A letter to the Deli Mama...
"My grandfather after buying a Country Cured ham would soak it then cook it. He had a speical way in which he cooked it. Can you give me some advise on how poeple cook hams? Larry H."
Larry, It sounds from your email that not only did your grandfather 'cook a ham' but he created a very special memory for you of a time shared together!
"You're right about the special memories... After cooking the ham he would place it in the back room were there was no heat. When the ham got cold he would take me to be by his side and we would go to that room. There he would slice very thin slices of that ham for him and I to enjoy, it was a very special treat and something I will never forget.
Thanks again, Larry H."
Padow's own Smithfield's finest Old Cure ham is a particular style of cured ham, made from peanut-fed hogs, raised in the peanut-belt of the State of Virginia or the State of North Carolina, and which are cured, treated and smoked using the same 19th century curing recipes.
(This is reproduced, word for word, from the original source 1888) with added notes in parentheses. Vinegar is not typically used in ham curing in the present day.) For each ham of twelve pounds weight: Two pounds of common salt; 2 ounces of saltpetre; 1/4 pound of bay salt (coarse salt, possibly sea salt); 1/4 pound of coarse sugar. This should be reduced to the finest powder. Rub the hams well with it; female hands are not often heavy enough to do this thoroughly. Then place them in a deep pan, and add a wineglassful (1/4 cup or 2 US fl. oz) of good vinegar. Turn the hams every day; for the first three or four days rub them well with the brine; after that time it will suffice to ladle it over the meat with a wooden or iron spoon. They should remain three weeks in the pickle. When taken from it wipe them well, put them in bags of brown paper (Warning: the "brown paper" of a modern grocery sack should not be used in this fashion. The recipe probably refers to very plain, unbleached paper. "Brown paper bags" are made from a variety of unknown pulp sources and may have a variety of inappropriate chemicals.) and then (cold) smoke them with wood smoke for three weeks.
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