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Easter - fresh, skin on picnic ham

So... Always nervous about doing a holiday dinner without testing first, but this year I have no choice, so looking to everyone for help.

Picked up a 8.5lb fresh picnic ham, skin on.  Lot of kids at dinner, so leaning more towards a maple glaze, but can't find a lot of info.  Most recipes are for hams already cured/cooked...

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    If you want it to taste like "ham" you are going to need to cure it. You have enough time if you start it now you can get it ready for Easter. You will need Pink Curing Salt (not Himalayan Pink Salt). Here's a great recipe and writeup:

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  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    Thanks DMV. I think CenTex is a neighbor so I may have to reach out. To cure it says a day/ pound and I've got 7 days with a 9 lb ham. What will it taste like if I don't cure it - pulled pork?
  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    If you don't cure it it will be more of a pork roast. It is much leaner than pork shoulder which is what pulled pork is usually made from. The cure time is half day/pound. If yours is 9lb with skin you have time.

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  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    Thanks DMV!  Greatly appreciate the help!  One more question - I bought this with skin on.  Should I slit it, or even remove it, before brining?  
  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    Remove the skin and aitch bone before the brine.
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    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - Gasser - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle
  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited April 2014
    Brining or curing?

    When I do a porchetta roast with the same cut, I leave the skin on, but slice it into a diamond pattern spaced less than an inch.  This is an extended cook, so the skin gets a chance to crisp up, but it is very tough.

    If you are glazing the ham or doing any type of crust (giner bread crumbs, or crackle glaze for example), it won't stick to the skin, and the skin may an unwelcome surprise when it hits the mouth.

    If you want an easy to slice ham (or roast, I don't know which you are doing), then removing it is probably advised.

    If you are curing it with a sweet cure (versus simply bringing), you may want to inject the cure along the bone to speed the curing.

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    Seneca Falls, NY

  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    @SenecaTheYounger‌ The recipe I linked to is a wet cure brine with a glaze applied during smoking. And I like the idea of injecting along the bone. Last time I didn't do that and the cure didn't reach fully to the bone. A little longer would have worked, but injecting along the bone would have surely done it.

    Thanks for the tip!
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    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - Gasser - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle
  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    Thanks both.  Will be doing a sweet glaze so will remove skin.  Also found a copy of Charcurterie on ibooks so that will give me some light reading tonight...
  • When you said you were brining, I wasn't sure if you opted out of a cure and were simply doing a brine.  My apologies.

    Injecting along the bone will cut the cure time, but it is done on larger hams also in order to avoid bone taint.  I do not think bone taint is a critical issue, but injecting it will speed the cure.




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    Seneca Falls, NY

  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    ok - one last question.  Amazon delivered the pink salt and the cure/brine is going.  Thanks again to all for the help.  Last question - since this is a cure, do I need to keep the ham refrigerated?  Seems like a dumb question, but I can't find a reference, and since curing predates refrigeration, I thought I'd ask.
  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    Stacyk said:

    ok - one last question.  Amazon delivered the pink salt and the cure/brine is going.  Thanks again to all for the help.  Last question - since this is a cure, do I need to keep the ham refrigerated?  Seems like a dumb question, but I can't find a reference, and since curing predates refrigeration, I thought I'd ask.

    Yes, you'd do need to keep this refrigerated.

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    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - Gasser - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle
  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited April 2014
    Until it is cured, you should keep it refrigerated.
    And after it is cured, since you are not hanging it to dry, I would keep it refrigerated too.

    Believe it or not though, you technically could hang it to dry unwrapped at room temperature, after curing actually.  But no real need to do so, unless you wanted to age it and intensify flavor. This is NOT typically done with city hams.  I'm just saying, a gent could if he wanted to.

    In parts of Italy, dry cured prosciuttos (and this is not a dry cure, I know) are buried in salt and weighted at room temperature, to cure.  Actually, ambient temperature is more accurate.

    City hams used to be cured at room temperature as well, on their way to market.

    And in parts of France today it is still de rigueur to keep a crock of sweet pickle brine (which is a wet/quick cure, not merely a 'brine') on the counter, in the kitchen at room temperature, and to throw a joint of meat in it whenever you take one out to cook.  These may be left for weeks at room temperature.  The brine becomes its own strain of goodness, and is merely added to, and occasionally boiled (and skimmed) as needed.

    Regardless of our tendency to panic in the US, a good many (most) cured foods do not require refrigeration. Gravlax is an ambient temperature cure as well, originally.  Fish and salt.  Nothing more. And nothing more needed, either, unless you are adding flavors like herbs and aquavit.

    But try telling that to your wife.

    Once you handle it (slicing your home made bacon), yes, you ought to refrigerate.  But unmolested, uncut, you could leave that bacon sitting on the counter as long as you wanted.  it would merely dry (and intensify) in flavor.

    Amazing but true.



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    Seneca Falls, NY

  • DMWDMW Posts: 9,717
    @SenecaTheYounger‌ Great info, I didn't know you could hang a City Ham. If you did, similar time as for a Country Ham? And looking for the same "good mold" characteristics?
    My Facebook Page where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - Gasser - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle
  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited April 2014
    You could, but no one does, usually for practical reasons.

    Prosciuttos are usually much more dry to begin with, having had much more of their water removed duringg the cure as compared to city hams, which have had water ADDED during their cure.

    So prosciuttos dry more slowly, which is good.  The city ham would  shrink rapidly on the exterior, while remaining highly moist on the interior. 

    A wet cured city ham, with higher moisture content, would dry quickly on the exterior, and unevenly throughout.  Consider a dry-cured country ham.  It is also pressed under salt (it is, actually, not at all different from prosciutto, except it just has low-grade sugars to counter the harsh salt and is typically smoked), and so being dry, dries further more steadily.

    I would not advocate drying a city ham for this reason.



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    Copia ciborum subtilitas impeditur

    Seneca Falls, NY

  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    ham is out of the curing bath, rinsed and in the fridge waiting for the morning smoke.  Wish me luck.

    Also, any guidelines on how much faster something cooks once it's brined?  I know you need to cook to temp and this is not an exact science, but just curious if there's a rule of thumb out there...
  • SGHSGH Posts: 22,221
    @SenecaTheYounger‌ That's some great info there brother.
    @Stacyk‌ Brined meat will cook faster than unbrined meat. If you give the temp you cooking at I can get you real close to cook time.
    @DNW brother I'm getting the feeling that you should be sending me advice and that I should pay very close attention to it. You give great advice and it's always true and accurate. You bring a lot of knowledge to this forum. I can tell by your responses that you are among the elite cooks on this forum. I hope others have noticed as well and heed your advice.

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  • StacykStacyk Posts: 19
    Thanks again to all!  Ham came out amazing and definitely will be back again next year.  Will need to purchase a food quality saw to properly butcher for next year.
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