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I need some guidance on smoking an Easter Ham

 
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coffeeroastersclub
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Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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Location: Connecticut

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 8:28 am    Post subject: I need some guidance on smoking an Easter Ham Reply with quote

Hello. I have a 9 pound pork butt, bone in, not cooked in any way yet. I plan on smoking it a long time to create an easter ham. I am brining it now (1 1/2 gallons water, 1 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cloves). I injected the butt with the mixture prior to putting it in the brine. It will brine until Easter, after which I will smoke it in a meat smoker I designed (all wood smoke, no gas). My question is, to accomplish what I want (a ham, even though it is a butt), how long / and at what temperature, do I need to smoke it? I am using oak as the main wood, and hickory chucks to compliment the wood mix.

A picture of my meat smoker is shown below.





Thanks,
Len
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napper
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Len,

Did you put any "cure" in your brine solution?

Cure is either sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite or a combination of both. Old timers sometimes used potassium nitrate.

It is sold as prague powder or instacure or many other names.

If you did NOT put any curing powder in your brine you will NEVER get a ham out of your butt. I don't care what you do you will not end up with ham. The cure is totally responsible for the change from a green ham (as we used to call it) to real ham.

Great looking smoker! Let us know how it comes out!

Bill
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coffeeroastersclub
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

napper wrote:
Len,

Did you put any "cure" in your brine solution?

...snip...
If you did NOT put any curing powder in your brine you will NEVER get a ham out of your butt. I don't care what you do you will not end up with ham. The cure is totally responsible for the change from a green ham (as we used to call it) to real ham.

Great looking smoker! Let us know how it comes out!

Bill


Hello Bill. No I did not put any cure in. I understand that by not doing so I will not get the pinkish color in the pork butt. I guess what I am trying to accomplish is the deep smoke flavor that is inherent in smoked ham. Some sites I have been to, and books I have read, said that a 9 pound butt should be smoked for 18 hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and that I should turn it half way through, baste it, then turn it again 2 hours later, 1 hour later, etc. until the 18 hours is over with, basting it every hour after the initial turn. And I read that I should take it out after getting to internal temp of about 188 degrees for slicing; 200 degrees for pulling.

How does that sound to you?

By the way, I made the smoker with stuff laying around the house and yard, plus about $60 worth of hardware from Home Depot. The firebox was a small woodstove fireplace insert that someone was throwing away (they left it for the junkman on the side of the road). I washed it out and gave it a good coat of high temp black. The drum was formerly used for apple juice concentrate; I picked it up a while back from a local juice plant and was going to use it as a barrel for biodiesel (never came to fruition).

Here are some more pictures of it, just click on the links:

http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture2.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture4.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture5.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture6.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture7.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture8.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture9.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture10.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/picture11.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/smokergrate.jpg
http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/smoker/angus.jpg

Len
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napper
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a lot of extra work to me.

I usually cook my butts at ~220-230 degrees for about 10-12 hours. I turn them once at about 4 hours and then wrap them in foil at 8 hours. (I know I will get a lot of bad responses about using the foil but it works for me)

Take them off after they reach about 200-205 internal. The bone should pull easily. I never slice butts, always pull.

The time really depends upon your cooker. If I load my cabinet smoker with 30 - 10lb butts for a fund raiser cook it takes 12 hours. If I cook 2 butts on my 55 gal. drum smoker it takes about 8 hours. Just cook to set internal temperature. But, if you cook too fast to get there it will not pull as easily. (or taste as good!)

Just my $0.02.

If you were really trying to make HAM, the procedure is MUCH, MUCH more involved.

Good luck! Nice smoking device!

Bill
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job on the smoker coffeeroaster! Very Happy

I agree with napper on the times and temps as well. I also use foil particularly when making pulled pork. Nothing wrong with foil, I've been an "F"er from way back! Wink However, most folks like their ham sliced, so foiling may actually not be the route to go for ham. Ham's are traditionallly cooked at lower temps for longer time frames. Nothing wrong with getting it done a little quicker at a higher temp.

Good luck with your easter cook! Very Happy
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Markbb
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 10:02 pm    Post subject: Ham Reply with quote

Before you put your ham in the smoker make sure you score the fat cap for a better penitration of smoke and flavor are you gonna glaze the ham also?
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coffeeroastersclub
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05 07 10:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Ham Reply with quote

Markbb wrote:
Before you put your ham in the smoker make sure you score the fat cap for a better penitration of smoke and flavor are you gonna glaze the ham also?


Thank you all for the kind comments. I am going to mob it occassionally with a pineapple marinade I have the recipe to (from a Ronco rotisserie marinade book). Thanks for the suggestion on scoring the fat, I forgot about that part and will do it.

Len
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06 07 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got to agree with napper, without curing salt, (nitrates and such) the meat will not hold it's pink color it will look more like a pork roast. I would be real careful and have a back-up plan too in case the bone didn't get a good dose of preserving salt & sugar.

I have cured my own corned-beef several times, and even on a piece as thin as brisket my ure didn't reach the center after 5 days. I had one small brown spot in my brisket.
if i remember correctly you only get 0.25" to 0.5 inches of cure penetration per 24 hours of sitting.
The bone could sour, and cause a real funky Easter, maybe grab a Hillshire-farm ham for back-up.

I would hate to see a holiday meal ruined from an experimental home cured ham.

use your nose heavily before cooking this, if it smells of funk, don;t chance it please. (your nose knows)
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coffeeroastersclub
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06 07 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
I got to agree with napper, without curing salt, (nitrates and such) the meat will not hold it's pink color it will look more like a pork roast. I would be real careful and have a back-up plan too in case the bone didn't get a good dose of preserving salt & sugar.

...snip...
use your nose heavily before cooking this, if it smells of funk, don;t chance it please. (your nose knows)


Hello. Before putting the butt in the brine I injected it heavily with the brine, all around the bone area, etc. Then I put it in the brine. I take the butt out of the brine daily, give it a good stir, then put the butt back in after flipping it (so that every day it has a different surface facing downward).

How does that sound? Do you think the brine I have will really get into it effectively?

Also I should add that the brine/butt are in a stainless stock pan in my refrigerator.

Len
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