Dry salt cure for a 14-lb ham

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Ham (English hams weigh roughly 14 to 20 lbs)
1 ounce Brown sugar
½ ounce Saltpeter (from the drugstore)
2 pounds Rough salt

The same method may be used for bacon. A leg of pork severed from the whole side is called a ham. When the leg is left attached to the side, and severed only after the cure, it is called a gammon.

You will need a salting pan. Leave the ham unskinned. Rub in the sugar and the saltpeter first, paying particular attention to the bone ends. Then rub on half the salt and put the ham to rest on slats in a slating trough (best if it has a channel for the brine to drain out). Rub in the rest of the salt at the end of a week. Leave the ham to take the salt for a total of 3 weeks (depending on the size of the ham), turning regularly. Then hang the ham to dry in a draft of warm air for a day or two. If you would like to smoke your own, you will need a barrel smoker or a smoking shed. Light the fire with kindling first, then feed it with beech, birch, or oak sawdust.

Smoke over the open end of a smoker barrel. Keep the fire smoldering constantly - it is not good for the cure to allow changes in temperature.

Twenty-four hours in the smoke shoudl suffice for a ham; 6 hours is enough for a side of bacon. York hams are then hung to mature for 2 to 3 months in a tgemperature and humidity controlled room.

Time: 3 weeks plus.

From: "The Old World Kitchen - The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cooking" by Elisabeth Luard, ISBN 0-553-05219-5 Posted by: Karin Brewer, Cooking Echo, 7/92

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