Please help! Question on dry cured Virginia Ham
Instructions say "after washing ham, soak from 24 to 36 hours". What do I soak it in - hot, warm, tepid or cold water? Covered or uncovered stockpot? Please advise.
Alton Brown says after scrubbing off the ham, to put the ham in a cooler (foam I assume) and cover it with cold water. Change the water twice a day and turn the ham for 2 days.
What ever will hold the whole ham and it can be covered by cold water. You really need to scrub the ham well. The dry cured hams often aquire a light coating of mold during the dryinng/curing process. I advocate changing the cold water as frequently as possible, mabye 4-6 hours, Hoppin John Taylor suggests 8-12 hours. If you have a laundry sink it is perfect because you can just pull the plug and then refill and avoid a lot of heavy lifting
After it is soaked then you can either roast it or boil it. Coke is often added to the boiling water to add some sweetness and include in the pot a pint of cider vinegar, a couple of onions a couple of bay leaves and a half a handful of whole cloves. If your pot for boiling is not deep enough you may have to saw off the hock so it fits. You will need to simmer it 15-20 mins./lb. Then remove from the pot and remove the skin, you can roast that up into so me good cracklings. Leave abpout a half inch of fat on the ham and then score it with cloves and rub with brown sugar and put into a 350 F. oven to bake until golden and browned. Some people prefer to bake it. So just put it in a large roaster after the scrubbing and soaking. Bake at 350 F for 20 mins/lb. Then remove the skin and proceed as above.
You can also just slice off steaks and pan fry. You might use up some leftovers making the potted ham with bourbon recipe I have posted seceral times in the past 4-6 weeks.
Thanks very much for all your helpful advice. I did end up soaking in cold water (changing at least once a day) in a covered pot after scrubbing. The ham didn't look so bad when I peeled off the wrappings - there was very little mold. Will be boiling and roasting it this afternoon flavored with the spices Candy mentioned. Happy Holidays, everyone!!!