Recipes for Curing Ham

Recipes for Curing Ham

Here are 4 different recipes for curing ham, all are different but equally good. The first two recipes are for dry curing of the ham and the other recipes are putting the legs of pork in brine. If you live in a hot climate dry curing is not a good idea as your meat will spoil and not be fit for human consumption.  However, if you are going to cure your hams when the weather is cold, for every day that the temperature reaches freezing point you should add an extra day to your ham curing process.

Air-Dry Curing Ham

20lb rock salt

6oz curing salt

2oz sage

3oz bay leaves

1 1/2 oz garlic

6oz juniper berries

3oz black pepper

2oz nutmeg

1oz chives

2oz thyme

4oz coriander


Grind all the herbs, Take 6oz curing salt and mix well with the 20lb rock salt, then add the herbs and spices and mix thoroughly. Wash the hams and dry thoroughly. Put a bed of salt in a container and lay the hams down, making sure the container has a hole in the bottom to let excess fluid run off, Cover completely with the ingredients and leave until it is a good color. After a week, break the pack, re-salt and place the hams skin down. Cover completely with salt and leave for one month. After a month take them out, wash thoroughly and tie a piece of good quality cotton twine around the hocks. Hang them up to mature for a week. After a week, take them down and insert a long needle into each ham. Withdraw the needle and smell it. The aroma should smell fresh. If it does, take a small piece of fat, cover it with pepper and block the hole up with it; this prevents bacteria invading the ham.The next thing to do is to put the hams in the smoke house and smoke them using beech, for about a week. Take out cool, and put them in a cotton bag to mature. These hams can keep for 12 months. They must be boned out very carefully and left under a press to compact the shape.

Air-Dry Curing Ham

30lb bay salt

6oz curing salt

4oz black pepper

6oz coriander

1 pint white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic


When dry curing ham cover the hams completely with a layer of salt for 3 days.  Once all the fluid has been removed, apply the curing mixture.

For the cure: mix together the curing salt, salt, black pepper and coriander, Bone out the leg of pork and then apply the ingredients inside and out. Where you have taken the bone out, put some of the ingredients in, using 1oz to 1lb and then sew up near the hock to give a good shape to the ham. Put the leg in a curing net to keep the shape. Do not hang it up but lay it down so it does not lose its shape. Cure for 10 days, then fetch it out and wash it off. Apply the garlic and wine vinegar to the dry ham and put under a wooden press. Press into shape and leave for another week or so until it is completely hard. Take out the ham, rub it with garlic and vinegar and put in a muslin cloth. Hang up in an airy place and leave for about a month.  You may find mold when you remove it from the cloth. If the mold is white that is fine, just wipe it off with a cloth. However, if it is black this is not good, Rub it off with some more vinegar and re-wrap in a clean muslin.

Simple Salt Brine

4 gallons water

8 lb salt

3/4 pound brown sugar

1/4 pound curing salt


Boil all the ingredients together for 20 minutes and cool before pouring it over the meat.  Find a large, clean container and place the meat inside and cover with the brine mixture completely. Leave it there for 3 weeks, then wash, and dry it off. Cover with a piece of muslin and hang it up to dry in an airy place. You can also place it up the chimney and allow it to be smoked from the smoke from the wood fire if your have a large enough chimney.

Sugar Ham Curing

This sugar curing ham recipe is a little different in that you salt up the ham first, and then place it into a solution that is almost like a pickle concoction. It also doesn’t contain any saltpetre so it is a safer and healthier option. Take your pork leg and rub it with salt for 3 consecutive days. Then submerge your salted pork leg in the following pickle solution for 3 weeks.

4 gallons water

8 pounds black treacle

2 pounds salt

4 pounds brown sugar

2 oz black pepper


Boil the ingredients for 20 minutes in a large pot, remove from heat and cool. Submerge your pork leg completely in the solution and leave it there for 3 weeks. Take it out, and without washing it, allow it to air-dry slowly.

Old Fashioned Recipe for Curing Ham

For every 100 pounds of meat take 5 pints of good molasses or 5 pounds of brown sugar, 5 ounces curing salt, 8 pounds of rock salt and add 3 gallons of water to a pot. Boil over a gentle heat, removing scum as it rises. Continue boiling until the salt and sugar have dissolved. With the meat cut and trimmed, pack the hams into the cask with the shank end down. Once the liquid has cooled poor over the hams in the cask making sure that they are completely covered. The hams can lie in the pickle 2 – 6 weeks depending on the size of the hams, the time of the season etc. The warmer the weather, the shorter the time. This recipe is a good substitute for curing ham rather than smoking or drying it.

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