Thursday, September 17, 2009

Traditional Cures and Making of English Ham and Bacon

John Warr, posted the following at what was then known as: Deja News. Later Deja was purchased by Google and was renamed: Google Groups.

For those wishing to make authentic English style Ham and Bacon, this is a must read. One Caveat: a British pint is 20 fluid ounces, not the American 16 fluid ounces. An English stone is 14 pounds. Where the recipes call for saltpeter that is the chemical: Sodium Nitrate and where the call is for prunella, that is Sodium Nitrite.

Warr's post:

I said some time back that I would post these ham & bacon cures. They are all
traditional methods, and assume for the most part that you have a whole pig
to deal with. I have not used all of them, but have based cures on some. If
you need any further info, let me know. Some scaling will be needed, and some
modification. I have not bothered to update units or nomenclature, but that
will add to the fun :-)

John Warr

"...a gentleman who was generally spoken of as having nothing a-year, paid

Oxfordshire beer & juniper cure.
16 lb Ham
1 lb soft brown sugar
1/2 oz bay salt
3 pts beer
1 lb salt
1/4 lb juniper berries
1/2 oz saptpetre

Boil all ingredients and cool Pour over ham. Rub every day for first few days
then every 2-3 days for a month. Take from pickle and hang to dry.

Cumberland cure
A 20 stone pig
1/2 lb saltpetre
1 1/2 stone salt
1 lb brown sugar
Lay hams, fitches shoulders skin up on stone slab. Rub salt into skin till
moisture forms. Turn over, remove all veins & rub with saltpetre & brown
sugar ( especialy around veins & bones).cover with salt & leave 1 day. Check
each day for 3-4 days, keeping covered with salt. Take out fitches after 14
days, shoulders & hams after 21 days. Wash with cloth dipped in lukewarm
water & hang to dry from November to March.

Devonshire cure
7 lb bay salt
1 lb treacle 2 oz saltpeter
Boil 8 qt water, add above & stir to dissolve. Place hams in crock and pour
brine over when cold. after 6 weeks, take out hams & dry thoroughly. Place
in muslin bags & store in malt dust or wood ash.. Better, hang in chimney
of open fire for two weeks before storing.
Hereford cure for ham & bacon
1 lb salt
1 oz saltpeter
6 ox moist sugar
3/4 pt pickling vinegar
Remove backbone & ribs from fitches. Remove feet. Remove thick shoulder end
from fitch ( takes longer to cure).
Saw into hip joints of hams & remove head of hip joint.
Sprinkle meat with plenty of salt & lay on sloping boards to drain 24 hrs.
Wipe with cloth.
Rub in saltpeter, then salt. Lay meat skin down on a little salt in
pickling trough, spread sugar on top. After 3 days pour vinegar on top.
Bath with pickle several times a day. Turn every other day. Bacon & cheeks
take about 14 days, Hams & shoulders 3 - 4 weeks depending on size. Dry off
and hang in a dry place. Smoke if liked.

Leicestershire method
Prick hams 7 shoulders with sharp pricker. on skin side ( about 20 times).
Rub rind with small amount of saltpeter, finish off with salt until it
sweats. put on plenty of salt, and leave 3 days. turn meat, and add more
salt. Leave about 3 weeks, turning & rubbing occasionally. Dry meat well,
and brush off salt. dredge with flour and when dry, paint the exposed meat
with bee's wax.

Lincolnshire cure (for whole pig- about 30 stone)
3 to 3.5 stone salt
1/2 to 3/4 lb saltpeter
Bacon: place fitch in salting tub. rub rind well with a little saltpeter,
especially the shoulder part 7 where the bone has been cut out. Put a
little extra in the "pocket" and fill with salt. Rub all over with salt.
Turn the fitch over & leave meat side uppermost. Sprinkle with saltpeter ,
rub all over with salt & leave well covered with salt. Hams are treated in
the same way, using a little more saltpeter. Leave in a dry, well
ventilated place. after a couple of days, , if salt has run & left bare
patches, re-cover with salt.
After a month, take out, rub off salt & hang to dry. But into bacon bags.
Optionally, a 1/4 lb of moist brown sugar can be added to the hams &
shoulders for moistness.

Northamptonshire method.
For 18 - 20 lb ham, rub well with salt, leave 24 hrs then wipe dry. Rub in
1 oq saltpeter, mix together 1 lb salt, 1/4 lb pepper, abd rub into ham
each morning for 3 days. Pour over 1 lb treacle and baste & turn each day
for a month. Drain 24 hrs then hang in cool dry place. When dry, put into
muslin bags & hang at least 3 months.

Nottingham method (bacon)
Strew salt over meat and allow to drain 24 hrs. To each 5 lb meat, allow
1/4 lb salt, 2 oz saltpeter, 1 oz prunella salt, 1/4 lb sugar (coarse
Mix & pound fine salt & prunella salt. Mix with salt & sugar. Rub into
bacon well. turn & rub every day for 3 weeks.
Derbyshire cure
1 pt old ale
1 pt stout
1 lb treacle
3/4 lb fine salt
3/4 lb coarse salt
1/4 oz saltpeter
10 - 12 lb ham
Put all (except ham) into saucepan & boil 5 mins. Meanwhile rub ham well
with coarse salt & place in pickling jar. Pour over hot mixture Keep ham in
pickle 3 weeks, turn & rub each day. Take out, dry, put into muslin bag &
hang in cool dry place.

