My encounter with a fresh ham was very unplanned. I’d been interested in trying one for the better part of the past year. I even went through the effort of calling up the local grocery store to have one delivered. It was delivered but when I went to pick it up, it wasn’t there. No ham, no foul (see what I did there). Several months later, July 4th to be exact I walked in to buy a couple of six packs of beer. As usual I walked past the meat section just to see what was going on. To my surprise there was a massive fresh ham just sitting in the pork section. Without second thought I picked it up and took it to the cashier along with my beer. Talk about a major score!
Pink Curing Salt (Sodium Nitrite)
1. Remove the skin from the ham using a very sharp utility or carving knife. I used my 8″ Victorinox Forged Slicing / Carving Knife (Find It On Amazon) for this.
2. Fill a large food grade container a little less than halfway with water. Next add 2 tablespoons for every ten pounds of meat of pink salt *NOT HIMALAYAN PINK SALT* to the water along with one cup of kosher salt. For curing salt I used Bolner’s Fiesta Pink Curing Salt (Find It On Amazon). There are a number of other options available on Amazon.
3. Stir the salt until it resolves then completely submerge the ham in the container of salt water.
4. Allow the ham to cure for at least ten days. I allowed my 20 pound ham to cure for 19 days.
5. Once the time has come to smoke the ham get your smoker up to a relatively high smoking temperature around 300 degrees.
6. You can either rinse the ham off before you place it on the smoker or you don’t really have to. I forgot to and mine turned out really salty and really good.
7. Smoke the ham for anywhere between 6 and 10 hours. It’s not really about the time, its all about the internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit.
8. In a large mixing bowl add two cups of honey along with one cup of bourbon and one cup of your favorite dry rub for pork.
9. Once every hour during the smoke heavily baste the ham with the honey-bourbon glaze.
10. Once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit remove the ham from the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped ham in an oven and allow it to rest for at least one hour without heat.
11. Once you get to the slicing portion there are a number of ways to cut your ham. None of them are wrong and your preference matters most. I used my 10″ Chef’s Knife by Victorinox (Find It On Amazon) and it made the job a breeze.