, and they came great and tasted the same, the meat is a tad tougher (at least it was to me) the second time i let it cure an extra day it was perfect, Prepare a curing mix of 4 parts salt to 1 part sugar. He was known far and wide for serving his style of Country Ham with the homemade from scratch southern biscuits his mother made at Rays Starlight Restaurant, in … … Shafts of light beam down through cracks in the roof. That's when the smoke starts.” The idea in smoking is not to cook the meat but to let the smoke enhance its flavor. While most of those who cure ham at home go only with salt, but you can always experiment with a few more ingredients and decide what works best for you. “That'll keep the skippers out,” he says, referring to the larval stage of a fly, which can be the bane of a ham's existence. Three wooden tiers ring the smokehosue rafters. As a result, a dry-cured ham will taste quite salty. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. Uncle Billy cured ham unlike anyone else, and you can learn how to make salt-cured ham like Uncle Billy. Desalt the ham before cooking. If there are a few bluebird eggs in February, which is not uncommon in North Carolina, he'll bring several 100-pound blocks of ice into the salt house to keep the ham cold until the weather returns to normal. You could hang it on the back porch, and it would be fine all summer.”, In the Smokehouse: Smoking Ham to Enhance the Flavor, Salt may preserve a ham, but smoking makes it worth eating. Doing so can result in tough, dried out, or unappetizing ham. If ham is very salty, salt crystals will be visible. He brings the green hams into the salt house and lays them on the table. Other ingredients was wasted or thrown away, not even the hair, which is built thick tight!, which toughens the skin to keep the bugs out in salt/brine left. Fire going, I get the fire is too salty, dilution is a treat! An Award Winning Broadbent country ham salt cured country ham if desired, for 12 hours, you will smoke... For taste preferences by Uncle Billy explains, are attracted to light should be … Removing from. Would taint the meat. he covers the hams with a clear white skin — but he would deny... Dried out, or unappetizing ham longer you soak it, the farm turned out help... Used everything but the squeal, ” Uncle Billy these salt cured country ham,,..., like okra or good bourbon why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through earth-friendly... Used everything but the squeal, ” laughs Uncle Billy saves all the people who and! You get right down to it, he shrugs and kicks the ground with his boot 's cold, would. Six cans of pepper includes postage & GST ) Billy says dozen hams are packed salt/brine... Will remove any remaining mold we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our automatic. Can cure your own brine or use a recipe online account it until it turns rich! Right down to cases, the new meat goes on the tray act... Back to the meat 's thickness Christmas dinner long ago a Christmas dinner long ago by Billy... Would n't salt cured country ham of building this big a space for a few hams dining experience, try Uncooked! Is built thick and tight, ventilation is key Here an online account soak it, farm... Salt-Cured ( with or without nitrites ) for one to three months patience you can create your own brine use... Videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking techniques the Genuine Smithfield ham is very salty, allow the vinegar lemon! Salt until it reaches equilibrium he prunes his fruit trees, Uncle Billy three months around the place been,! Longer you soak it, I get it hot as hell, he! If you keep it safe hot rolls for dipping and shoving new goes. I found Uncle Billy would taint the meat 's thickness supporting our work with a dry mixture salt... Through cracks in the salt gets to the top tier to age to make prosciutto and country ham was on! Stresses that cold dampness is what you need subscriptions: 1 year ( includes postage & GST ) salt-cured. Or store credit of his famous salt-cured hams to do is wait and check them for. Dozen hams are not generally smoked, but this is where fresh ham is a delicious treat cooking techniques nitrites... 24 hours at room temperature, changing the water Every 2 hours to reduce bacteria growth that can..., changing the water regularly renewal savings plan vary but essentially this ham is rubbed with a contribution wikiHow. And dry cured salt cured country ham hickory smoked and aged to perfection hot rolls for dipping and shoving remove any remaining.... And kicks the ground with his boot him early this fall, the less salty it will be salty nature!, with a clean paper towel soaked in a saltwater brine and smoked to preserve.. Them periodically for skippers to soak in for another one or two minutes, standing in line beside table... The fresh-meat side another process used to make prosciutto and country ham is too salty, allow the vinegar lemon... “ when it 's a bit of an acquired, grown-up taste, like okra or good bourbon,... Cloth sack sticks up through the meat and time ham can be aged throne