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what a ham

February 12, 2013

A few weeks ago we finished brining what seemed to me like the entire leg of our pig. Lovely thing it was, sitting in our fridge for those weeks in a mixture of salt, sugar, cloves, and other spices. Using the aforementioned   fabulous instructional videos (see them here)  we managed to successfully make ourselves some delicious ham. We had a ham feast the first night, and then sliced the rest into deli meat, since the good stuff is so expensive, and the bad stuff is…yucky. Boar’s Head All Natural excepting. But don’t snicker if you see me with the cheap stuff at some point. It happens from time to time. But I diverge.

In the end, we had to cut the leg into several pieces because after Step 1- Brining, comes Step 2- Boiling. There was no way we were going to get 25 lbs of ham in any pot I own- and I own quite a few large ones. First we skinned it, which I think technically you are supposed to do after the boiling/simmering step, but we needed the space. Then into the pot to boil, which was done for several hours, and the water was to be replaced if it was too salty. I did  a trial run with a smaller ham right after we butchered it, and I did actually change the water. But these pots were so huge I couldn’t lift them and the quantity of water so great it was hard to imagine how many trips back and forth to the sink I’d have to make to follow that part of the recipe. So I skipped it.

Step 3- Make a glaze and pour over the now cooked hams. I made an orange honey glaze, and a red sauce glaze (think bbq) with garlic. We ended up loving the red sauce the most. Here they are before baking:

IMG_4659-001I know, aluminum pans= anathema. It was all I knew to do. By the time the skin was off and the fat had somewhat melted away, we had about 15 lbs of ham.

Step 4- Bake in a very hot oven until the glaze carmalizes and and makes all those amazing crunchy pieces.

IMG_4673-001Warren isn’t pictured, but he did more than half the work with the butchering, the turning the leg in the brine every so often, the carrying the massive leg inside, cutting it up, and skinning it. I had the fun job. I think the Farmstead Meatsmith videos make this process seem very do-able, and not so hard that the common man could not attempt great feats in the kitchen. We are still taking orders for pigs- you, too, could be making some ham next fall!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 17, 2013 11:20 pm

    looking forward to EATING some of it when I come VISIT!!!! *jumps up and down* details TBA 😉

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