Jump to content
Wade

Christmas Gammon

Recommended Posts

As we approach November now is the time we should start to think about making our Christmas Gammons. The big advantage with making your own is that you are in total control of both the flavour and how salty it is. It is as simple to make as bacon and once cured and smoked it can be frozen until required.

For your gammon you will need a leg of pork - rolled boned leg of pork is fine. It is up to you whether you remove the skin - personally I do. A whole rolled leg of pork can be quite large so it is best cut into sections of about 1 Kg and, if necessary, the sections re-tied with butchers string.

Unlike dry cured bacon where we apply the dry rub to the outside, for the gammon we we are going to create a concentrated curing brine which we will inject into the meat. This helps to ensure an even flavour throughout. The cure calculations are the same as for making dry cure bacon however it is best to slightly increase the salt levels as gammon is traditionally salty. When we cure the gammon ourselves we can increase the salt by just a small amount for the full flavour - but not so much that the joint needs to be soaked prior to cooking as in many commercial gammon joints.

3% salt is a good level to use for Gammon.

Make the water for the brine

First we make a batch of flavoured water for the brine that encompasses all of the aromas of Christmas. This can be made in volume and then only the required amount used from this to cure each each joint.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre of water
  • 5 g Star Anise
  • 1 Bay leaf - fresh or dried
  • 10 g cinnamon stick
  • 15 g fresh ginger - sliced thinly
  • 10 g Coriander seeds
  • 5 g Black pepper
  • 6 Clove buds
  • 4 g Fresh garlic - crushed
  • 1/4 of a grated nutmeg

Place all of the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes and then allow to cool to room temperature. Strain and retain the liquid for making the injection brine.

1064236061_BrineSimmer.thumb.jpg.40d16790db279a7bdc60d80d2641a142.jpg

Prepare the rub

Combine the following ingredients in a grinder and grind to a powder. Sieve through a fine kitchen sieve to remove any large lumps

  • 5 g Nurmeg
  • 5 g Cinnamon powder
  • 6 g Lemon pepper
  • 5 g Garlic powder
  • 5 g Coriander seeds
  • 10 Clove buds

This is applied to the surface of the meat after it has been injected with the brine. It is used at a rate of 5 g per Kg of meat

Curing the meat

Weigh each of the pieces of pork leg and calculate the amount of cure and sugar required for each.

  • Nitrite - 150 Ppm (mg/Kg)
  • Salt - 3%
  • Sugar - 1.5 % - white or Demerara sugar
  • Flavoured water - 1/10th of the weight of the meat

Examples of weights used in 4 joints being cured

Joint # 1 2 3 4
Weight (g) 868 1,175 1,278 1,563
Cure #1 (g) 2.1 2.8 3.1 3.8
Salt (g) 24 32 35 43
Sugar (g) 13 18 19 23
Water (g) 87 118 128 156

 

For each joint mix together the cure ingredients in the water and stir to dissolve and make the brine. Place the joint in a dish and using a Flavour Injector (cooking syringe) inject all of the brine evenly throughout the meat. Some of the brine will come out of the meat and into the tray - do not worry about this as any excess brine will be added back into the curing bag. 

616140743_Brineinject.thumb.jpg.6311c003856d216d4485e5b5ba06675c.jpg

Sprinkle the rub (5 g of rub per Kg meat) over the joint and place in a Ziplock bag or vac-pack bag. Pour in any remaining brine that came out of the meat.

Seal the bag and then place in the fridge. Turn daily for 10 days to ensure that the brine remains in contact with the surface of the meat.

Remove from bag and rinse under cold running water. Allow to dry before smoking and re-packing for Christmas.

The flavoured brine gives a subtle Christmas flavour to the meat which is not in the least overpowering. In our house this has become one of our most popular Boxing Day meats. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant, I am in.  Will do soon as I cut up the bacon and make some room in fridge. The usual limiting factor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Wade,

I've only just started playing around with bacon and smoking.  I was wondering if by smoking the gammon after curing you mean cold smoking or hot smoking?  I don't really have a setup for hot smoking yet (have a small weber only 18" kettle) so if you cant hot smoke the joint could you cold smoke and bake in the oven or slow simmer in water?  Would it lose the smoke flavour if simmered? and how long would you recommend to cold smoke for. if at all?

 

thanks for any advice.

Jacqui

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jacqui

Yes I meant cold smoking. It was to add a smokey flavour before cooking. If you follow the recipe it will result in a maximum salt content of about 2.5% and the required seasonal spices - which means that it can simply be roasted as a joint. You could boil it, however gammon is usually boiled to remove some excess salt and to impart additional flavour to the meat. Here you have added the flavour in the brine injection and have only added just the right amount of salt. If you boil it you are likely to remove the flavour that you have taken so much effort to put in.

You are good to go. Cold smoke it in the Weber and then allow time for the smoke flavour to diffuse into the meat. You can then either roast it in the oven or in the BBQ - or if you feel adventurous you could sous vide it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Missed this, will give it ago for boxing day I think. If I was to start this next week, once cured and smoked, it would still keep in the fridge till boxing day if I vacpac it? Or best left another couple of weeks before starting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it will keep. If you have concerns leave it a week in the fridge for the smoke to diffuse and then freeze until Christmas

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply, always think of one more question you should have asked.

Family members have also asked for a couple also, so going to do 3 pieces, what sort of time for cold smoking do you suggest for 3 x 1.5 kg pieces  in a bullet smoker all done together, with a ProQ cold smoke generator.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smoke for about 16 hours. This can be split over a couple of nights if reuired however the days are starting to get uite cool now too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just noticed that the letter "cue" isnt working on my (cannot type the letter itself obviously). New keyboard on order and should arrive Tuesday. Untill then I just havent got a cue 🙂

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Done 3 pieces of Packington Farm Free Range Pork Legs this morning ranging between 1.2 - 1.4Kg for myself and family. If it tastes as good as the brine and rub smell, it will be gorgeous, I am sure. 

The house smells of Christmas, with the brine and rub being mixed and boiled. 😀

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for piece of mind, it has been brining for 10 days now, another 4-7 to go. Just want to check that the brine makes the meat go very dark (brown) in colour, as it certainly isn't pink anymore and cant see it being, after washing off the brine? I used coconut sugar in the brine, but would imagine the brine would have been very dark in colour, due to the other ingredients, even if I had used granulated sugar

Smells very christmasy, even in the bag.

p.s. Do you bother glazing it, when cooking it, or is it already flavoured enough to not need it.

Edited by sotv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Post up a photo if you are unsure - but yes the sugar and the Nitrite will both cause the colour the meat to darken.

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Guest
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...