Browin Blog - Traditional smoked ham

Traditional smoked ham

2021-12-13

For many processed meat enthusiasts, a well-prepared, delicious ham is a true queen of the table, indispensable during a true Polish feast. It can be said without exaggerating that it is a quintessence of culinary traditions with a unique and irreplaceable flavour. Some prefer their hams juicy; some prefer them drier. Some prefer hams with a bit of fat, others choose the “leaner” ones. Whenever there is an opportunity to feat together with friends and family, the appearance of an appetising piece of ham always arouses some more or less hidden enthusiasm. It does not come as a surprise – such ham not only has a unique flavour and aroma, but also this mysterious “something” that often evokes beautiful memories... Usually the memories of pleasant time spent on tasting holiday dishes, arranged proudly on the family table. And since another Christmas holidays are coming, it is worth giving the ham a thought... Or, even better, making it on one’s own! Homemade smoked ham – you will not find a better one at any store. The recipe is simple – you only need some time and a home smoker.
And since we touched upon memories – I can tell you I still remember one family trip from my childhood when me and my grandparents were guests of incredibly kind hosts from around Zakopane. There was a beautiful view on the mountain meadows and the mountains themselves, and there was a backyard smokehouse... I will never forget the wonderful look, flavour and aroma of hams smoked in it.
It may turn out to be the same with your ham, so go for it!


Recipe for ham:

Ingredients:

  • about 1 kg of ham
  • 70 g (3 and ¾ tbsp) of salt per 1 L of water
  • 2 g of saltpetre per 1 kg of meat

Preparation:

Use any presumptive imperfections from the ham so that it forms a relatively shapely piece. Prepare the curing brine (1 L of water, saltpetre and salt) – it is important to have enough of it to cover the meat. If 1 L of water is insufficient, add a bit more of it, remembering to increase the amount of salt proportionally as well.
Inject the ham at several places with the brine prepared (about 5 injections). Put the whole setup into a refrigerator and leave it there for 7-8 days. Afterwards, take the ham out and put it into a meat netting. Hang the ham so prepared in room temperature (up to 24⁰C) to dry. In order to speed up this process, you can use a cool air fan. You can also leave the ham overnight – in such case it is a good idea to reduce the temperature in the room, e.g. by opening the window a little.
Once the meat is well dried, you can start smoking it. To this end, we suggest using beech and alder wood chips. Smoke the ham in a temperature of 40-60⁰C until it gains the right colour (light brown-orange), which will take about 3-4 hours.
Afterwards, scald the ham by putting it into water with temperature of 75⁰C and maintain it. Keep scalding until the temperature inside of the ham reaches 68⁰C. Use a thermometer with a needle probe to measure the temperature. Once the above mentioned temperature inside meat is reached, move the ham to cold water for 15 minutes. Thanks to that the ham pores will close and it will be juicy.


Bon appétit! ...because homemade is better!