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Ham and Bacon

Posted: Thu May 06, 2021 01:28
by Determined
Been a while since I have posted on here but like many others I have been lurking in the background soaking up knowledge.

Anyhow we got around to cutting up a few pigs again and I was hoping you could comment on what I have going for curing the hams and bacons.
It has been a while and I am forgetting what did and did not work so well since the last time around.


Dry rub 30 lbs of bellies with a mix of 2 cup salt and 8 tbs of cure.
Coat with a 1/3 each mixture of maple syrup, honey and dextrose totaling 4 cups.
Plan to turn daily then rinse off after day 3 then hang in fridge 3 days before smoking.


75 lbs (6-8 lb pieces)

4 gal water
3 lb salt
3 cup dextrose
2 cup cure

Pumped 10% into hams then into brine, cooler set at 38 F
Was going to leave in 5 days followed by wash off and leave in cooler 5 days before smoking.

Re: Ham and Bacon

Posted: Wed May 12, 2021 17:21
by Determined

Bacon was not developing as much liquid as I was expecting so day 2 I added 1 gal of water, still not enough to cover the pieces but enough that with turning and rearranging them twice a day they were all getting a good soak.

Day 3 washed off the bacons real well then set them back in the cooler for 3 days, really seems to help drop the moisture content of the pieces while in the cooler.

Cut off some slices yesterday and fried them up, I was quite happy with the salt level/taste of it as my memory was saying Rytek's recipes were always on the salty side of what we like.
The 1/3 dextrose, 1/3 honey, 1/3 maple syrup left it with a very nice light sweetness and it fried up nicely as opposed to the oversweet burn in the pan before it cooks I have run into in the past.

In to the smoker about 11:00 last night at 130 F, by this morning they were just coming up on 127F internal, turned the temp down to 120F and got the hickory smoke going for just over an hour.

The time in the smoker may sound excessive to you but I am a firm believer in low and slow, I often do sausages for 12-15 hours, but actual time with smoke on rarely exceeds an hour.
The bacons will be going back into the cooler once they cool down on their own for a few hours.

The hams I washed off on the end of day 4, sliced and fried a piece and found it to be way too salty so they went into a tub of water to soak for 2 days in the cooler.

Last night I pulled them out of the water and sat them on a shelf in the cooler, fried up a piece today and the salt level is just about right, will sample again after a few days in the cooler to see how much it stabilizes before smoking them.

Re: Ham and Bacon

Posted: Mon May 17, 2021 14:56
by redzed
Hello Determined and welcome back to the forum. It's been a while.

I really don't know how to respond to your posts since you did not pose any particular questions and already prepared everything using your method. It's also difficult to assess you amounts of salt, sugar and cure when you measure in cups. It's so much easier and accurate to use the metric system.

I would have cured the bacon a bit longer than 3 days. If using a dry cure, it's best to use the equilibrium cure method. However, since you added a whopping amount of sugars (honey, maple syrup and dextrose), you also have to allow enough time for sugar to be absorbed by the meat. The uptake rate for sugar several times longer than salt. And it probably would have been better to dissolve the honey and maple syrup in hot water, chill and make a proper brine.

Your hams should be fine, you pumped them and and from what I can calculate from your measurements it was a 9% brine (that is if you were measuring in American gallons and not Imperial.) I usually make an 8% brine and would have brined for several days, and a whole ham for two weeks.

All the best and I hope you get some out there soon.

Re: Ham and Bacon

Posted: Tue May 25, 2021 14:44
by Determined
Hello redzed

Sorry for taking so long to reply we have been busy with the cattle this past week.

As far as replies go not getting a bunch of that's way too much or that's not enough comments in a sense answered my question.

Most of my recipes I do have down in metric, this one was just based off a quick one from my Rytek book.

I have never had great results using the dry rub method but thought I would give it one more try.
Being that I started off dry then added water on day 2 I guess I didn't really follow any recipe directions, kind of a half dry rub and half brine approach.
With it being in a brine day 2 how much longer would you leave them in for?
Your suggestion to dissolve the sugars will be followed next time to if anything avoid the sticky mess working with them makes.

Regarding your mention of the equilibrium method, does the 3 days in the cooler after rinsing meet the requirements of this method?
The end results of whatever I did were most pleasing and our family rated it as some of the best bacon that I have made over the years, in the past the comments were usually too salty or that it turns black in the pan too fast (too much sugars).

The hams I ended up leaving in the cooler for 5 days before going into the smoker for 12 hours overnight at 130F.
Morning I turned the heat up to 160F and turned the smoke (80% Hickory 20% Mesquite) on heavy for 1 hour then shut off the heat when they reached 145F internal.
I kept the air on another 2 hours until they were cool enough to go into the cooler.
The first one we baked up was quite nice and I may be wrong but I think the 5 days in the cooler before smoking made the biggest difference.

Regarding the water measurements in the brine I guess I was kind of in between the American 3.78L gallon and the Imperial 4.54L gallon as I was calling 4.0L a gallon when I was referring to the water volume.

I still have a pile of coarse grind in the freezer to deal with after we get caught up with cattle chores so I will be back around.

Thanks for the reply and ideas.

Re: Ham and Bacon

Posted: Thu May 27, 2021 20:21
by jjnurk
Hello fellow Saskatchewanite !!!
Last weekend was bacon making weekend. 1.8 % salt, 0.25% cure and about 3.00% brown sugar with a dousing of chilli flakes. This was equilibrium cured for 2 weeks. The pork hock was a late addition which I quickly made a brine, injected and let sit for 2 days. Everything was smoked on whiskey soaked oak and let me tell you, what a wonderful flavour. Probably one of the better smoked flavours I made. It was suggested to me to spray whiskey on the bacon for an additional layer of taste but I drank it instead.

Re: Ham and Bacon

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 23:40
by Determined
Hello jjnurk

Looks like some good eats you got going there.

Now you got me thinking.
I wonder if peppercorn's soaked in whiskey would work on that.
Or maybe some homemade Gin to impart a bit of Juniper flavor on it.

How are you doing in this heat. We have been 30 C+ all day and hit 32 C while we were trying to finish planting the garden this afternoon.