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lilwitedogs

Dry curing hams

The county extension service from the state university is offering a ham curing opportunity to the adults here, as well as the 4-H youngsters.  I've signed up for it.  We get two fresh hams for $55., help in curing them, the salt, pepper, sugar and whatever else is in the curing mix, and a spot to hang them in the "ham house" to cure.  We can also enter our hams in the state fair open (not commerical or 4-H) class.

Dwain's mom used to cure a few hams every year and they were delicious.  It will be fun to see if these turn out as well as hers did.
LadySlip

WOW....Lucky you Yvonne   sure they'll turn out great
lilwitedogs

Thanks, LS.

I think it's going to be a good project.  I'll take pics to post.
12Bore

What a fantastic opportunity!
Border

Sounds win-win to me.
sod

That as others said sounds great, will be looking forward to photos and how you do it
LadySlip

Despite my best efforts  and lots of help on here  i still haven't managed to dry cure a whole ham successfully   bacon yes.......
Have three whole legs wet curing due out this weekend  

Look forward to seeing the pics and hearing how you get on
lilwitedogs

The hams are arriving on the 21st!

LadySlip

<~~~~~~is waiting patiently for results

Our wet brined ones were good....would still like to crack a dry cure....but prob cos so far its beating me
lilwitedogs

I'm not certain how good these will be, Ladyslip.  The weather has warmed up, and it should be cold for the hams to cure properly.  I suppose we will just have to wait and see....
lilwitedogs

Today is the day!  I'll take my camera.
lilwitedogs

Well, I *did* take my camera, but the batteries conked out on me.  

We had a fun morning with the kids and parents and group leaders.  I spent a couple of hours trimming up hams to make them look pretty.  The fellow sawing off the hocks was using a Sawz-All.  He is a retired state policeman and also happens to be the fellow I bought my mare from, (well, he and his wife and their son.)  Wife and son were also there.  Dwain came along and had a good time talking to the kids' fathers.  He helped measure out the dry rub ingredients.

We set up the curing operation inside the extension office, as it was really cold and windy out.  They had laid down two large tarps and put paper on the long tables, then squares of paper on top, and dumped the cure mix onto the squares.  After applying the rub, the paper square was folded around the ham, taped and then the whole thing was put into a net bag, hock end down.  They were then hung in the ham house, to be taken down in 60 days.

The hams came in big cardboard bins, about fifty or so to a bin, and averaged 22-25 pounds.  Mine was a bigger one, it was 29.2 pounds.  Dwain's was 26 pounds.  And the trimming operation was set up outside.  Next year I'm bringing my stocking cap!  

The ham house can be heated, which is a good thing, since it's going to be about 10*F here the next couple of nights and we don't want the hams to freeze.  

It was a fun day, and we may have a ham or two to enter in the State Fair in August.
kaz

That sounds like a good scheme - fun to participate in and a ham at the end of it
lilwitedogs

Precisely Kaz.
lilwitedogs

We cleaned the hams last week and re-hung them.  The 4-H kids' were there the day before the adults did theirs.  OUrs looked good when we got them down, only a small bit of mold, which washed right off.  They made a lovely picture when they were re-hung.  


These are the kid's projects.  Don't they look yummy?



And this is our two.  Can't wait to taste them.  We may put one in the State Fair in August.
kat_lewis

Way to go, they look spectacular  
sod

Yummy what was in the mix? would love to have go at that.
12Bore

Those look fantastic!
lilwitedogs

Thanks, I think they look great too!  I feel certain we are going to have some 4H ribbon winners at the fair.  

sod, it was salt, a bit of pepper,a bit of sodium nitrate and a goodly amount of brown sugar.  Salt was the main ingredient.  I don't know the exact amounts, though.  I was outside trimming the hams to make them pretty.
lilwitedogs

Here you go sod, it's a link to the info from the University:
http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/4h/oldsite/RESOURCE/ham-main.htm
sod

Thank you very much for that lilwitedogs must look at doing that next pig we kill  
lilwitedogs

Most welcome!  I'll be interested to hear how it turns out.  
lilwitedogs

The state fair will be starting on August 15th,  so we will be picking up our hams soon.  I can't wait to see the final product!
lilwitedogs

Well, we fetched the hams in August, brought them home and hung them in the basement.  We are going to take one to the local small grocer's to have it sliced, hoping to get that done tomorrow.  I put it in the sink to scrub it up, it wasn't really very grubby, just a bit of mold, which is normal.

We have bought a vacuum bagging machine, that makes a bag out of a roll of plastic film, sucks out all the air and seals it.  It looks pretty simple.  We will put the sliced ham up in small portions and freeze it.  

We have already done up the hams for this year.  It was cold as heck again this year on the day we processed them.  The trimming team knocked out about 120 hams in an hour and a half.  It seemed like a shorter time spent working on them, but it might just have been that I was wearing long underwear this year.  Hard to judge.  

This year, we sponsored hams for two of the kids, who either could not afford to pay for one or whose family doesn't for some reason want one. The child cures the ham, takes it to the fair for their 4-H project and then we get to keep the ham. (We may not take them, depends on the circumstances.) We did two ourselves, too.  So next year we could have four to eat.

I'll get pics of all of this to share.
kat_lewis

Sounds good,   it is one of my ambitions to be over in the USA when there is a either a state fair or some sort of similar celebration.  

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