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Old 12/05/03, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Dyersville, Iowa
Posts: 2,828
[HAM] Making Country Ham question

I just got my pork back from the processor & I have 5 whole hams that I'd like to make into country ham. This will be my first ham making adventure.
I have the recipe for the salt/sugar cure that I want to use but the instructions say to use a 'salt box' with instuctions for making a wood salt box.
Can I use new rubbermaid type tubs instead of wood boxes? I did a google search online but none of the sites I visited suggested the rubbermaid tubs for curing.
I just think those containers could be washed out and sterilized easier in between curing sessions but I don't want to ruin all of that meat that I worked so hard to raise.
So any opinions, experiences, suggestions?

Old 12/05/03, 11:24 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
I personally see no problem with using the plastic container but I would want drain holes in the bottom. A potential problem that does come to my mind is that I have never seen anyone cure pork, in this manne,r that has already been refrigerated. Typically, the hams are subjected to the cure before the body heat has left to facilitate the absorbsion of the perservative.
Old 12/05/03, 12:20 PM
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I've always just put Cure on them wrapped them in paper,them wrapped them in Muslim Cloth ( sp ) let them hang in the Barn until cured,then wash them,let them hang again.

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Old 12/06/03, 11:19 AM
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Location: central New South Wales, Australia
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I think the drainage and aeration is likely to be a key element. You could start out with the Rubbermaid boxes if you liked, while you made wooden boxes to do it properly. Or you could put holes in the plastic, and hope the big holes would do the same job as porous wood that breathes and drains slowly. Good Luck.

I have seen meat that was preserved by accident. It should have rotted, you'd think. It was kangaroo hindquarters, hung in an old sugar bag, wired round the legs, to keep for a day or two for dog meat. The person responsible (me as it happens) forgot about it for a fortnight. It was fine, and the dogs survived. Cold weather (although only below freezing during the night), and the bag let it breathe and kept the flies away. It was halfway to being dried legs of meat by the time I remembered it, and no bad smell at all.
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Old 12/06/03, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Dyersville, Iowa
Posts: 2,828
Don, it sounded like you were making 'roo jerky'. :haha:

I think I'm going to try one in the rubbermaid container. I'm just going to drill a lot of holes and surround the whole thing with screening.
If one turns out OK, then I'll do a few more.
I just don't know if wood might be a problem for me since I'm allergic to raw wood-break out in huge hives and my breathing gets funky. So I don't know if that allergy would be a problem if something was cured in wood. I can't drink wine for the same reason-it's apparently aged in oak or wooden barrels.
As a kid I couldn't sit on the old wooden seats of the school desks(back before the 'wood look formica desks' became the norm) because I'd break out in hives and have an asthma like attack.

If the rubbermaid doesn't work I'm thinking of trying to make something box like out of hardware cloth, screening & pvc pipe.
Old 12/07/03, 01:43 AM
r.h. in okla.
Posts: n/a
What I'd like to know is where did you find a pig that had 5 hams on it?

I don't think it really matters what the box is made out of cause I have seen kits that used a cardboard box instead of a wooden box. In fact I think I seen a kit in either a allied kenco catalog or a eldonsausage catalog just the other day. The cardboard box is part of the kit.
Old 12/07/03, 08:50 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: south central pa And northeast Fl
Posts: 117
Kathy i use a cheap tub like u store stuff in with a lid!!there about 4 bucks at wally world ru gona salt cure or sugar cure? u gonna smoke it? as far as 5 hams i usally get 8 I get mine cut in half i also cure bacon and sauage!
Old 12/07/03, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Dyersville, Iowa
Posts: 2,828
rh, they were very 'special' pigs, but they walked funny .

Actually I had three butchered and had one ham sliced. The others are still whole and rather large-approx 30# each. They were 6 mos old but big pigs by the time I sent them. I may saw each one in two.

Grizz, thanks that's what I wanted to know, if anyone had actually used the containers. From the other replies I was going to give it a try since no one had said it would ruin/rot the meat but it's always nice to hear from someone who has done it the same way.

I am going to salt/black pepper cure one and sugar cure two. The other two I'm still not sure about. I'm still searching through my meat curing books for recipes.

My son & I are going to make a simple smoker. I found the plans for one online and it uses the black stove pipe, a burned out, clean metal barrel and a smoke chamber. So if it seems to work once we get it built we will smoke them.

BTW, I had the hot breakfast sausage this morning-OMG it was so good!! :worship:

Old 12/07/03, 10:21 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: south central pa And northeast Fl
Posts: 117 this seens like a good recipe
Old 12/07/03, 10:23 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: south central pa And northeast Fl
Posts: 117
This is the one I use TO SUGAR CURE 100 POUNDS HAM

3 lb. salt
1 1/2 lb. brown sugar
2 tbsp. pepper
1 oz. saltpetre
Mix. Put in tub. Rub hams well. And in 3 days, rub them again with same mixture.

this was in Grandma's handwriting
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