Vension Ham Curing

The art and science of curing hams, pork and vension, is becoming a lost art.  This is probably, as with a lot of many other food preparation skills, due to the specialization of our society, as well as the removal of people from the farm and actually having daily work in growing, gathering, processing and preparing of food to eat.

Curing a vension or pork ham is a very easy endeavor.  By the way, a vension ham is the exact same cut of meat that a pork ham is, and a that a rear quarter of beef is; it is the rear upper leg and hip of the animal.  Now, for a bit of terminology:  A ham, whether pork or vension, is usually used to refer to a cured piece of meat.  Otherwise, the meat from the rear quarter of the animal is usually called a “roast,” whether it is beef, pork, or vension.

Now onto the curing.  A wet cure is the simplest to do.  It consists of several steps.

Step One

Prepare a fresh (uncured) rear quarter for cooking. I recommend deboning it. The size doesn’t matter, use whatever size ham you have.

Step Two

Prepare the brine, this is the wet part. I like to use the Sausage Maker’s recipes and ingredients.  Brine will include water, salt, brown sugar, and Insta Cure #1.  You should stir all ingredients together until dissolved.

Step Three

Place the ham in a leak-proof bag that is large enough to hold the meat completely submerged in the brine. Inject the cold brine in the ham.  Then, cover with a dry rub made of salt, brown sugar, and cure.  Pour in the remaining brine.  Wrap the bag tightly so no air is in it.  Keep it in the fridge from 4 to 7 days.

Step Four

Smoke the ham.  It needs to come to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  I usually smoke for two hours and then bake until done in an oven.

Step 5

Slice thin and enjoy.