Brine-Cured Pork Hams and Shoulders

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

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

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

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Although large hams can be cured in a pickle instead of being dry-cured, the process really works best for the small hams and shoulders. One advantage of a pickle over a dry cure is that it allows the use of liquids such as honey and wine. Wine is used in some Italian cures and in the Spanish Serrano hams. And the Suffolk hams of England are pickled in stout.
One problem with curing large hams, and large numbers of hams, in a pickle is that salt penetration is slow and the liquid drawn out of the ham tends to dilute the pickle. Large hams are best dry-cured at first, then transferred to a pickle. Shoulders and small hams (under 10 pounds) can be put directly into the pickle, which is what I recommend. (In other words, with small hams and shoulders you can omit steps 2 and 4 below.)