The Perfect Ham?

Recipes and techniques using brine.

The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:17 pm

If you could make one perfect ham from scratch, from the curing stage all the way to the cooking/glazing/smoking stage what would it be? I have made several North American style hams over the years and, while they have all been very good, I feel like I need to step it up a notch. My mum has requested I do a ham for Christmas (I know, it is only mid-October!) and has asked if I could do a really special British ham like the ones she grew up eating. I have been browsing several recipes here and have seen some great sounding hams but I really want to do something special as she really misses the comforts of "back home". Now I have to admit a certain level of ignorance here, I have been away from England most my life and am not well versed with British hams. She says that her hams were never cooked but always cold smoked when she would get them from her uncle the pig farmer. Some input on curing recipes, smoking, and cooking would be greatly appreciated ... also I'm just curious what people consider to be their favourite hams? Thanks gang!
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby BriCan » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:12 am

Traditional English Gammon ham

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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:45 pm

BriCan wrote:Traditional English Gammon ham

Image


My god man that looks GOOD! I picked up some saltpetre since it seems to be used often in the British hams, usually only use cure #1 so it is new to me. Care to share your secret?

Also, what is the best cut for something like that? Obviously the ham, but what specifically should I request of my butcher? Boneless and tied with skin on or off?
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby BriCan » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:34 pm

ComradeQ wrote:My god man that looks GOOD! I picked up some saltpeter since it seems to be used often in the British hams, usually only use cure #1 so it is new to me. Care to share your secret?


yes, but need to check one thing before I post with vagreys

Also, what is the best cut for something like that? Obviously the ham, but what specifically should I request of my butcher? Boneless and tied with skin on or off?


leg boneless, rind on ... nugget removed .. this will give you about a 10 lb boneless ham which will shrink a tad when cooking


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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby Ruralidle » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:00 pm

ComradeQ wrote:She says that her hams were never cooked but always cold smoked ......


I'm not sure about this. Perhaps BriCan (with his British background) or Wheels can assist, but I don't think that I have ever eaten a ham/gammon in the UK that has only been cured and cold smoked. Just make sure that you have VERY accurate scales (0.1g or better) for weighing that saltpetre!
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby wheels » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:59 pm

I'm guessing that, by that, she means that they were cold, rather than hot smoked.

As you say, virtually all the classic UK hams were traditionally cooked before eating.

Welsh Carmarthen Ham is now eaten raw, but this document indicates that this only dates back to the 70's:

https://whitehall-admin.production.alph ... 130815.pdf

HTH

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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:05 pm

wheels wrote:I'm guessing that, by that, she means that they were cold, rather than hot smoked.

As you say, virtually all the classic UK hams were traditionally cooked before eating.

Welsh Carmarthen Ham is now eaten raw, but this document indicates that this only dates back to the 70's:

https://whitehall-admin.production.alph ... 130815.pdf

HTH

Phil


Yeah, cold smoked rather than hot smoked. She says she would always get them cold smoked but still raw and would either boil them or roast them fresh. Here in North America the vast majority of our hams are hot smoked and sold already cooked. The home cook is basically just reheating the ham and adding a glaze or something to it. While this makes for a perfectly good product I would like to try to recreate something special for my mum ... she deserves only the finest British ham, lol!
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:16 am

So I finally got round to doing my ham. Got a nice 20lb locally raised organic Tamworth ham as well as a nice slab of English bacon. I used Oddley's combination pump and dry rub with the saltpeter/cure #1 combination located here: viewtopic.php?t=4899.

Bacon was just a dry rub.

So my question: I cold smoked this today with a combination of 50/50 apple and cherry woods. Usually I do North American style hot smoked hams so this is a first. I was planning to cook it in water/cider following a method devised by brican. Any suggestions on glazes for afterwards? Hints?

And now to maintain interest, pics ...

Bacon First:
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Ham Time:
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby wheels » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:18 pm

They both look super. I can't help with the glaze though.

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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby BriCan » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:47 am

Simple and easy .............

In a large (4lt measuring jug or large bowl)

Take 1kg dark brown sugar, a dd to this 2 tablespoons dry mustard, 2 tablespoons of corn starch mix will so no lumps (or just about none). Add enough hot water (from hot water tap) to mix with the above until it is like a thick syrup to this mixture add at least four fingers of the hard stuff I use Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:11 pm

BriCan wrote:Simple and easy .............

In a large (4lt measuring jug or large bowl)

Take 1kg dark brown sugar, a dd to this 2 tablespoons dry mustard, 2 tablespoons of corn starch mix will so no lumps (or just about none). Add enough hot water (from hot water tap) to mix with the above until it is like a thick syrup to this mixture add at least four fingers of the hard stuff I use Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge


I see you have changed your ratios a little and eliminated the white vinegar from your post last year on cooking hams. I will try this glaze for sure but will have to bypass the alcohol as one of my guests can not have anything containing or tasting of alcohol ... I know it sucks but I have to respect his wishes. Was thinking I could just add some nonalcoholic apple cider instead?

Do you stud with cloves after removing the rind? Debating if it is necessary ... I may skip it and let the ham taste come through.
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby BriCan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:12 pm

go with original recipe if you have it marked/saved.

Use a non-alcoholic drink if you like -- (alcohol was/is being used as another flavour layer)

Depending on my time I would stud with cloves

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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby ComradeQ » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:07 pm

Quick update: Cooked the ham for Christmas dinner, was beautiful! The glaze, oh my god the glaze, was amazing!!! Brican, everyone raved about how good that glaze was and I had to tell them it ... was my recipe!! Mewhahahahaha!!! Just kidding, credit went to you! Anyway, some pics ...

The Glazed and Cooked Ham:
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Sliced and Plated:
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby wheels » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:38 pm

Looks good.

Phil
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Re: The Perfect Ham?

Postby Ruralidle » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:56 pm

How about this one?

I didn't get the pork out of the freezer in time to soak it in a cooked brine for weeks so I tried a different approach. It was cold smoked twice using my CSG (Applewood once then Beech wood), cooked in BriCan's "Suffolk" ham brine using Thwaites Nutty Black and a good dose of "botanicals" then cold smoked again over maple wood. Finally roasted with the cooking liquid reduced to make the glaze (and a tablespoon of maple syrup added). I just forgot to take pictures of the uncut ham.

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