Jump to content

Making my own ham


Recommended Posts


first journeys into curing have gone well.  Smoked Salmon all gone and my first try at smoked bacon also successful.  Second loin currently curing and will be ready for Christmas morning   A salmon will be cured mid week for Christmas dinner starter

my only disappointment was smoked cheese which dried out and cracked. Wade suggested I smoked it too long so I will try again with a shorter smoke

So ready for my next try ham.  I want to use a loin so do I just cure as I would bacon and hot smoke until cooked?

Is it really that simple?



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, mark70 said:

So ready for my next try ham.  I want to use a loin so do I just cure as I would bacon and hot smoke until cooked?

Is it really that simple?

Yes, it is really simple - but a little more work than dry curing the bacon. Will you be curing the ham with the bone in or out? 

There are a couple of different ways of curing the ham - immersion curing or injection (pump) curing. My preferred is to use the injection method - and if you are curing it "bone in" then you should be using an injector anyway to get the cure down towards the bone.

Flavour injectors are inexpensive and are a good tool to have in your kit. The are as low as £3-£6 and here is a link to one. Just search Flavour Injector in Google for more.

  • Weigh the meat. If it has the bone in then subtract 10% from the weight to allow for this when calculating the cure. 
  • You need to weigh out sufficient cure to give ~2% salt, ~1% sugar and Nitrite at ~100 mg/Kg. If you need help with the cure calculations then let us know.
  • Weigh out tepid water that is 10% the weight of the meat (less the bone) and dissolve the weighed curing salts/sugar in it. Stir until it is fully dissolved. Allow brine to fully cool.
  • Place the ham in a roasting tray and using the injector inject all of the brine evenly throughout the meat - making sure to get brine close to the bone. Inject it as evenly as you can though some will come out into the tray - this is fine.
  • Place the ham into a plastic bag and also pour in any brine that is remaining in the tray. Seal the bag (vac packing is ideal) and place in the fridge. Cure for a week, turning the ham daily.
  • Rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Allow to hang in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Place a drip pan underneath as some of the water from the brine will drip. 
  • Smoke for 24-48 hours if desired.

Here is one I cured for Christmas


You can also add seasonal flavours if you like. Before adding the curing salts to the water place some water into a pan and add grated nutmeg, cinnamon, a couple of cloves and a star anise. Bring to the boil, allow to cool to room temperature and then strain out the spices. Initially start with more water than you need as you then weigh out the required spiced water for the cure. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That’s fantastic Wade.  Strangely I am thinking of using a loin to make ham!!!   My wife loves ham from the local Co op which comes as a platter and looks like loin, just the centre round bit.  It’s quite expensive and I would get loads of brownie points if I could make my own even better

off to buy the injector now

Thanks once again

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a great post Wade, very informative.  I do wet brined hams so few and far between that I have to go back to my notebook every time I do one.  I really like the injection method too, it saves so much effort and logistics of having a great big bucket in a fridge with a leg in it.  I am having vac packer envy, my little domestic one wouldn't cope like yours has.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have wet brined hams too in the past - as you know it is the method that you see described most when you are first starting along this path. Several things subsequently converted me to go down the pump route...

Firstly the space - at that time I only had a small fridge and a bucket of brine took up a lot of space in it. My wife was not impressed!
There was a certain amount of guesswork when it came to knowing when the brine had reached the centre of the meat.This usually meant that the ham was left in the brine/fridge longer just to make sure.
The outside of the meat always looked waterlogged and puffy after it was removed from the brine after the 14 days or so

Pumping is a lot quicker as the brine has to diffuse much shorter distances within the meat
Injecting the brine close to the bone helps avoid a condition called "bone sour". This can occur when the brine does not reach the bone sufficiently quickly and the brine is not sufficiently chilled.
I can cure more meat at one time by pumping as it can be stacked in trays in the fridge and there is less risk of spilling brine.

Once you have tried pumping the brine you will not want to go back to immersion curing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Wet Spaniel said:

I am having vac packer envy, my little domestic one wouldn't cope like yours has.

LOL - I started with side suck vac packers and they did a great job for me. It was only when I needed to produce more professional looking packaging that I had to move to a chamber vac packer. Providing you get a side suck packer with a large enough sealing bar you will be surprised just how large an item you can vac pack.

When I first started talking to my local EHO about going commercial I had already persuaded my wife that I needed a professional chamber vac packer - at about £2K each she reluctantly agreed. Imagine her horror when our EHO then informed us that we needed a second one. You are not allowed to pack ready-to-eat meats and raw meats in the same unit! So now we have to have two.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...