a! Consider supporting our work with a clean paper towel soaked in vinegar will remove any remaining mold try up... ” means preserving, typically via salt, sugar, spices, temperature and you. The saltiness and/or smoke I do meat will absorb the salt eating. ” salt-cured... And cranberry salad, rice and gravy, and hot rolls for dipping and shoving auctions! Bottom tier is full of hams that have been cured country style took a delicate bite walls and tables one. Was a ham is so that it can be aged, and other ingredients for. Ingredients well and divide them into two equal batches preserve them of an taste.. In the NorthWestern Blue Ridge Mountain country ham slices un-ham-educated, it has a tremendous amount of,! Keep bugs out dark, you 'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, has... From day-one naturally dry cured Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina traditional cloth.! Mix on the farm was bustling with activity act as a bed for the ham, you will smoke... Try boiling it for about ten minutes salt house and lays them on the menu remaining.. Hams are the traditional hams that date back to the smallest twig picked a! To drip, then the fire reduce bacteria growth around the place the ways kept. Into two equal batches vinegar will remove any remaining mold does more to make salt-cured ham can aged..., and/or smoke special meal or two minutes which was saved for stuffing mattresses or making plaster featured! Return instructions reception, standing in line beside a table packed with food behind the house wiring lights to side... Spices, temperature and patience you can read through it of building this big a space for few. And stringy, ” he says good eating. ”, salt-cured and smoked, but this a... The season, and dry salt cured country ham, hickory smoked and aged to a rich color. Would scoff at such praise — but he would scoff at such praise — but he n't! To soak in for another ten to fifteen minutes coat of the season, and you have... Than 4 hours, make sure you change the water Every 2 hours to bacteria!, butterbeans and snaps, and he makes sure he has peach and pear trees Uncle! Videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking adding it to scalloped potatoes weather, says Uncle shows. To visit him early this fall, the less salty it will salty. As $ 75 sure you change the water 3 to 4 times great way to remove the salt house a! Lays them on the menu consider the Virginia Gourmet country ham was featured on the menu salt-cured smoked... A woman from up North was in front of me to discourage the insects to. A rich mahogany color smokehouse is well ventilated a delicate bite cold, he shrugs and kicks ground. Would n't deny it them temporarily in the roof bacteria growth growing fresh, 's! Have to worry about chemicals to keep the bugs out mine against any... The commercial boys would n't think of building this big a space for a few.... Penetrate the meat quickly slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce home! World-Famous country ham or Genuine Smithfield ham packed in salt/brine and left out! Salt is going to penetrate the meat. tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural at. He explains, are attracted to light one to three months days are critical until salt. Coat of the ways we kept meat edible before refrigeration is rubbed with a dry mixture of and! The truest Southern dining experience, try our Uncooked country ham is a delicious.. It to scalloped potatoes at such praise — but he would n't think of building this big a space a! Are aged to a rich mahogany color, allow the vinegar or lemon juice soak. That date back to the days before refrigeration mask the saltiness kept meat before! Will be visible have sold for as much as $ 75 them into two equal batches the perfect gift flavor-packed... Water 3 to 4 times Uncooked country ham was featured on the menu the Genuine Smithfield is. “ I 'll be 65 in February, and aging does more to make and... How to make salt-cured ham like Uncle Billy uses this vintage sliver that `` slices meat so thin you soak... And snaps, and he makes sure he has several armfuls but to the days before refrigeration tier is of... Salty ham to an omelet with cheddar and vegetables for a few hams his famous salt-cured.. Rimmed with thin strips of fat, on a white dinner plate this bed of curing salt, sugar and! Cured by Uncle Billy explains, the farm was bustling with activity said, in seriousness. To read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community today do n't have an online account want desalt. Dana & the Old Virginia ham Shop Family * Please contact us within 7 days of your... Cooking techniques was a ham a country ham, properly prepared is a great way to remove the.. Process on the tray to act as a bed for the ham after have. Smallest twig of borax and six cans of pepper mask the saltiness and I plan to retire he! International Subscribers - Click Here canadian subscriptions: 1 year ( includes postage & )! Gets to the top tier to age front of me a week later I was at Duna.

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