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Injecting fresh hams with sweet pickle cure
Posted By: Rocky
Date: Wednesday, August 7, 2002 at 1:21 p.m.
Hi, I do not have the facilities or equipment for dry curing hams or even combination dry cure/injecting method.
I would like to just inject a couple fresh hams with a TenderQuick sweet pickle cure and then smoke them. I can only keep the hams in the refrigerator for a couple days since they take up so much space.
The strengths for the injecting solution I have found all seem to be based on combination curing with a dry sugar cure and then injecting. These are also based on storing the ham in the open or maybe cold storage for long periods of time. I just want to inject my fresh hams, let them sit for a day or so, then smoke them. Once they are smoked, I want to cut the ham up and vacuum-seal the packages & freeze them.
Here are the strenghts I found for the pickle cure for the combination curing method:
2-1/2 lbs TenderQuick to 3 quarts water for meat that is to be carried over the summer or to be kept for 8-12 months.
2-1/2 lbs TenderQuick per gallon of water for meat to be kept 3-6 months.
2 lbs TenderQuick per gallon of water for meat to be kept 30-60 days.
It also says to pump 1 to 1-1/2 oz of pickle per pound of meat. The pump holds 4oz of pickle.
I have been getting no answers from any sources about just injecting hams with the pickle, letting them absorb the pickle for a couple days, and then smoking them. EVERYBODY says that I have to use the dry cure or combination cure which takes several weeks and walk-in coolers or commercial equipment.
I am willing to use a stronger solution since the absorbing time is less, but I am worried about too much nitrates/nitrites etc. And I also don't want the ham to be too salty.
My main questions are what strength cure solution to use, and how long to let the hams sit to absorb it before smoking.
I am thinking about buying 2 or 3 fresh picnics and run a test with 3 different strength solutions. Maybe 1 lb per gallon in #1, 1-1/2 lbs per gallon in #2, and 2 lbs per gallon in #3. Then, I can see which one tastes closest to what I like. This would be better than possibly ruining a 20-30 lb ham.
I just bought a Morton Meat Pump with the multi-holed needle. I have plenty of TenderQuick.
I have searched all over the internet and asked about this, and all I get are people saying to dry cure or combination cure which takes a very long time. Even Morton said that they don't have any information on curing ham the way I want to try.
Anybody have any suggestions? Thanks.
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