Perfect Ham for any Season

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Unless you are willing to fork out big $$$ for an Artisanal Ham for the holidays you are stuck with the mass produced iffy quality hams produced by big firms quickly and cheaply which usually reflects in the taste and texture of the final product. Or are you? Making your own ham is quite easy and once you get the hang of it you’ll never want one of those rubbery mushy store bought hams again. Technically only the rear leg and hip of a pig can be called a ham in the commercial world, but I actually prefer using the shoulder also call the Picnic or Boston Butt. Shh I won’t tell if you don’t.

We will be using a brine cure for our ham and it is very important that you don’t change the salt or pink salt quantities in this recipe although you can play with the other ingredients to create a ham that is distinctively you.

For up to 10 pounds of ham

5-6 pound pork shoulder roast (bone removed)

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2 gallons water

2 cups Pickling or Kosher salt

2 Tbsp pink salt (also called Prague Powder #1)

1 cup brown sugar or maple syrup

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 medium onion coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 bay leaves

Place all ingredients besides the shoulder into a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium heat and remove. Let brine cool to room temp and place roast into brine making sure it is fully submerged (placing a plastic jug full of water on top of the roast can help keep it submerged). Cover pot and place in the refrigerator for 7-10 days checking it daily to ensure it is submerged. If you decided to use a bone in roast, it is during this brining period that you need to be injecting some of the brine along the bone daily to ensue the meat there gets brined. Once your ham is ready to be removed from the brine you will need to drain the brine and rinse the pot and the ham well under running water. Fill the pot with cold clean water and once again submerge the ham in the pot and return to the fridge for 24 hours. This step is very important as it helps draw some of the salt out of the meat ensure it isn’t too salty Remove from the water,  pat the ham dry and place back in the fridge to air dry for 12-24 hours as this helps during the smoking process.

Using the smoking wood of your choice bring your smoker up to 175 deg F and smoke for 5-6 hours or until the internal temp reaches 150 deg F. Either let ham cool to room temp for later use or turn the temp up on the smoker to 350 deg F and roast for another hour basting it with the juices mixed with a little maple syrup and Orange juice which will give it a really nice looking and tasty glaze

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