Ham curing question

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mayesfarm

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How do you guys that cure your own hams handle them after you take them out of salt? I pulled a couple this evening. Planning on rubbing them down with Borax and Black Pepper in the morning and hanging them up in the morning. Any suggestions or words of wisdom are appreciated.
 

sstterry

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@skyhightree1will be able to help.

Borax?? I know it used to be used in the old days to prevent bugs in meat, but if I am not mistaken it has been found to cause developmental problems, particularly in the sex organs. I am by no means a curing expert like Sky, but I always used "pink salt".
 
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skyhightree1

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@skyhightree1will be able to help.

Borax?? I know it used to be used in the old days to prevent bugs in meat, but if I am not mistaken it has been found to cause developmental problems, particularly in the sex organs. I am by no means a curing expert like Sky, but I always used "pink salt".
Borax is definitely a old school concoction that people used. Me personally after washing the hams then letting them dry and it goes through the equilazation period I then rub the hams with molasses and different peppers smoke it... Then wrap it in butcher paper and apply a heavy amount of peppers then hang it.ill smoke it really good multiple times in a well sealed smoke house and it's been pretty successful for me that way.
 

skyhightree1

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These are mine I have to rinse and prep soon. And ones I already have.
 

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mayesfarm

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Thanks for the advice, 2020 was our 3rd year of killing our own hogs. We have been fortunate enough to find some mentors. Our mentors are a group of old gentlemen that have had their hog killin on Thanksgiving Day since the '50s or 60s ( they can't remember when they started). That being said, Old School is all that we know. I really appreciate any and all advice. We are definitely on the steep upward part of the learning curve!
 

skyhightree1

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Thanks for the advice, 2020 was our 3rd year of killing our own hogs. We have been fortunate enough to find some mentors. Our mentors are a group of old gentlemen that have had their hog killin on Thanksgiving Day since the '50s or 60s ( they can't remember when they started). That being said, Old School is all that we know. I really appreciate any and all advice. We are definitely on the steep upward part of the learning curve!
I was taught by men like the older men you speak of all are gone now and while they taught me alot and I do it mostly like they did I don't use borax.
 
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mayesfarm

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Does the molasses and pepper coating form a crust to keep the skippers out? Does it add to or affect the flavor?
 
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mayesfarm

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Thanks again, that makes my mouth water! Per our instructions, we leave ours in salt for around 90 days, clean them off, rub them with borax, black and cayenne peppers and hang them in a pillow case, hock up. Mr Bobby says to age for 2 years. I really like your system. Do you just cold smoke in a smoker? Is yours an old family method, a trial and error success or what you have learned over the years? How long do you age them? I know that I am bombing You with questions but with the guys locally that help us the standard answer when you ask a question is " that's the way we do it". A different perspective is wonderful to me.
 

skyhightree1

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Thanks again, that makes my mouth water! Per our instructions, we leave ours in salt for around 90 days, clean them off, rub them with borax, black and cayenne peppers and hang them in a pillow case, hock up. Mr Bobby says to age for 2 years. I really like your system. Do you just cold smoke in a smoker? Is yours an old family method, a trial and error success or what you have learned over the years? How long do you age them? I know that I am bombing You with questions but with the guys locally that help us the standard answer when you ask a question is " that's the way we do it". A different perspective is wonderful to me.
yea you have to cold smoke them if you hot smoke you will cook them. I am doing it the way my great grandfather has been doing it since 1936. I don't differ much except on the borax. What I have learned is I need a cooler cause the winters are getting warmer and warmer here and will be getting harder to cure the old fashioned way as time goes on my next investment is a cooler im thinking of a truck that has a chiller reefer on the back soon. I do not have a set time honestly I have a ham thats 7 years old I cut off of and I have some from last year that I am currently eating. If I start curing in january I have been known to eat one in November. The longer u cure the more it gets that puntent flavor. I probably answered your question in directly and not on purpose of thats the way we do it but its unintentional. What do you have as a smoke house set up?
 
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mayesfarm

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We don't have a smoke house, just been hanging them from the rafters in our woodshop. The man that owns the place that we kill at has a 16x16 log building that he smokes in. We want to build one in the next couple of years. I keep looking at ideas, but haven't settled on any plans yet. Again, we are open to suggestions. I am definitely going to try the molasses/pepper mixture this winter.
 

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We always hung ours hock down so the fluid would drain from the meat. After trimming (kids showed them at county fair), we smoked them immediately and rehung them just in a sock with no paper. Never had any bug issues. A friend still has one hanging in his barn that is 10 years old and still drips. Still smell good too
 
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