Ham is a beloved meat that has been enjoyed for centuries. One type of ham that has gained popularity in recent years is Toupie Ham.
But have you ever wondered how this delicious meat is made?
In this article, we will explore the process of making Toupie Ham, from the high-quality pork legs used to the curing and smoking process that gives it its distinctive flavor.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Toupie Ham!
How Is Toupie Ham Made?
Toupie Ham is made from high-quality pork legs that are carefully selected for their meat. The whole leg of the ham is used, usually deboned and precooked. The name “toupie” comes from the French term for a spinning top, which is a toy shaped like a ham.
After the pork legs are selected, they go through a curing process. This involves adding a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings to the meat to enhance its flavor and preserve it. The meat is then left to cure for several days to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Once the curing process is complete, the meat is smoked to give it its distinctive taste. The smoking process involves exposing the meat to smoke from burning wood chips or sawdust. This gives the Toupie Ham its smoky flavor and aroma.
After smoking, the Toupie Ham is roasted for an additional hour with a delicious citrus coating. This extra cooking time will crisp the outside of the ham while keeping the inside moist. Some recipes even call for pineapple flavors to be incorporated into the Toupie Ham by placing red grapes in the center of the pineapple ring instead of black cherries.
The Selection Of Pork Legs For Toupie Ham
When it comes to making Toupie Ham, the selection of pork legs is crucial. The pork legs used for Toupie Ham must be of high quality and carefully selected for their meat. The whole leg of the ham is used, usually deboned and precooked.
The type of hog used for Toupie Ham is important as well. The hog should be well-fed and healthy to ensure the best quality meat. The hind leg of the hog is the preferred cut for Toupie Ham, as it has the perfect balance of meat and fat.
The curing process is also a critical step in making Toupie Ham. The meat is cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings to enhance its flavor and preserve it. The curing process can take several days to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
After curing, the meat is smoked to give it its distinctive taste. The smoking process involves exposing the meat to smoke from burning wood chips or sawdust. This gives the Toupie Ham its smoky flavor and aroma.
The Brining Process For Toupie Ham
The brining process is an essential step in making Toupie Ham. Brining helps to enhance the flavor of the meat while also keeping it moist and tender. To make the brine, a mixture of kosher salt, pink salt, brown sugar, pickling spices, and molasses is added to a large air-tight food-grade container. The container should be big enough to accommodate all the pork legs.
Next, one gallon of boiling water is poured over the ingredients in the container, and the mixture is thoroughly mixed to dissolve all the ingredients. This creates a wet cure. Then, three more gallons of water are added to cool down the mixture, and the brine is ready.
The pork legs are then cut into equal chunks and immersed in the brine to ensure both chunks are completely submerged. If you choose to keep the skin, score it to allow the brine to soak evenly into the meat. A Ziploc bag containing water can be placed on top of the meat to keep it submerged in the brine throughout the brining time.
The container is then covered and placed in the refrigerator for 3 1/2 days. After two days, you can turn over the chunks and disturb the brine (this is optional). After 3 1/2 days, remove the container and take out the pork legs. Discard the wet cure and rinse your brined pork legs thoroughly under running water.
To remove as much salt as possible, submerge the chunks in a container filled with fresh water and let them sit for 15 minutes. For less salty flavor, let them soak in this rinse for 24 hours. After rinsing to your liking, place the wet cured pork legs on drying racks or on blotting papers and blot away as much water as possible with paper towels. Leave them to settle and dry further until they form a sticky film called a pellicle. The pellicle will form a nice golden glaze as the Toupie Ham smokes or bakes.
The Smoking Process For Toupie Ham
To smoke a Toupie Ham, you will need to preheat your smoker to a temperature of 225°F. If the ham is fully cooked, it will only need to be smoked for one hour. However, if the ham is uncooked and has been brined and prepared, expect to smoke it for up to 7 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
To keep the ham moist during the smoking process, brush the entire surface of the ham with pineapple juice every 30 minutes. Plan for about 20 minutes per pound for a typical half or whole Toupie Ham to reach an internal temperature of 140°F. For spiral cut hams, judge 15 minutes per pound.
Before smoking the Toupie Ham, mix together a spice mixture of pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, dry mustard, and cayenne. Rub this mixture over the surface of the ham and wrap it in foil. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to soak in.
When ready to smoke, remove the ham from the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour. Prepare a basting sauce by mixing together chicken stock, pineapple juice, vegetable oil, dry mustard, and cloves. Warm the basting sauce over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Score the ham with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern about 1/4-inch deep. Tent the scored ham with foil to prevent it from drying out and place it in the smoker. Brush the ham with the basting sauce once every hour and cover it with foil between bastings.
In the last hour of smoking, prepare a glaze by mixing together honey, pineapple juice, dry mustard, and a pinch of ground cloves. Brush the ham generously with the glaze a couple of times during this last hour of smoking and cover it with foil to prevent drying out.
Finally, remove the Toupie Ham from the smoker and open up the foil. Drain off any excess cooking liquid and set it aside for serving. Turn the ham over onto its side and brush liberally with brown sugar honey glaze. Place the glazed ham into your oven on High broil for 2-3 minutes or until the glaze is bubbling and caramelized. Serve immediately with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Slicing And Serving Toupie Ham
Slicing and serving Toupie Ham is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps. Before slicing the ham, it is important to let it rest for at least 15 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures that the ham remains moist and tender.
To slice the Toupie Ham, use a sharp carving knife and cut thin slices against the grain of the meat. This will help to ensure that the ham is tender and easy to eat. If you prefer thicker slices, simply cut them to your desired thickness.
When serving Toupie Ham, it is important to keep it warm until it is ready to be eaten. You can do this by placing it on a platter and covering it with foil to keep it warm. Alternatively, you can serve it straight from the oven or slow cooker.
Toupie Ham is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is perfect for enhancing sandwiches, pasta bakes, omelettes, or served as a center of plate ham steak. It can also be served cold or reheated using various methods such as baking in the oven or using a slow cooker.
To add extra flavor and texture to your Toupie Ham, you can also add a glaze. There are many different glaze recipes available, from simple maple syrup to more complex mixtures of sugars and seasonings. The glaze should be added during the last 20-30 minutes of heating time so that it does not burn.