Remember our country hams are salt cured and will be salty in nature. Uncle Billy smokes it until it turns a rich mahogany color. A week later I was at Cousin Duna's wedding reception, standing in line beside a table packed with food. You could hang it on the back porch, and it would be fine all summer.”, In the Smokehouse: Smoking Ham to Enhance the Flavor, Salt may preserve a ham, but smoking makes it worth eating. This year, however, only the bottom tier is full of hams. This is venison ham. If you want to serve it immediately, and I strongly recommend it, smoke the ham at 325°F until it is 145°F in the deepest part of the center. Ham, generally, is the cured hind leg of a pig, and will comprise a cut somewhere between the shank (the ankle) and the rump. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. The best way to discourage the insects is to keep the smokehouse clean and dark. Perfect Petite Ham for Easter, Christmas,Thanksgiving, New Year's, Every Day & Entertaining Ham. Country hams are not generally smoked, but this is a matter of personal taste. The first few days are critical until the salt gets to the bone. “I just mix it in till it looks right, like that,” he says, showing me the box of soap flecked with black specks of pepper. “Three-year-old meat gets hard, red, and stringy,” he says. account? Mix all these ingredients well and divide them into two equal batches. But when you get right down to it, I'll put mine against theirs any time. Doing so can result in tough, dried out, or unappetizing ham. The next day, at seven in the morning, he starts a small fire in the fire pit, using newspaper and the fruitwood kindling. My first memory of Uncle Bill Long's ham goes back to a Christmas dinner long ago. Step 2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and pour over the brine … There, among 30 or 40 relatives, we lined up (children first) to cruise the sideboard, plates in hand and help ourselves to my aunt's Southern cooking. I still remember taking small forkfuls of the ham (a taste that can only be described now as dark, hard, mysterious, and smacking of salt, smoke and spices), carefully lacing it between bits of soft rolls, and then dousing the whole thing with red-eye gravy. And like all things he cherishes from a simpler time (including his Model A pickup or his 1935 meat slicer), Uncle Billy's happy to tell you all about it — just as long as you're happy to listen. If you wish, you can apply a salt free spice rub like my Meathead's Memphis Dust just before smoking. Dr. Gregg Rentfrow. Broadbent Country Hams are dry cured, meaning they are hand rubbed with a cure mixture, then aged at least six months for milder hams, nine months for our Broadbent Grand Champion Hams and eighteen months for our Heritage Hams. When the humidity is high, it's ideal. Dana & the Old Virginia Ham Shop Family * Please contact us within 7 days of receiving your shipment for return instructions. If soaking the ham for more than 4 hours, make sure you change the water regularly. Canadian Subscribers - Click Here Taste the ham after fifteen minutes. Unlike the salt house, which is built thick and tight, ventilation is key here. Once all the fluid has been removed, apply the curing mixture. “I want it to be miserable — damp and cold.” But the secret that distinguishes his cured hams from others is the wood he uses for smoking. Hi, thanks for stopping by. He stresses that cold dampness is what you need. Cousin Duna's wedding was set for the following weekend, and the whole family of six girls, several husbands, and numerous grandchildren were working in the yard getting ready for it. Uncle Billy cured ham unlike anyone else, and you can learn how to make salt-cured ham like Uncle Billy. He was known far and wide for serving his style of Country Ham with the homemade from scratch southern biscuits his mother made at Rays Starlight Restaurant, in … Salt-cured by hand and smoked with natural hickory wood, these country hams are aged to a rich mahogany color. Broadbent's The ideal biscuit ham--not too dry, not too moist--ready for serving. Like cheese, almost all have mold growing on them. Dry curing is another process used to make prosciutto and country ham. You can make salt-cured ham in the fridge at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you're curing multiple hams, plan to do it in the colder months and use natural refrigeration. Under six months a ham is still pork, the meat pale and pink, but after that a ham starts to become a ham with full flavor and red meat. After a few months, the hams often grow a thin patina of mold on the skin, which Uncle Billy says “suits them just fine. This is where fresh ham is rubbed with a dry mixture of salt and other ingredients. Photo by Holly A. Heyser. “Well,” I offered, “it's a bit of an acquired taste.”