Whether as a sandwich filling, a companion to asparagus, or an ingredient in delectable casserole creations, high-quality cooked ham is a timeless choice. Surprisingly, making your own cooked ham is a straightforward process. For those in possession of a sous-vide immersion circulator and a vacuum sealer, the stage is already set. The delightfully succulent and tender taste of self-crafted cooked ham stands apart from its commercial counterparts. Moreover, the added bonus lies in the freedom to personalize the seasoning to suit individual preferences.
Selecting the Appropriate Meat for Cooked Ham
In the traditional approach to crafting cooked ham, cuts derived from a pig’s leg or shoulder take center stage. These are commonly known as “Hinterschinken” (hind leg ham) or “Vorderschinken” (front leg ham). Nonetheless, the choice isn’t restricted to conventional pork alone; venison or beef also serve as fitting alternatives for producing cooked ham. Embrace experimentation to tailor the process to your personal tastes.
Crafting Homemade Cooked Ham - Comprehensive Instructions
- 1 whole hind leg ham
- 500ml water
- 20g sugar
- 60g nitrite curing salt
- 1g ground caraway
- 2g ground black pepper
- 2g ginger powder
- 5g lemon powder (optional)
Additionally, you’ll require:
- Brine injection syringe
- Sous-vide immersion circulator
- Vacuum bags
- Vacuum sealer
Step 1: Prepare the Brine Place water and all the spices (except curing salt) in a pot, bring to a boil, and then let it cool down. Stir in the curing salt while it’s cooling. Thoroughly mix the brine or preferably blend it using an immersion blender.
Step 2: Inject the Brine into the Meat Inject the brine evenly into the meat using a syringe. Stop once the meat no longer absorbs liquid.
Step 3: Vacuum Sealing Place the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag and vacuum seal it using a vacuum sealer. Let the meat rest in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Step 4: Gentle Cooking Contrary to its name, the cooked ham is not boiled; rather, it’s gently cooked in a water bath at relatively low temperature. A sous-vide immersion circulator works particularly well for this. Preheat the sous-vide container to 70°C (158°F) using the immersion circulator, and cook the vacuum-sealed meat in the water bath for 4 hours. Afterward, remove from the vacuum-sealed bag, cover, and allow it to cool. Your homemade cooked ham is now ready.
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Our Suggestion: To add a unique flavor dimension, consider giving the ham a brief cold-smoking session (1-2 hours is sufficient) after it has cooled. It’s crucial to ensure the ham’s surface is entirely dry before smoking. Opting for cherry wood is advised, as it imparts a delightfully gentle smokiness and enhances the ham’s appearance. In the absence of a dedicated smoker, a charcoal grill can serve the purpose. Following smoking, allow the ham to aerate in a cool environment for several hours.
Shelf Life of Homemade Cooked Ham
The durability of your crafted cooked ham is approximately one week when kept in the fridge. If vacuum-sealed, it remains suitable for refrigeration for a span of 2-3 weeks. For extended storage periods, consider straightforwardly vacuum-sealing the ham before freezing.