CURE MIX FOR 5 LBS. (2.25 KG) OF PORK
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) Bradley Honey Cure (Do not use more than this amount.)
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) teaspoons onion granules or onion powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) garlic granules or garlic powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) white pepper
- honey (optional) 1 to 3 Tbsp.
Note: If the meat weighs either more or less than 5 pounds (2.25 kg), the amount of cure mix applied must be proportional to that weight. For example, if the weight of the meat is 2 1/2 pounds (1.15 kg), then each ingredient, including the Bradley Cure, needs to be cut in half.
Blending and applying the curing mix
- Weigh the pork. If more than one curing container will be used, calculate separately the total weight of the meat that will be placed in each container. Refrigerate the meat while the cure mix is being prepared. (Any plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid — or a strong plastic bag — can be used as a curing container.)
- Prepare, calculate, and measure the required amount of curing mixture for each container. Mx this curing blend until it is uniform.
- Place the meat in the curing container(s). Rub the cure mix on all surfaces evenly. Cover, and refrigerate. The refrigerator temperature should be set between 34°F and 40°F (2.2°C to 4.4°C).
- Overhaul the pieces of meat after about 12 hours of curing. (Overhaul means to rub the surfaces of the meat to redistribute the cure.) Be sure to wet the meat with any liquid that may have accumulated in the bottom of the curing container.
- Overhaul the meat about every other day until the required curing time has elapsed. (Cure one week per inch: If the thickest piece is 1 inch, cure 1 week; if the thickest piece is two inches, cure the whole batch 2 weeks.)
- Assuming the maximum thickness of the pork is 2 inches (5 cm), the pork will be fully cured at the end of two weeks. When the curing is finished, rinse each piece of pork very well in lukewarm water. Drain in a colander, and blot with a paper towel.
- Wrap each piece of pork in a paper towel, and then wrap again with newspaper. Refrigerate overnight.
Smoking the ham
- The next morning, remove the paper and dry the surface of the meat in front of an electric fan or inside of a smoker heated to about 140°F (60°C). If a smoker is used, make sure that the damper is fully open. Do not use smoke. Drying the surface will require one or two hours.
- When the surface is dry, cold smoke the pork for 3 hours. If your smoke chamber temperature is higher than 85°F (about 30°C), the smoking time might have to shortened to prevent excessive drying.
- Raise the smoke chamber temperature to about 150°F (65°C). Smoke about 2 or 3 hours more until the surface of the ham takes on an attractive reddish-brown color. Remove the meat from the smoke chamber.
Cooking the ham
After removing the ham from the smoker, it may be cooked using one of several methods, or it may be refrigerated or frozen and cooked later. If it is to be refrigerated or frozen, cool it at room temperature for an hour or so and refrigerate it – uncovered – overnight; the next morning it may be wrapped and, if you desire, frozen.
Below are some suggestions for cooking the ham. (Ham is fully cooked when the internal temperature is at least 160°F (71.1°C).
- Leave the meat in the smoker and hot smoke it until it is done. The disadvantage with this method is that the ham may become too dry.
- Wrap each piece of ham in plastic food wrap and cook in a steamer. This is an excellent method to cook the ham; the juices are retained by the plastic wrap. (A steamer may be improvised by using a large pan with an elevated rack inside; cover with a lid.)
- Bake it in an oven.
- Slice it and fry it.
Note: If the salt taste is too mild, add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the ingredients list the next time you make this product. If the salt taste is too strong, reduce the amount of Bradley Cure by about 1 teaspoon.
Varieties of Ham Spicy ham
You can put your own signature on ham by adding your favorite spice to the curing blend. Many people like a slight clove flavor to the ham; add some powdered cloves to the curing blend. Allspice flavored ham has a special appeal for some. A few people like the taste of cinnamon with pork. Use your imagination; you might make a great discovery!
Maple or brown sugar flavored ham
Use the Bradley Demerara Cure or the Bradley Maple Cure (together with additional brown sugar or maple syrup, if you desire) to make ham with a different flavor.