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City Ham help

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 19:05
Hello all,
I harvest many wild hogs each year in my neck of the woods and the majority of my sausages, wet and dry, are all from wild meat. With that said, I harvested a nice 200 lb sow last weekend and have decided to make a city ham. My family LOVES our xmas hams and I would love to try making one.
Can anyone provide me with a great and Solid recipe to work with and learn from? Wet or dry cute is fine. Whatever will give me the best results is what I am hoping for!

Thanks again to all!

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 07:07
by redzed
Hi Nick and congrats on the wild hog! Making a ham from it does not differ from making it from a domestic hog. There many variations on making a ham, and for starters read Stan Marianski's information page. There you will find brine tables and other curing options.

There is also a recipe here ... ked-smoked If you are planning to make a whole leg ham, it is very important that you also inject the meat, or else you will risk spoilage. I made a small 5-6lb ham last fall from my wild boar, but it was fairly easy. I made a 40┬░brine flavoured with rosemary, garlic and peppercorns and held it in the brine for one week.

Can you let us know what type of ham you want to make? I think that all hams that not the dry cured country hams fall into the "city ham" category.

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 17:27
Thanks for the reply, I am looking for a "holiday ham". Just like you would buy in the store to take home for Xmas dinner. Maybe even a glaze.

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 00:29
by Butterbean
Simplest and most consistent method I know to do this is to make a 65-70% brine with your salt and recommended amount of cure. Weigh the ham and inject the ham in the inner most portions of the ham along the bone and joints with this brine DILUTED with water. Dilution is about half. You want to inject 10% of each ham's weight with this diluted brine.

Once you've done this, submerge the hams in the non-diluted brine and let it sit refrigerated for 5 days - submerged and you will want to rearrange them every day or two to be sure they are getting a good dose. After five days, remove it, rinse it off with water and hang it in the cooler for a few days to allow for equalization of the salt and the cure throughout the meat. Its important to let it equalize else you may see some uncured spots in the ham. Nothing wrong if this happens but it will just makes me mad when I see this in mine.

You can add all sorts of spices and sugars to the brine but for all practical purposes you can achieve similar results if you just season the ham before you put it in the oven or the smoker.

Hope this was some help.

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 18:33
by redzed
Hey Butterbean, that is an interesting twist on using half strength brine to inject the ham with. I gotta admit I never ran across that method before. Where does it come from?

Nick, I also think that if you haven't already done so, read Chuckwagon's tutorial on making a ham and the recipe he provides. Lot's of useful info there. Use the smoking option rather than boiling. Smoke the ham for up to 10 hours in at around 130-140F and finish by poaching in a water temp of 170-175F. Here is a thread where one of our members did a good job using CW's recipe.

Do a bit of reading, make sure you inject the ham thoroughly with the recommended amount of brine and you will have a great ham Meat from wild hogs is usually more dense since they get more exercise than domestic hogs, so I would recommend that you leave it in the brine for at least 8 days or longer.

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 23:54
by Butterbean
Redzed, I really can't say where this came from for sure but if I had to guess I would think it came from my old friend and butcher Russell Bradford who first introduced me to curing. He was a big fan of brining but I can't remember him ever suggesting the injection part. That may have been something I came up with later after seeing those half dollar uncured areas inside the meat. He seemed to have a sixth sense for when things were ready but I've never quite mastered that and these little uncured areas really anoy me. Diluting the brine seems to prevent nitrate burn - that metallic sheen a ham can sometimes takes on. I sure miss him and his knowledge. He was always eager to help answer questions and cut through some of the BS.

In practice, brining is very practical. When the meat in his showcase began to lose its fresh luster he would simply toss the meat in the brine bucket and turn the meat into something else. Take these hams for instance. When you remove them and hang to equalize you can toss some bellies in the brine and leave them for three days and rinse and hang them for a day. After this time you can take all the meat and put in the smoker and all should come out just fine.

If he was doing separate batches in the same bucket over different days he would use a trussing needle to run a string through each piece and tie a knots in the string and the knots would be use as an identification label for what meat was what.

Here is my most recent city ham. My wife loves the flavor of these and they don't last long around the house. I slathered it well with a sweet glaze then smoked in apple and everyone seemed to enjoy it.