Are you tired of the same old venison recipes? Why not try something new and preserve your deer meat as a delicious salt-cured ham?
This homesteading skill may seem daunting, but with a little patience and the right ingredients, you can create a mouth-watering breakfast ham that will have your taste buds singing.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of salt-curing a deer ham, from selecting the right cut to curing and cooking.
So, grab your apron and let’s get started on this wild culinary adventure!
How To Salt Cure A Deer Ham?
Step 1: Selecting the Right Cut
To make a salt-cured deer ham, you’ll need to start with the right cut of meat. Look for a smaller section of the entire ham, which starts with three distinct sections. This will be dedicated to making breakfast ham.
Step 2: Mixing the Cure
For our salt-cured deer hams, we used Tender Quick and sugar. For the first batch, we used 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick per pound of deer meat, mixed with half that amount of sugar. For the next batch, we upped that to 2 tablespoons of Tender Quick per pound, again mixed with half that amount of sugar.
Step 3: Curing the Ham
After mixing the cure, it’s time to cure the ham in the fridge for at least two weeks. It’s important not to let the ham rest in its own juices during this step. Skewer the ham using two metal grilling skewers running parallel through the ham, then add two more at a 90-degree angle. Set the ham in a medium-size mixing bowl, resting the skewers on the bowl’s edge so that the ham is suspended over the bowl but not touching the bottom or sides.
Step 4: Cooking and Enjoying
After letting the ham cure for two weeks, it’s ready to eat! The salt-cure coating will have turned the ham a darker shade of red about halfway through the meat. Simply slice it, pan-fry like country ham, and enjoy!
Selecting The Right Cut Of Deer Ham
When it comes to selecting the right cut of deer ham for salt curing, it’s important to choose a smaller section of the entire ham that is dedicated to making breakfast ham. This section should start with three distinct sections, and you should avoid choosing a larger section of the ham as it may not cure evenly.
One of the best cuts for salt curing is the hind leg or back leg of the deer, which is often used for making prosciutto or other cured meats. However, other cuts such as the top round or loin can also be used for salt curing, depending on your preference.
It’s important to note that the age of the deer can also affect the quality of the meat and how it cures. Younger deer are often better for hot and fast cooking methods, while older deer are better suited for low-and-slow cooking methods like salt curing.
Once you have selected the right cut of deer ham, you can proceed with mixing the cure and curing the meat in the fridge for at least two weeks. The end result will be a delicious and flavorful salt-cured deer ham that can be sliced and pan-fried like country ham.
Preparing The Curing Mixture
Before you start curing your deer ham, you’ll need to prepare the curing mixture. For this recipe, we’ll be using Tender Quick and sugar. Tender Quick is a curing salt made up of a combination of salt, sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite. It’s important to note that a little goes a long way with this ingredient, so be sure to follow the recommended usage amounts.
To make the curing mixture, mix 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick per pound of deer meat, along with half that amount of sugar. For example, if you have a 3-pound deer ham, you’ll need 3 tablespoons of Tender Quick and 1.5 tablespoons of sugar.
Mix the curing mixture together until the sugar and Tender Quick are evenly distributed. You can adjust the amount of sugar and Tender Quick based on your personal taste preferences, but be sure not to exceed the recommended usage amounts.
Once you’ve mixed your curing mixture, you’re ready to move on to the next step of the curing process – actually curing the ham.
Applying The Cure To The Deer Ham
Now that you have the right cut of meat and the cure mixed, it’s time to apply the cure to the deer ham.
1. Place the venison in a non-metallic bowl and follow the instructions included with the Hi Mountain Buckboard Bacon Cure Kit. Weigh your venison to determine exactly how much cure is required.
2. Apply the cure to the venison, making sure it’s completely covered.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 12 days. Turn the roast over after 6 days.
4. After the brining process is complete, rinse all the cure off the venison. Immerse the venison in a water bath for 2 hours to remove any excess saltiness from the meat.
