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Dec 24, 2010 10:45 PM

Cured Smithfield Ham, tomorrow's the day, how to's please

Second year in a row with a Smithfield cured/aged/smoked ham.
So it's been in a 5 gallen bucket 2 days with water being changd out every few hours.
We'll have turkey too but about this blame ham. I have the muslin wrapper it came in with instructions.
Although I can read, I'd like instructions from anyone who's attempted one of these specific hams.
Can I bake it in a self contained turkey roaster oven? Do I baste it? If so with what, how often? Do I let the skin get crisp? Will it even crisp up in a Norelco/GE plug in oven? How long do I bake it? It's 18-20 lbs and I will rinse it and rub it down to remove all extra curing salt before baking.
I know it's much to ask but I need professional ham cookers here.
Merry Christmas....

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  1. salt cured? ooh that's gonna be salty. scrub it down a lot. Southern friends recommend basting it with a coca cola over it while slow baking (vertically) to cut the salt and give it a nice crisp glaze.

    and don't chuck it when done, just slice small pieces to use year round in anything calling for ham hock, like navy bean soup, refried beans, greens, or lardons for salad etc.

    but frankly I was tempted to reserve an unscrubbed end maybe just a pound or two and see how I might cure it farther into a rough prosciutto crudo of sorts for Easter and slice it paper thin.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hill food

      Love your ideas. Who knew I could do that&vertical? Not sure there's room in be oven, but we'll see. I need a tall outdoor pizza oven :)

    2. I posted about my ham after Thanksgiving. I also got one of those huge Smithfields with a muslin wrapper. Much of it is in my freezer after I got the butcher at the market across the street to chop the bone up for me. I have been using bits of it to make soup as hill food suggests.

      Mine was way too big to fit in any pot I own. I had to cook it in layers of heavy-duty foil. It was good but very salty! Coca-Cola might be a good way to go, to counter the saltiness.

      1 Reply
      1. The only times I've made country ham, I followed Alton Brown's directions:

        And if you like a more hands-on demonstration, here he is on YouTube (the cooking part starts at 8:50 of the first video and wraps into the second):

        And yes, it's going to be salty. But so are its close cousins, prosciutto and Jamon Serrano. Follow their lead and slice it as thin as you can; a little bit has a lot of flavor.

        2 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Well now I really am concerned. I appreciate your help, all of your help. It's Chistmas morning and there is no butcher or butcher shop open so what to do? No saw and I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. I'll scrub it and soda pop it but xtra thick foil, uh no, huge baking pan, uh no.

          It's waaaaaay after dinner. We did the water cooking method which was preferred on the packaging. It cooked way long enough, then went in the oven @400 for 25 minutes as we wanted the glazed outside so coke and brown sugar. Still way too salty. I love salt but not so mch of the family does. I'll take the rest home and do another baking swimming in cola. I'm hoping that'll cut be salt, but fear not.

          Oh well.....

          1. re: iL Divo

            You need to realize that you're working with a different paradigm. This ham will never be anything other than salty. It's a salted ham, fercryinoutloud.

            So match it with stuff that will offset the saltiness. Put a slice in a biscuit. Wrap some around a prune or a fig or (save us from out-of-season produce) a bit of asparagus. Slice thin pieces and layer them into a sandwich with other ingredients. Shave some onto a pizza. But above all else, stop thinking Cure 81 and start thinking prosciutto.

            Folks hear "ham" and they think "Honeybaked." There's nothing wrong with that. A "city" ham is cheap and easy to prepare, and everybody loves it. But if you're going to make a salt-cured ham, you should understand that it's a whole 'nother animal.

            So don't try to "cut the salt" and turn this ham into something it's not. Realize that it's a very special, very intense, very tasty thing of its own. It would be a disservice to dumb it down to a Farmer John ham steak.

            Folks pay north of $1000 for a pata negra ham that's salty as hell. You're tapping into the same vibe for a tiny fraction of the cost. Slice off thin bits and make the most of their flavor!

        2. Hope I'm not too late for you! If it fits in your oven you can definitely do it in that. Keep a little liquid in the bottom for the first 40 minutes - hour. If the lid has vents, keep the vents closed until the last hour and a half, then open the vents so there's air movement to crisp the fat. If your lid doesn't have vents crinkle a piece of foil up and wedge it under an edge of the lid to crack it a little. During the last half hour or so you can baste it with Coke if you want but I prefer to use a jam or jelly with a complimentary flavor. Orange marmalade is good, so is apple and cider or apple juice will work well all with a sprinkle of cinnamon stirred in. That canned cranberry sauce (the transparent stuff that holds the shape of the can and wiggles and jiggles) is a good baster too. And what really makes it for me is to dump a lot of mixed dried fruits around the bottom of it during that last hour to plump in the ham juices.

          Wish I was there! Hubby dislikes ham and I haven't enjoyed a Christmas ham in ages!

          1. What instructions are on the wrapper? I usually find things like that quite reliable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: c oliver

              Several options, water bake method, baking regular, scraping salt and mold off, changing out water days on end (which I thought would help but didn't). Water method 190* 25 minutes per lb.