Darn it Siduri! I wanted to say that. Now I'm stuck with making a swine flu crack which, if I were a better man I wouldn't make.
This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed at home. This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. And this little piggy went "cough, sneeze" and the entire world's media went mad over the imminent destruction of the human race, and every journalist found out that they didn't have to do too much work if they just replaced 'bird' with 'swine' on all their saved articles from a year ago...all the way home.
Makes sense. I am not going to carry out the process, but will be creating a page called "How to Cure Ham". I will be researching the entire subject before writing it and will have to use reliable references for any citations or methods that may be suspect.
Really all I was asking for was interesting variations in the wet cure method. I understand about selecting the correct type of ham, ensuring the chill is sufficient, the time needed, etc, I probably wont touch on dry curing, thats a bit more involved.
So anything different/interesting to the standard brine would be welcome.
Out of personal interest, as I am now reading about dry curing ham, (dont worry, Im not going to write about this, its just curiosity) do you cook your hams after curing them, or do you use a curing process that deems the meat edible?
No cooking until I'm ready to eat them. I'm actually preserving them. That's what the word "cure" means.
Salt and brine curing are either the second or third oldest form of food preservation.
It's a slow procedure that, if you think about it, actually is a drying process. The real trick when doing this is to assure that the cure, whatever mixture you're using for it, gets well worked in to the area around the bone. If not, spoilage results.
After curing I sometimes cold-smoke the hams and bacons as well. That would be after the second sweat, which, down here, takes place around March.
The kind I make are what's known in the U.S. as "country ham," a rather generic title for a pretty wide range of products. Mine is a sugar cure:
10-15 lb salt
6 lb brown sugar
8 oz ground black pepper
2 oz ground cayenne
1/2 oz (approx) rubbed sage.