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

  1. Dry Curing Book – – One of our recently-signed-up users expressed an interest in dry cured pork. I ran across a good book called “Dry Cured Pork: Make your own salami, Pancetta, Coppa, Prosciutto, and More. (Have a look at it via this Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Dry-Curing-Pork-Pancetta-Prosciutto-Countryman/dp/1581572433/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490719720&sr=1-1&keywords=dry+curing+pork ). This is a well-written book which covers dry curing starting with the basics and working its way up with plenty of detail. The author, a teacher, is also a hobbyist who learned by doing. His mantra: “Understand the basics of dry curing and gain the skills to do it at home.”

    I won’t do a “deep dive” review here. Rather, I’ll suggest that you read what Amazon has posted, then decide. There’s none of the snobbery that guys like Ruhlman have. Instead, it’s a practical how-to guide with good explanations of why you do it and a brush of the history behind the traditional items you’ll be making. I think you’ll like this one. At $14.36, it’s a steal.

  2. Here’s a shot of “Dry-Cured Pork Loin + Juniper + Garlic” from a little book called “Dry-Curing Pork,” Hector Kent, Countryman Press, 2014, p.90-91. The picture shows the loin portion (not quite a kilogram) after dry curing in a vacuum bag in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s been rinsed, trussed, and is ready to be inoculated with Mold-600 and fermented/dried at 14 degC and 80% humidity. This will be done alongside a couple of salami that have a month head start. If the finished product is anything like the few scraps that I fried up and tasted, it ought to be great.

    The recipe is as follows (soon to be posted in our archive):

      1. Thanks, Big Guy. Wish you could hop in your car and swing by to try it. It’ll be ready in 6 weeks or so. (Given the condition of your car, maybe you could start now, and…)

  3. That looks pretty darned sweet Duk. Is that done with those UMAi bags? I’ve been tossing around getting a starter set from Amazon, I think it’s five bags and some Cure#2 for about $35. My main concern is fridge space. Two upright freezers in the garage, just the lone kitchen fridge.

    This is a pic of the wild hog ham we served for Easter dinner. It was brined in a maple solution for six days and then smoked on my Pro 100 for 22 hours with applewood. After ten months in my freezer it was still fantastic.

  4. Thanks, Ray. I’ll bet that ham was good! (UhOh! The picture didn’t make it. Please try again, or email it to us and I’ll post it.)
    My pork loin dry curing was done in a regular ol’ “FoodSaver” bag, in the refrigerator. The next phase (drying) needs to be done in either a curing cabinet or, as you said, an UMAi bag in your refrigerator. I hope you’ll try the UMAibags, or their competition. Seein’ as how you don’t have a curing cabinet setup, UMAi seems like a good way to go. Please keep us posted on how it turns out. “Inquiring minds want to know.” I’d like to try it myself.

  5. I’ll try posting my ham picture again. What remains is being turned into split pea soup right now. You bet Duk, I’ll try out a little something soon with UMAi bags! RAY

  6. This was the best ham of three that I have made from a Berkshire leg using Pop’s brine method from the smokingmeats forum. He uses his commercial butcher father’s brine recipe which uses less nitrate but soaks for 30 days.


    1. I had a look at Pops’ series of posts, and they were excellent. I have posted an edited (for readability) version in our recipes section in hopes of making it easily accessible for our users who are interested in brining and wet curing various meats, and asked for permission (forgiveness???) of the SmokingMeatForums.com folks. Thanks for the “Heads Up” on a great technique, explained understandably. http://sausageswest.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Pops-guide-to-CURING-and-SMOKING.pdf This technique produces a cured/cooked product.

  7. Just got done smoking up a ten pound pork belly into some beautiful maple-honey bacon using the recipe of old Chuckwagon himself. I like to cook the bacon real low and slow so as not to blacken all the brown sugar and maple syrup. Ol’ Rytec Kutas was spot on, you can’t buy bacon this good at any market. Of course the pic I’m posting with this will be hard-pressed to show, but that’s OK! RAY

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