Moonshine BBQ Christmas Ham
Well, if you’ve landed here, there’s a very good chance you’ve received one of our Moonshine BBQ Christmas Ham Kits as as gift.
The good news is that curing and smoking your own ham is a pretty straightforward process. Your kit contains most of the items that you need, however there are a few pantry ingredients you will need, these are listed below.
You will also need a large, sterile bucket or tub with a lid, capable of holding at least 20 litres of water, and some fruitwood chips like Apple Wood.Once you have all of these, it’s time to start curing! This recipe, based on a 3 – 3.5kg leg or pork, should take 28 days of curing before it can be smoked.
A note on curing salt - The cure contains Curing Salt, which contains sodium nitrite, and has been measured to cure a 3 – 3.5 kg leg in 10L of water. If you choose a smaller leg than this, chances are it will be over cured and it may be harmful. If you intend on curing a larger leg, get your hands on some Curing Salt (we recommend Misty Gully and refer to the Amazing Ribs site to calculate the curing time and amount of salt you need to add.
So let’s dive in! Here's what you will need:
FOR THE HAM
- Ham Cure (included in your kit)
- Salt – 500g (use kosher salt or non-iodised table salt)
- Sugar – 1/2 cup (white sugar is fine)
FOR THE GLAZE
- Ham Glaze Spices (included in your kit)
- Brown Sugar – 1 cup
- Blend Smoked Honey or regular honey – 1/2 cup
- Apricot jam – 1/2 cup
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/4 cup
- Dijon Mustard – 2 TBS
PREPARING YOUR CHRISTMAS HAM CURE
Curing your ham correctly is probably the single most important part of the entire process. The cure in your kit has been designed to cure a 3-3.5kg leg of pork. This isn’t a cut you would normally find in store, so ask your local butcher to help out by ordering one, or cutting one fresh for you.
- Prepare 10L of distilled water by heating in a large stock pot, and adding your salt and sugar, and stirring until they dissolve.
- Add the water to the tub, then place in the fridge overnight to chill down. You can alternatively throw in ice cubes to bring down the water temp quickly
- Whilst that is cooling right down (as you don’t want the ham to start cooking when you place it in the water), trim any fat or silver skin from the pork, while leaving your top fat cap intact. We’re going to reserve this for later to keep the ham moist in the bag
- Once the water is chilled down, add the cure mix and stir until the curing salts dissolve. Add your ham to the liquid, making sure it is fully submerged.
- Place the lid on the tub and put in the fridge for the next 28 days.
CHECK ON YOUR BRINE DAILY
- IF ANY MOULD FORMS ON THE SURFACE, SKIM IT OFF IMMEDIATELY. MUSTARD SEEDS FOUND IN THE CURE MAY BIND TOGETHER
- MAKE SURE YOUR BRINE STILL SMELLS “BRINEY” THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
- SOME JELLY LIKE BLOBS MAY FORM IN THE CURE, SKIM THESE OUT
- IF IN DOUBT, REMOVE THE MEAT FROM THE BRINE, RINSE IT THOROUGHLY AND MAKE A CLEAN BRINE
SMOKING YOUR CHRISTMAS HAM
Once the meat has been cured, it’s time to smoke it.
Most of the hams you buy commercially have been done in a cold smoke house, but we’re going to hot smoke our ham to do it much quicker. To be honest, we’re not going to spend too much time in this tutorial on the actual process of smoking, as we’ve covered it in a number of our previous tutorials.
You’ll want to prepare you smoker with one of the methods in the videos below. If you don’t have a smoker, we’ve got you covered there too, with a video on how to smoke in a gas BBQ.
You want your cooker to be running at about 300F, and I would recommend using something like Apple Wood to smoke. It’s got a beautiful mild smoke flavour and pairs really well with pork.
- Remove the pork from the cure, and discard the liquid. Rinse it, and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place it on the the cooker and smoke until the internal temperature is 165F, measured with a probe thermometer. This is the recommended safe internal temperature to cook the pork to and will allow it to keep for several weeks. Also, a cut of meat will only take on so much smoke, so don’t worry about continually adding more wood.
- Once smoked to temperature, take it off the cooker and allow it to cool.
GLAZING YOUR CHRISTMAS HAM
- Once the ham is cooked and cooled, remove the skin by sliding a sharp knife or your fingers under the skin and running along it, trying to keep as much of the fat on top intact. You want to have this fat to apply your glaze. Reserve the removed skin for later.
- Score the skin in a crisscross pattern using a sharp knife. You can stud the crosses with cloves if you wish for a more traditional ham, but we prefer to not
- Combine the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of Blend Smoked Honey, apricot jam and the Ham Glaze Spices in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolved and the mix is consistent.
- Place your ham in the oven or on a BBQ using indirect heat at 300F and brush the glaze over. Close the lid and let caramelise a little. Repeat the process every 10 minutes until you are happy with the colour and the glaze has caramelised. You are looking for a deep mahogany colour to your glaze.
Now that it is cured and smoked, you should be able to keep your Christmas ham for a number of weeks (if you don’t eat it all first!) – well into New Year!
Use the reserved skin of your ham to cover the cut face of the leg, and place in the bag. This will keep in the fridge for several weeks. If the ham bag dries out, refresh using the same method.