The classic wet-brined cured ham has a twist in this recipe, where molasses and stout are used to imbue a distinct flavour and colour to the meat. Once cured it can be cooked straightaway or smoked for a more complex flavour.
- 3 kg boned-out pork leg
- 2 litres (8 cups) water
- 1 litre (4 cups) stout
- 200 g molasses
- 200 g salt
- 6 bay leaves
- 10 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 g sodium nitrate (see Note)
- 1 g sodium erythorbate
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 1 x 3 kg ham
Curing time 4 days
Smoking time 3 hours (depending on temperature)
Stab the leg all over with a fine-bladed knife to help the curing mixture enter the meat.
Mix the water, stout, molasses, salt, spices, sodium nitrate and erythorbate well and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour into a non-reactive tub or pot.
Soak the pork in the brine mixture in a cool place at 12°C, or refrigerate if needed, weighing it down so it stays submerged. Leave for 1 ½ days per kilo of meat. (So 3 kg will take 4½ days.)
Hang for a day to dry (at 12°C), or refrigerate on a tray on a cake rack. Hot-smoke for 3 hours, or until the internal temperature when checked with a digital thermometer is 70°C.
• Sodium nitrate is considered a controversial ingredient by some but only very small amounts are used. Other curing compounds are available online or a butcher that cures his own meats might supply you with a small amount.