4 – HAM-BACON-WHOLE MUSCLES      (Preserving Entire “Cuts”)

4 – HAM-BACON-WHOLE MUSCLES (Preserving Entire “Cuts”)

What greater pleasure than a country ham and red-eye gravy breakfast? Well, personally…

But that’s okay. There are many regional specialties and traditional methods or preserving meats. Gimme a good corned-beef or pastrami on rye and a kosher or Polski Wyrobi dill pickle on the side, and I’ll be a happy camper.

…even tell you about the time I went on a job interview in Connecticut and had the best Reuben in my life? …had “duck breath” after that, so I didn’t get the job, but man! …was it worth it!

So, share your techniques, experiences, and Grandpa’s old traditional recipes here.

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296 thoughts on “4 – HAM-BACON-WHOLE MUSCLES (Preserving Entire “Cuts”)

  1. …hope your Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey turned out as good as mine! http://sausageswest.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Double-Whiskey-Smoked-Turkey.pdf uses a brine recipe adapted from a Steven Raichlen book but does the cooking entirely in your smoker. The whole family raved about it! One comment was that it gave the dark meat and white meat entirely different flavors, both excellent. (Naturally I accepted the compliments, attributing them to “skill and daring.”) At any rate, give the recipe a try at Christmas, unless you make Chuckwagon’s tried-and-true soft-drink-based cured recipe. Both are great!

    1. That looks to be a fine bird recipe Duk! I like that the recipe doesn’t call for any cure #1, that way the bird ends up tasting more like turkey than ham. I brined our 21.5lb bird in salt, lemons, and water right out of the freezer on Sunday prior to Thanks, the bucket sat in the cool garage till Thursday. My wife does Thanks, Xmas, and Easter dinner, I cook the rest of the year. This year we’re shaking things up and I’m cooking for Xmas. After turkey dinner, turkey sandwiches, and making turkey soup, I’ve had it with turkey, never liked it all that much in the first place. We have my 93 year old father-in-law over for holiday dinners and he can’t chew very well, so there goes my Xmas prime, wife wouldn’t eat prime either. I’m going to make Dungeness crab-shrimp-ricotta cheese ravioli from scratch, semolina flour pasta, a nice Alfredo sauce, to go along with veal parmesan and maybe a artichoke frittata on the side. I am going to buy a whole untrimmed standing rib roast when they come on sale for the holidays and then dry-age it using the UMAi dry steak bags, 35-45 days in the fridge. The steaks I’ll cut will have a flavor that’s beyond description, turns USDA choice into far better then prime. RAY

  2. March 31, 2019 at 09:57 el Ducko
    We just had what will probably be the last cold front come through yesterday.This morning, the outside temperature was 47 degF/8 degC at 9am, perfect for rinsing/drying off/smoking a brined, slightly modified “Sons of Bees” bacon recipe (see our recipe compilation) by good ol’ Chuckwagon, God rest his soul. It’s in the smoker now, and I’m using my Amazin’ tubular smoke generator with hickory pellets. Actually, I left out the “bees” part, using only piloncillo (brown) sugar for the sweetener, for some local TexMex flavor. I plan to smoke it all day, refilling the Amazin’ as needed. It’s a fairly lean piece of pork belly, so this may be closer to tasso than bacon. Ain’t this hobby great? You can vary almost anything (except top nitrite/nitrate levels) that you want.

  3. April 2, 2019 at 11:27 sawhorseray
    Oh yeah Duk, I always refer to CW’s Sons of Bees bacon and maple-honey bacon, same same. It is absolutely the best bacon recipe ever and pretty much the only one I ever use. I always have to take my time cooking the stuff, has to be done on low heat or all that sweetness wants to burn. I’ve only got a few packs left that I’m hoping will sustain me until we relocate to Arizona. RAY

  4. April 2, 2019 at 20:44 el Ducko
    I smoked my bacon for about 11 hours, with hickory pellets. Put it in the freezer to firm it up, then sliced about half. Yum! …and yeah, gotta cook it slowly or it will burn, probably because of all that sugar. Gotta do this again soon.

  5. June 29, 2019 at 18:35 Kd
    Hey Duk, I was wondering how you figure the amount of cure in a dry rub it in a gallon of h²0. Also, I have a chamber vac machine, would packing bacon or hams in a vac bag with brine speed up the process like using a vacuum chamber machine. Thanks

  6. June 30, 2019 at 12:56 el Ducko
    In response to Kd’s post: Hey Duk, I was wondering how you figure the amount of cure in a dry rub it in a gallon of h²0. Also, I have a chamber vac machine, would packing bacon or hams in a vac bag with brine speed up the process like using a vacuum chamber machine. Thanks

    Dry rub vs. H2O brine has some problems and pitfalls, and not even the Feds are clear about it. From what I can tell, everything in the dry rub is assumed to all be taken up by the meat, whereas there’s no way that can happen with a brine. What you have to do is figure up how much liquid is taken up by the meat (a good approximation is 10% to 20%) and then calculate how much cure that amount of brine has in it. (If you use a packaged meat with “xx percent liquid added” on the label, use that amount.) Obviously, most of the cure, as well as most of your secret blend of herbs and spices, is gonna stay in the bulk liquid brine. What fraction of brine absorbed is the percent liquid absorbed times the meat weight, divided by the sum of (the percent liquid absorbed times the meat weight) plus (the liquids added for the brine). Don’t forget to add in the liquids added by the packer if this has already been added. The amount of cure to be dissolved in the brine times this fraction of brine absorbed into the meat gives the amount of cure in the meat, and dividing that number by the weight of the meat gives you the concentration.
    Clear as mud, huh? …best do this in a spreadsheet. That’s what I do. Don’t forget that Prague powder is only 6.25% nitrite and cure #2 is that plus 4% nitrate. If you have problems, I can send you a spreadsheet that I use. Just shoot me an email at sausages.by.chuck.n.duck@gmail.com .
    Dunno if a vacuum bag will speed up cure treatment or not. The manufacturers claim it does but frankly I wouldn’t trust ’em for something this important.

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