Monday, January 12, 2009

4-H Ham Curing

As one of Alex's 4-H projects, she is curing a ham. On Saturday, Alex and I went down to Burger's Smokehouse which graciously every year allow the kids to use their facilities. In case you've not heard of it, Burger's ( has the most awesome ham and bacon, and hundreds of other products, you've ever tasted. They ship worldwide and also sell at local grocery stores. As this is her first year, she did two hams in case one didn't turn out. We got to Burger's about 7:20 a.m. (they opened at 7 a.m.) and were surprised to see a LOT of kids already there. There were two big stainless steel tables full of hams for you to choose.

We didn't really know which ham to choose, so we asked a Burger's employee for his opinion. Once Alex picked her hams, she went over to a big stainless steel tub full of "cure." This is sugar, salt, spices and nitrate. This "cure" is rubbed all over the ham. A couple of handfuls of cure are placed on a big white sheet of paper, the ham is placed on top of that, and more cure is placed on top of the ham. It is then wrapped, covered with a cloth, and a piece of baler twine is tied at the end for hanging. We brought the hams home to hang up in the top of our barn for several months. We learned that hams shouldn't freeze for 72 hours after the cure is first put on them, so the hams are now in our downstairs refrigerator. It is supposed to be brutually cold this week, so it may be the weekend before these hams actually get put outside. We had a lot of fun and I'll keep you posted on the progress of the hams.


  1. super interesting. i didnt know that was how they cured a ham. you will have to let us know how they end up tasting!

  2. that looks like a lot of fun! i wish they had something like that around here. how many months does it have to cure for?