Homemade Ham

Had a miscommunication with my Amish butcher recently. Bought a whole hog and told him I wanted the hams split instead of whole this time. A whole ham is just a lot of meat even for a large group. I was thinking split in half but he cut the hams into slabs, uncured and not smoked… just raw untouched sections of hog leg, about 4 lbs each. I brined it for 24 hours, put a rub on it, and then smoked it over applewood low and slow. Might be the best ham I’ve ever had. Not so salty because it wasn’t cured, just brined with brown sugar, kosher salt, juniper berries, rosemary, and bay leaves.

This recipe is for one of these ham sections but can easily be used for larger hams, just increase the amounts proportionally.

For Ham

  • 4 to 5 lb section of fresh hog leg, not cured or smoked.

  • Wood chips – I like applewood for pork smoked low and slow.

  • Water for smoker pan.

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Brine Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 cups water plus 1 cup ice cubes.

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • Fresh rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries

Rub Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 T sweet paprika

  • 1 t garlic powder

  • 1 t dried thyme

  • 1 t onion powder

  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper

  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 t dried oregano

  • 1 t dried mustard powder

  • 1 t chili powder

  • Prepared yellow mustard, like French’s.

Directions for Brine

  • Heat 3 cups of water in large bowl for 4 mins on high in microwave.
  • Add brine ingredients and allow to steep for 10 mins in the hot water, stirring occasionally until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Add enough ice to bring volume up to 4 cups.
  • Place ham in a large zip lock or a stock pot if your ham is larger.
  • Allow brine to completely cool. Pour brine in bag, push out air and seal. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, longer for larger hams.

Directions for Dry Rub

  • Put wood chips in water to soak.
  • Remove ham from brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towel..
  • Mix all ingredients for rub.
  • Apply yellow mustard to all surfaces of ham to coat. The mustard doesn’t add much flavor to the meat but it acts as a binder for the rub.
  • Apply rub to all surfaces of ham and let sit for at least an hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

To Smoke Ham

  • Add water to pan in smoker and bring temp to 225 F.
  • Place ham on rack in smoker and add wood chips.
  • Smoke until meat thermometer reads 160 F. I smoked this small section about 5 hours.
  • Remove ham from smoker and allow to rest for 10 to 15 mins before slicing.

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