Portrait of a Country Ham

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And the girls who made them.

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It’s a 4H project club hereabouts. We now have four hams hanging in a shed, and they won’t see the light of day till May, maybe June, at which point they will be covered in mold and totally disgusting. But country hams are pretty exciting stuff around here. Looking forward to my initiation. 😉

4 Comment

  1. Beckie R. says:

    explain, please…why are they going to be moldy and are you going to eat them after that?

  2. Oh my. Looking forward to watching this process. I am not opposed to eating a country ham, ever. Ok?

  3. So dumb question probably but I don’t know anything about this process really – does the hanging process cure the meat? And to be honest, I’m not even sure what it means to cure meat but I hear people saying it. When we lived in Burlington, VT we had neighbors from Bosnia and they smoked and dried all of their meats in some sort of contraption they built in their backyard and the process took a long time, but the end result was delicious.

  4. Here’s a link to a country ham info sheet. The rub we used was predominantly salt and sugar, but it came from a commercial source and probably had nitrate preservatives in it, too. Also, I thought it smelled like chili powder. It was definitely red.

    The hock end of the hams were too long, so we sawed them off a little, and you have to pay particular attention to packing the cure in the hock area. Apparently, that’s where it’s most likely to spoil. Over the next few months, a lot of the moisture will be drawn out, so I imagine it’ll be somewhat dry, maybe like jerky? I don’t know. I see country hams at the grocery stores here, but I have an aversion to buying moldy food, and they are very expensive, so I haven’t ever tried one.

    They have a ham house at the extension office in town, which is basically a shed with nails driven into the rafters. It’s climate controlled, so the temperatures in there wont’ get over 60°. According to that fact sheet, though, higher temps don’t matter after the initial cure.

    The girls will be presenting their hams at the state fair this year, along with a speech.

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