Cooking My Cured Ham?

Recipes and techniques using brine.

Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:25 pm

Hi people

I'm currently curing my first ham, using a cider-based brine recipe from the 'Food Heroes' site. It's nearing the end of the cure time (11 days total) and I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next.

Presumably the ham will need to be rested as in the recipe. The original weight of the meat was 1050g, so what kind of period should I be aiming for?

From what I understand after the resting stage the meat should then be 'boiled' in liquid (water?) to a certain internal temperature. It can then as a further step be roasted in the oven.

Is this correct? And if so what are the advantages of the roasting, if any, other than being able to apply a glaze to the ham?

Thanks for any help / suggestions (I'll get there one day...)
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby quietwatersfarm » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:36 pm

i have tried many ways, and there are plenty of methods that will give you good results.

the easiest, and one I use every time myself nowdays is to fill a large roasting tray about 3/4 full of water, place the ham in, stick it in the (medium) oven until it hits temp (65ish internal) and then drain of the liquor (great soup base!) whip the skin off and glaze it with whatever you fancy (our most common is still honey, soft brown sugar and mustard) and back in the (hotter oven) just until its caramelized a bit.

Always moist, always tasty and no waste.
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:09 am

OK, so you skip the 'boiling' step, heading straight to the oven. Sounds good, and yes very easy to do. So the ham is submerged in the liquid not sat on a rack above it?

Any suggestions regarding resting the meat between curing and cooking?
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby quietwatersfarm » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:27 am

We always leave the hams for few days to equalise in the chiller and, yes, sit the ham in the liquid. :)
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:43 pm

Hi

Well I've just removed the meat from the brine and given it a rinse. It's taken on a lovely aroma from the cider and spices but I've noticed a small part of the inner area on the topside is still a pink colour whereas the underside and edges are much darker, firmer and, well, generally more cured-looking.

I used a tight fitting container to hold the meat and cure (in a ziplock bag), turning every day or two. I imagine the difference in colour and feel is due to this, as the the topside may have spent slightly less time being completely submerged - ok maybe I wasn't overly disciplined with the turning :? .

Assuming this isn't a major problem I'll give it 3 or 4 days to rest and proceed with the oven method.

Thanks for the help
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby wheels » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:48 pm

johnnycurewell wrote:...but I've noticed a small part of the inner area on the topside is still a pink colour whereas the underside and edges are much darker, firmer and, well, generally more cured-looking...

Assuming this isn't a major problem...


It's hard to know, but is probably OK as different muscles can show different colours after curing.

QWF's method of cooking is good, and is also used by Brican and described in detail here:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10583

An alternative is to cook it in a water bath at 70°C - 75°C with the meat in a vac-bag (or roasting bag). Cook it until the internal temperature is 72°C. You take it to a higher temp than when roasting as there will be far less carry over due to the lower cooking temp. You can also add apple juice to the bag to give even more apple flavour.

HTH

Phil
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby Coldcure » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:34 pm

Sorry for maybe being a bit dull but if it is in a vac bag how or when do you know the temp is correct without breaking the seal?

Or is it not sealed?
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby wheels » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:43 am

No, it's not sealed, but the top of the bag is above the level of the liquid.

Or, you can do it like this:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/?e=614

I don't think it really matters how you cook the ham. But, cook it at low temperature, and don't rely on 'x minutes per lb', use a thermometer - whatever way you choose, just cook it slowly until it's cooked, no more. Too hot, or too long, the muscles'll separate: the meat'll shrink, and it'll be dry.

Phil
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby Coldcure » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:57 pm

That's great thanks for the info I cant wait to get one done.

Got to get me bacon out tomorrow and then dry it I have got the smoker and everything ready and waiting.
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:39 pm

Thanks for the link Phil, very informative and just what I was after.

Think I'll go with the oven method this time round and maybe the bag technique next time to compare the two. Either way, low and slow seems to be order of the day (and using a meat thermometer).

I just cut and fried myself a thin slice, in the name of research of course... Although very flavoursome it was also pretty salty, probably more so than I'd like in the finished product. Is this likely to change at all with cooking or is it worth soaking the meat or something like that to reduce the saltiness?
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby wheels » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:05 pm

In theory the salt should be 2.81% and the sugar 2.27 %. It is a more 'traditional' style ham in terms of it's saltiness, but I've never thought it too salty - and I tend to prefer lower salt products.

That said, "One man's meat etc..."

I'd taste the water after about 20 minutes cooking, and change it if it tastes too salty.

Phil
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:45 pm

OK, that's reassured me somewhat, especially as I've made your 'My Favourite Bacon' recipe and found it very much to my taste salt-wise. Still, I'll check the cooking liquid as a guide like you suggest.

Thanks again
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby johnnycurewell » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:20 am

Well yesterday I cooked my ham and I'd say it was definitely a successful first attempt :)

I went with the roasting method; 300F for around 2.5 hours. I removed the meat at 145F expecting some carryover cooking but surprisingly this didn't happen so it went back in the oven until it hit 160F.

A great tasting ham, the only downside being I overdid the cinnamon somewhat, but this didn't detract from the overall end product, and I thought the cider / spice combo works well (and the salt level was just about right).

Thanks for all the help guys :D
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Re: Cooking My Cured Ham?

Postby wheels » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:37 pm

Phew, I'm glad about the salt! The spicing was based on the idea of 'mulled cider' - it's a bit of a 'love it' or 'hate it' one.

Phil
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