. Uncured hams from butchers can be a tad pricey. Uncle Billy uses this vintage sliver that "slices meat so thin you can read through it. If possible, you will want to desalt the ham before you cook it. Salt Cured Country Hams. We appreciate your understanding! If you've got space and room, things seem to work better. It's a sign of good moisture and maturity. If Whole Ham is not available, Please consider the Virginia Gourmet Country Ham Slices. Method: When dry curing ham cover the hams completely with a layer of salt for 3 days. He cuts a few extra armloads of young sassafras, which grows wild along a nearby fence row, and stores it all in a dry place until March. Then I put the green wood on the fire. After the initial salting, Uncle Billy goes back to the salt house three or four days later and adds another layer of salt, working the joints again to help it penetrate. Uncle Billy opens the heavy latch on the door, and we step inside, enveloped by the darkness and the sharp smell of smoke and aging meat. The ham will be blond when it comes in, with a clear white skin. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. “I'll be 65 in February, and I plan to retire. I remember squash casserole, candied yams, butterbeans and snaps, and collards boiled hard and long into a wonderful deep green mush. Get Country Ham Recipe from Food Network You can also find 1000s of Food Network's best recipes from top chefs, shows and experts. And don't forget: The meat will absorb the salt until it reaches equilibrium. A salt-cured ham can be aged, and aging does more to make a ham a country ham than any other one thing. From day-one naturally Dry Cured Blue Ridge Mountain Country Ham was featured on the menu. It usually takes 10 to 12 boxes of borax and six cans of pepper. Already a Member but These days, however, he buys fresh “green” hams from a local slaughterhouse. Should the skippers get in anyway, he'll put his hams in the freezer for a day and scrub the smokehouse until “it's as clean as a hospital.”, “The old generation had all these little things they did,” Uncle Billy says. Meat cools just like it cooks, from the outside in, he says, and the meat has to drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone, a process that usually takes overnight. Mocetta (MOE-chet-uh) is a Northern Italian air-dried goat ham … The day before he's ready to smoke, Uncle Billy goes into the woods and fells a hickory sapling as big around as your thigh and cuts it into one-foot lengths. don't have an online One of the original haute country hams, the Wigwam—reportedly a favorite of the late Jean-Louis Palladin—is cured for 12 months and hickory-smoked to make a pungent ham … You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues. Then his part of the process is over: The rest is up to the meat and time. And watch videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking techniques. Calories, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, cholesterol, and more for Cured ham (Pork, low sodium, lean and fat, cooked). Two-year-old hams hang on the second tier, and 3-year-old hams are on the bottom, so that my Aunt Mildred, who stands about 5 foot 3 inches tall in her stocking feet, can retrieve them easily with the help of a long pole made just for that purpose. Nothing was wasted or thrown away, not even the hair, which was saved for stuffing mattresses or making plaster. Wiping the ham with a clean paper towel soaked in vinegar will remove any remaining mold. “Once I get the fire going, I get it hot as hell,” he says. He covers the hams with a thin coat of the mixture, which toughens the skin to keep bugs out. “So you want to know about hams,” he said, in all seriousness. In the Salt House: Salt Curing and Preserving Ham We stop in front of the salt house, a cinderblock building with plaster walls and tables to one side. You must return product for refund or store credit. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. Mix the Curing Ingredients Mix 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of non-iodized salt and 1 pound (0.4 kg) of white … International Subscribers - Click Here The result is a more subtle, milder flavor that still retains our distinctive country-cure … Do not boil the ham for longer than necessary to remove the salt. Add a few ounces of curing salt, which is available in the canning section of a store or online. Cover with cool water and let stand 24 hours at room temperature, changing the water 3 to 4 times. For a home-cured ham, you will either smoke it or pack it with salt, sugar, and other flavors. Desalt the ham before cooking. