Best Easy Dry Cured Ham Recipe
Dry-cured ham is a culinary delight that has been enjoyed for centuries. This method of preserving and enhancing the flavor of pork creates a delicious, savory meat that can be enjoyed on its own, in sandwiches, or as an ingredient in various dishes. While the process of dry-curing ham can be time-consuming and complex, there are easy recipes that allow you to enjoy this delicacy in the comfort of your own home. In this article, we will explore the best easy dry-cured ham recipe that you can try today.
– 1 bone-in pork leg, about 12-15 pounds
– 3 cups kosher salt
– 2 cups sugar
– 2 tablespoons pink curing salt
– 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
– 1 tablespoon dried thyme
– 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
– 1 tablespoon dried sage
1. Combine kosher salt, sugar, pink curing salt, black peppercorns, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and dried sage in a bowl. Mix well to create the dry cure.
2. Place the pork leg on a clean work surface and generously coat it with the dry cure, making sure to cover all sides. Massage the cure into the meat to ensure even distribution.
3. Place the cured pork leg in a large ziplock bag and seal it. Place the bag in a roasting pan or a tray to catch any liquid that may escape.
4. Refrigerate the pork leg for 7-10 days, flipping it every 2-3 days to redistribute the cure and juices. This process allows the salt to penetrate the meat and draw out moisture, creating a dry-cured texture.
5. After the curing period, remove the pork leg from the bag and rinse off any excess cure under cold water. Pat the leg dry with paper towels.
6. Wrap the pork leg tightly with several layers of cheesecloth, ensuring that it is completely covered. This step helps to shape the ham and prevent any mold growth.
7. Hang the wrapped pork leg in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. A basement or cellar is an ideal location. Allow the ham to hang for 6-12 months, depending on the desired intensity of flavor. The longer it hangs, the drier and more intense the flavor will be.
8. Once the desired hanging time has passed, remove the cheesecloth and trim away any dry or moldy sections. Slice the ham thinly and savor the delicious flavors of your homemade dry-cured ham.
Questions and Answers:
1. What is dry-cured ham?
Dry-cured ham is a preserved meat product made by salting and air-drying pork.
2. How long does it take to make dry-cured ham?
The entire process can take anywhere from 7-12 months, depending on the desired flavor and texture.
3. Can I use a different cut of pork?
Yes, you can use a boneless pork leg or even pork shoulder for this recipe.
4. Do I need to refrigerate the ham during the hanging period?
No, the ham should be hung in a cool, dry place with good air circulation.
5. Can I add other spices to the dry cure?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor of your dry-cured ham.
6. Can I use regular table salt instead of kosher salt?
Kosher salt is preferred for its larger grains, which helps to draw out moisture from the meat. However, you can use regular table salt if necessary.
7. Can I speed up the curing process?
Dry-curing ham is a slow process that cannot be rushed. Patience is key to achieving the best flavor and texture.
8. How should I store the finished dry-cured ham?
Once sliced, store the ham in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
9. Can I freeze the dry-cured ham?
Yes, you can freeze the ham for longer storage. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be frozen for up to 6 months.