Smithfield (or Virginia) Ham

Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

  • About

I once tuned in on a TV documentary about Smithfield hams, in which they showed huge buildings, like barns, full of curing hams. Although I didn’t learn any trade secrets, I saw enough to know that this is a highly controlled and exacting process that, like making a certain wine, cannot be duplicated easily at home; part of the problem, it seems to me, is making a product that is consistent from ham to ham, batch to batch, year to year. Sometimes, these Smithfield hams are touted as being fed or fattened on peanuts, but I think the secret is in the curing. Also, the name Smithfield is probably exploited commercially. In any case, my information on the cure is based almost entirely on Frank G. Ashbrook’s Butchering, Processing and Preservation of Meat:

Method