Somerset bacon
8 lb salt
3/4 lb brown sugar
1/4 lb saltpeter
4 gal water
Boil all above 20 mins. Remove any scum. Allow to cool, put in bacon &
leave 10 days. Turn every day.
Somerset ham
20 lb ham
2 lb salt
1 oz saltpeter
1 lb bay salt
2 oz mustard flour
2 oz black pepper
Pound 7 mix ingredients. Rub hams and let lie 4 days, rubbing each day.
pour over 1 1/4 lb treacle. Keep hams in pickle 4 to 5 weeks. Turn & baste
each day. Take from pickle & place in cold spring water 24 hours. Hang to
dry. These hams need no soaking prior to cooking.
Rock salt & red pepper
Rub hams with a mix of 4 lbs rock salt & 1 1/2 oz saltpeter. Place intrough
rind down. and drain 48 hrs.
Take 4 lbs crushed rock salt, 1 1/2 oz saltpeter, 2 lbs brown sugar, and 2
oz red pepper to each 100 lb ham. Rub in well, pile into trough, cover with
1/2 inch salt. Any liquor collected should be poured over meat. After 10
days, repeat rubbing and pile in trough as before. After another 10 days,
remove hams, brush off salt. wash rind with warm water. Put in muslin bags
& hang in cool dry place.

Roxburghshire cure
Take 3/4 lb brown sugar, 1/2 oz black pepper and mix in a basin. Sprinkle
over hams. Put a layer of salt in the pickling vessel, and rub salt well
into ham skin. salt the fleshy parts generously. Push salt well into places
where bones have been removed, and into the shank end. Place hams in vessel
and cover with cloth. After 12 days remove hams, clean out vessel and
repeat. Sides of bacon take about 3 weeks, hams 5. brush off salt & hang in
cool dry place. ( This should be done in hogshead quantities. YMMV.)
Suffolk sweet cure for bacon & hams
2 pts beer
1 lb gran. sugar
1 lb bay salt
1/2 oz peppercorns
2 pts vinegar
1/2 oz saltpeter
1 lb cooking salt
1/2 oz cloves
Boil together. Take 2 oz hops & boil in 2 pts water for 30 mins. Strain
into the liquor above. Cool & pour over meat. Bale liquid over meat each
day . Thin parts take 3 weeks, Hams & thicker bacon 5 weeks.

Suffolk treacle cure
Salt meat. Leave 3 days. On second day make pickle. Take 4 gal water, 8 lbs
black treacle, 2 bars cooking salt, 4 lbs brown sugar & 2 oz black pepper.
Bring to boil. Simmer 20 min. Cool. Take meat out of vessel & drain. Cover
meat with pickle. 20 lb hams require 1 month. Turn every other day, hang to
dry slowly in cool dry place. Ready to eat after 1 month to 6 weeks. Will
keep up to a year.
Sweet pickled pork
1 small leg or hand of pork
3 oz coarse salt
3 oz bay salt
1/4 oz saltpeter
1/2 pt ale
1/2 pt stout
Rub with coarse salt & place in crock. Pound fine 3 oz coarse salt 3 oz bay
salt, 1/2 oz saltpeter & mix.
Put into saucepan with ale & stout. Boil, stirring. Pour boiling hot over
pork. Turn pork over in pickle every day for 14 days. It is then ready to
cook, either boil or bake.

Aberdeenshire cure (1)
For 2 hams:
2 lb salt
2 oz pepper
2 oz mustard
2 oz saltpeter
3 lbs treacle
Mix dry ingredients & rub over hams. . pour over treacle, turn & rub each
day for 5 weeks. After 2 weeks, liquid smoke can be added if required.

Aberdeenshire cure (2)
2 lbs bay salt
2 oz saltpeter
2 lbs brown sugar
1 oz cloves
1 ox pimento
4 lbs common salt
2 oz salt prunella
1 oz whole pepper ( B&W)
1 pt stout
Make a pickle of the above with water. ( it should be strong enough to
float an egg). bring to boil & strain.
When completely cold, pour over the hams. leave 14 days & hang to dry.
Wiltshire cure
Mix together 1 1/2 lbs cooking salt, 4 oz saltpeter, 2 oz sale prunella,
1/2 oz juniper berries, 2 lbs treacle, 1/2 lb bay salt, 1 oz black pepper,
2 qts beer. Boil together, cool slightly & pour over ham, which has been
sprinkled with cooking salt, left 12 hours and wiped dry. Turn & rub pickle
in each day for 1 month. Dry well before storing.
To pickle 2 sides of bacon in 3 weeks:
Mix together 5 lb cooking salt, 8 oz bay salt, 2 oz salt prunella, 4 oz
saltpeter, 2 lb brown sugar.
First day, sprinkle bacon with cooking salt. Day 2 wipe dry, rub well with
pickle. Day 3 leave. Day 4 rub with pickle. Day 5 & 6. leave. Day & rub
with pickle. for 2 weeks, rub with pickle every third day.

Yorkshire cure
For a 25 stone pig:
3 bars salt, 1/2 lb saltpeter, 1 lb demerara sugar. lay pig skin up on
slab. Rub shoulders & hams well with salt. Leave 1 day. Next day cover slab
with salt & lay pig on it skin side down. rub salt in well & cover with
salt. Sprinkle with saltpeter & sugar leave 3-4 weeks. take out of salt,
wash well with cold water. Hang up to dry in well ventilated dark room.

JUSTORUM SEMITA LUX SPLENDENS. the path of the just is a shining light

1 comment:

  1. Is "Prunella" what in North America is known as "Prague powder #1", a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite, or is it 100% sodium nitrate