So yeah. I’m making such a big fuss over my homemade Christmas ham recipe. This year I am trying a brine or wet cure. How will it turn out?
In the past, I’ve dry-cured my hams. I shared my dry-cure experience and technique at the Filipino Mom Blog. I’ve not really made a lot of hams, maybe just 3 or 4. My last attempt was two years ago – botched with too much curing.
When I was younger, I watched Mama make her special Christmas ham recipe. So my techniques come from a combination of experience (whatever little bit I may have of it), tradition and Google knowledge (yeah!). Let me tell you first off that I DO NOT claim to be an expert in ham-making.
Now that that‘s aside…
This year, I am making a wet-cured ham (a.k.a. ham brining). Wet-curing is also known as brining. I commenced the wet-cure experiment last night. A good site I used for reference is schmidling.com.
I bought a whole piece of 5.6-kilo fresh ham yesterday. I had the ham deboned and its skin removed. I like to keep the fatty layer on because it will add flavor to the ham when cooked.
My brine consisted of the following:
3 liters of water (boiled and cooled to room temperature)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rock salt
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
The proportions have been adjusted to the size of my ham, which is 5.6 kilos (about 10 pounds). You will have to adjust the quantities according to your ham, as well as your taste. I want my hams sweet so I always add a little more sugar.
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly to make the cure.
In a clean stock pan (or a lidded plastic container), dissolve the dry cure in water. This liquid is now the brine. Completely submerge the fresh ham in the brine.
Cover the pot and keep in the ref to cure for 2 weeks. Do not freeze nor keep in warm room. The middle shelf of the ref should be perfect to keep the ham chilled, but not frozen.
According to this site, ideal curing time is 1.5 days for each pound of meat. So for a 5-kilo (11-pound) ham, 16 days is ideal. I’m doing mine for 2 weeks. It’s all the time I got ’til Christmas Eve anyway.
In two weeks, we shall see and taste and know if my brining Christmas ham recipe is successful. Until then, I will keep my fingers crossed and remain optimistic. (I could always soak the ham if it turns out too salty 😛 )
Wish me luck!
Better yet, join my experiment!