Making a nice, succulent cooked ham at home is easier thank you think. All you need is a decent vacuum sealer, nitrite cure and spices to your liking. For my verison I simply used the French quatre épices spice mix.
- One nice piece of ham meat, skin on
- 30 g nitrite curing salt (0.5% nitrite concentration) per kg meat (or 28 g table salt and 2.5 g cure #1 per kg)
- 5 g sugar per kg meat
- 2 g black pepper, ground per kg meat
- 1 g quatre épices per kg meat
- Quality vacuum sealer using structured bags (Caso, Foodsaver, Lava etc.)
- Curing: 2 weeks
- Cooking: around 2 hours, depending on the size of the meat.
Mix all curing ingredients and spices thoroughly and rub the meat evenly on all sides. No remnants of the mixture should be left. Place in vacuum bag of appropriate size, evacuate and seal. Put into the fridge and let rest for 2 weeks.
This recipe uses equilibrium cure, this means all salt is supposed to go into the meat exepct a bit of natural brine which may be forming outside. Two weeks is sufficient time to allow the salt to distribute evenly throughout the meat. Because of this and the vacuum it is no problem to prolong the curing time; there will be little to no effect.
After the curing, remove the bag, discard any brine that may have formed and pat the meat dry with a kitchen paper. Put the ham into a fresh vacuum bag, evacuate and seal again.
Gently simmer the bag with the ham in a pot of water at 70 to 75 degrees. Count roughly 1 minute per milimetre thickness of the meat. If you want to use a meat thermometer, the internal teperature should be 65 to 68 degrees. Let cool down and refrigerate over night in the sealed bag. There may be some rendered juice turning into jelly.
Note: Due to my memory card breaking (literally) I lost the pictures that I took of the various steps. Sorry about that.