One of the signature dishes of North American Easter is a cured ham. Why buy the half-dome spheroid from your supermarket meat case? Pick up a pork shoulder and cure and smoke the ham yourself. The result will be far superior to anything mass produced, and your friends and family will thank you for it.
Side note: Prague Cure #1 is generally available from fine food stores, and is absolutely available through preferred online retailers. This is vital to the food safety portion of the brining process by preventing growth of Colstridium botulinim. Prague Cure #1 is also known as Insta Cure #1 or Pink Cure #1.
- 1 8-pound bone-in pork leg section
- 6 litres water
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup pickling spice
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 1/2 cup Prague Cure #1 (a pink salt)
- 2 heads garlic, peeled
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For a little sweetness
- 1/4 cup honey, warmed slightly
- In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, sugar, pickling spice and cloves. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool to lukewarm and stir in the Prague Cure #1.
- Meanwhile, remove any thick skin from the outside of the meat. Score the fat underneath with a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern. Place the meat in a large non-reactive vessel and pour the cooled liquid over top. Using a meat injector, inject some of the brine deep inside the meat in several places. Weigh the meat down so that it stays submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate at 40°F for 2-4 days, stirring and turning once a day.
- Remove the pork from the brine, and place it in a colander set over a large bowl. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
- First thing in the morning soak some apple wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Light the Broil King Keg and adjust the vents for a constant temperature of 200°F. Drain the wood chips and scatter them over the embers. Place the diffuser pan over the coals and fill with apple cider or a combination of cider and water.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the paste ingredients in a blender and whir to combine. Pat the mixture all over the outside of the meat and set it on the prepared smoker. Inject the warmed honey inside the meat in several places. Smoke at 200°F, or until the internal temperature reaches 145-150°F, about 10-12 hours. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.