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. There was turkey with oyster dressing and cranberry salad, rice and gravy, and hot rolls for dipping and shoving. Step 1 Place kosher salt, brown sugar, pickling spice, and pink salt in a container large enough to hold the brine and the ham. I ate too much anyway. As it penetrates the meat that salt will disappear like melting snow.”. “We used to say you used everything but the squeal,” laughs Uncle Billy. Sign in with your online account. (It’s one of the ways we kept meat edible before refrigeration came around.) “I wait until it bums down. Above us, hanging on hand-turned wooden pegs, a dozen hams are suspended. Replace the water every 2 hours to reduce bacteria growth. I remember nearly transparent slices, rimmed with thin strips of fat, on a white dinner plate. “Put them together and you never have to worry about chemicals to keep the bugs out. Already a Member? Country hams can be found … You can create your own brine or use a recipe. * The top tier is for new meat. If the fat starts to drip, then the fire is too hot. Four things influence the salting process: the thickness of the meat, the moisture of the meat, the humidity of the air and the temperature. He flicks on a bare light bulb, revealing a concrete floor with a sunken circular fire pit in the middle and a table to one side. Deep red on the inside, covered with cloves and a mahogany glaze of molasses and brown sugar on the outside, its aroma filled the dining room. The key to keeping good hams…is to keep your smokehouse locked.” He leads the way down a path in the yard, shooing tame ducks from underfoot, to where two small buildings back up to a soybean field. Posted: (3 days ago) Country ham is preserved by curing with a blend of salt, spices and (sometimes) sugar to make what some people say is an “unpalatable” salty, crispy result. It was the social event of the season, and all the people who worked and lived on the farm turned out to help. Add salty ham to an omelet with cheddar and vegetables for a quick breakfast or lunch. Salt Dry Cured Local. She picked up a ham biscuit and took a delicate bite. An Award Winning Broadbent Country Ham is Dry Cured, Hickory Smoked and Aged to perfection. Today processes may vary but essentially this ham is salty and dry. A woman from up north was in front of me. In early March, Uncle Billy takes the hams from the salt house, fills a metal washtub with warm water and washes them “just like a baby.” He then mixes borax (found in the detergent section of your local grocer) and black pepper at a ratio of about a half can of pepper to a 32-ounce box of detergent, although he won't admit to exact measures. “It has a bite to it. The next morning he pours a layer of salt on the table and begins to cover the meat with it, rubbing it in, moving the joints, adding more salt until it “starts feelin' stiff.” For his annual 24 hams, he buys 50 to 100 pounds of salt. “When it's blood-red fresh, it has a tremendous amount of moisture,” Uncle Billy says. He tells me about how, every January when he was a boy, they'd kill 30 to 40 hogs fattened on corn and peanuts to feed the family and the farmhands. The smokehouse sits next to the salt house, a square, white clapboard building of pine siding and cedar shingles, with a pointed red roof that is as high as the walls are tall. When it's cold, he explains, the fat stays solid. Cooked Country … The only thing left to do is wait and check them periodically for skippers. Reigning over the sideboard like King Solomon on his throne was a ham cured by Uncle Billy. Many people like the flavor of hams that have been cured country style. Folks who make liquor will tell you the same thing.” Although he has eaten the milder, 1-year-old hams his children seem to prefer, for Uncle Billy a ham doesn't reach its full potential until the third year. Aging has got more to do with it than anything I do. It was my first-ever dry-cured ham, and it does not come from a pig. Once the ham is thoroughly coated, Uncle Billy pokes a hole in the thick end with an ice pick, makes a loop of rustproof copper wire, and hangs it in the smokehouse, hock down. Ideally, for a100 pounds of fresh ham, you would need 8 pounds of salt, 2 pounds of sugar, and 2 ounces of saltpeter. He learned it from his mother, Caroline, when he was a boy, and he's been doing it steadily, almost as a revival, for the last 15 years. You can also try white vinegar to help mask the saltiness. The Genuine Smithfield Ham is a world-famous country ham – aged, smoked, and dry cured with salt for 6-12 months. I found Uncle Billy behind the house wiring lights to one of the half-dozen outbuildings scattered around the place. Country hams can be found whole in the south–often wrapped in the netting used for smoking–or you can buy it … So if you keep it dark, you'll keep it safe. 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