Is it possible to salvage poorly cured hams?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by nicko, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Every year we purchase a half a hog from a local farmer. Overall we are very happy with the product but this year we had a major disappointment. The processing plant that farmer uses to break down the hogs also handles the curing of the bacon, hams and sausage preparation (breakfast, brats, etc).

    The first time we purchased a hog we opted for breakfast sausage from the scraps and we cured the bacon ourselves. When we picked up the meat we noticed that one of the ingredients used in the breakfast sausage was MSG. Going forward to avoid this we just opted for ground pork and made them ourselves.

    This year the farmer used a different processing plant that offers organic (aka: no msg) when curing hams, bacon, and sausage preparation. As a result we opted to have the plant cure the hams for us. What we (and other friends) ended up with were grey, tastless hams. It is truly unfortunate because it is a lot of meat that just doesn't even taste good. 

    Does anyone know if you possibly soak the hams in a brine again to give it some flavor? There is some smoke on the meat because it was smoked but other than that it is just a big grey hunk of meat.

    Thanks,
     
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Beuhler... Beuhler.. Anyone, anyone????
     
  3. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    I wish I could help you Nicko....

    You invest all that money to have that happen. I asked my father about it but he has never re-brined. It would be interesting to know though.
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    If they're gray, the didn't use the nitrates/nitrites.  For a wet cured ham, i wouldn't trust these as nitrates protect against bacteria growth.  If it was a dry cured ham I'd still be pretty leery of it.

    I think I'd go back to the processor and complain about the product and demand a refund, at least a partial one. Mention it to your grower too, not for a refund of course but so he knows.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Be extremely careful, if not cured correctly they could be harboring all kinds of bacteria. In particular if no nitrtes or nitrates were used, and based on the change of color I do not think they were as both are the things that keep meat red along with saltpeter.      

      Mushroom girl works a lot with hogs perhaps she could guide you better. But Remember  "If in doubt throw itout'' and better safe then sorry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    That truly sucks, but I agree with everyone else, toss it out.  I wouldn't risk it.  And I agree, it sounds like they didn't use any nitrites and nitrates and without those, and in such a large piece of meat, you can run into serious bacterial concerns.
     
  7. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Nicko, what has the producer to say about this? Can he guarantee it will have no negative effect on you health, or not?

    Also, gray color isn't always bad. It means indeed like Phatch said the absence of nitrates/nitrites which are used to preserve the color but are in fact very bad for your health!

    I would ask the producer what to do with it.
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Nitratesand nitrites are bad but then so is sodium benzoate which for years has been used in almost every product as a preservative. In fact if over 1/10 of 1% is used it could really make you sick and  is classified as a poison.

    Years ago babies who suffered from not being able to down food were given minute forms of arsenic to open the valve pathway to their stomachs.. For that matter milk could also be bad for health if to much ingested. As could anything. Moderation is the key . I still would not use that ham and would make the guy take it back or tell him I was taking it to the health dept for their opinion.
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    They are better than the alternative which is the possible presence of botulism or other food borne pathogens in cured meat products.  As far as I know there is no alternative product that prevents possible botulism contamination in the curing of meats.
     
  10. justo0

    justo0

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    that  is~~