Learn how to make this Home-Cured Ham Recipe using a sweet and salty curing liquid then smoking it in a homemade smoker.
Cure ham by placing it in a brine made of eight pounds of salt, two pounds of sugar and two ounces of saltpeter. Add 4 1/2 gallons of water. Be sure to put the ham and brine in a glass or earthen crock. Never use metal with salt brine and don't even use a metal spoon to stir the mixture. Salt will oxidize metal into some very lethal toxins. Place a weight on the ham so that it remains completely covered by the liquid and leave it for 3 1/2 to four days to the pound. That means a ten pound ham will have to cure for more than a month. Watch the ham as it cures for signs of the brine turning "sour." This will be indicated by the presence of slime or rope-like discolorations in the solution. If the brine sours remove the ham, scrub and rinse it very well. Dump the sour brine, scrub and rinse the crock. Make a new brine with same amounts of salt, sugar and saltpeter but add 5 1/2 gallons of water instead of 4 1/2. This, because there will be no unsalted juices left in the meat to dilute the solution.
When the ham is cured remove the wire shelves from your smoke box and suspend the ham from a rod placed across the top cleats. Smoke at about 80 to 100 degrees for at least 72 hours. Check it then and if it doesn't please your eye and palate, smoke the meat longer.
Read more about building a homemade smoke box and barrel stove: Foraging for Wild Foods in Winter.
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