5. Rinse the venison one more time to make sure the last bit of cure has been removed. Pat the venison dry and let stand at room temperature while you heat your pellet grill or smoker to 180F degrees.
6. Mix together the brown sugar and maple syrup in a bowl. It will be a thick liquid mix that will be used to glaze the ham during the smoking process.
7. Once the temperature of 180F has been reached, place the venison on the grill. Apply the glaze every 30 minutes. Make sure to turn the ham a couple times during the smoking process so you can cover the entire ham with glaze.
8. Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 145F degrees, then remove it from smoker.
9. Let your venison ham rest at least 30 min before slicing. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal cooking temperature has reached 145F.
By following these steps, you’ll have a delicious salt-cured deer ham that’s perfect for breakfast or any meal of your choice!
Curing The Deer Ham
Curing the deer ham is an important step in the process of making a salt-cured deer ham. To cure the ham, you will need to follow the steps carefully to ensure that it is properly cured and ready to eat.
The first step in curing the deer ham is to mix the cure. For our salt-cured deer hams, we used Tender Quick and sugar. We recommend using 2 tablespoons of Tender Quick per pound of deer meat, mixed with half that amount of sugar. Mix the cure well and set it aside.
Next, place the deer ham in a non-metallic bowl and apply the cure mixture to it, making sure it’s completely covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for 12 days. Turn the roast over after 6 days to ensure that it’s evenly cured.
After the brining process is complete, rinse all the cure off the venison. Immerse the venison in a water bath for 2 hours. Rinse the venison one more time to make sure all of the cure has been removed. Pat the venison dry and let it stand at room temperature while you heat your pellet grill or smoker to 180F degrees.
Once your smoker or grill has reached 180F degrees, place the venison on the grill and apply a glaze made from brown sugar and maple syrup every 30 minutes. Make sure to turn the ham a couple of times during the smoking process so you can cover the entire ham with glaze. Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 145F degrees, then remove it from smoker.
Finally, let your venison ham rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the internal cooking temperature has reached 145F degrees. Once it’s ready, slice it up and enjoy your delicious salt-cured deer ham!
Preparing The Salt-Cured Deer Ham For Cooking
Once your salt-cured deer ham is ready, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Soak the Ham
Since salt-cured deer hams are typically saltier than other products, they benefit from soaking in water before cooking. Soak the ham for 1-12 hours in the refrigerator, changing the water every few hours.
Step 2: Remove Excess Salt
After soaking, remove the ham from the water and pat it dry with a clean towel. Use a clean brush or rag to rub off any excess salt that may still be on the surface.
Step 3: Cooking the Ham
There are several ways to cook a salt-cured deer ham, including smoking, baking, or pan-frying. Whichever method you choose, make sure to cook the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Slicing and Serving
Once cooked, let the ham cool for a few minutes before slicing it thinly. Salt-cured deer ham has a concentrated flavor, so a little goes a long way. Serve it as a main dish or use it as a flavorful addition to soups and stews.
By following these simple steps, you can turn your salt-cured deer ham into a delicious and savory meal that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
Cooking And Serving The Salt-Cured Deer Ham
Once your salt-cured deer ham has been prepared, it’s time to cook and serve it. Here’s how:
Step 1: Rinse and Pat Dry
Before cooking, rinse the ham thoroughly to remove any excess salt. Pat it dry with paper towels.
Step 2: Smoking the Ham (Optional)
If you prefer a smoky flavor, you can smoke the ham before cooking it. Place the ham on the rack of your smoker and smoke at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 to 8 hours until the center of the ham registers 150 degrees Fahrenheit on your thermometer.
Step 3: Baking the Ham
To bake the whole ham, place it in a roasting pan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Slicing and Serving
Once cooked, remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly and serve with your favorite sides such as mashed potatoes, green beans, or cornbread.
Salt-curing a deer ham is a time-consuming process that requires patience and attention to detail. However, the end result is a delicious and flavorful ham that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whether you choose to smoke or bake your ham, it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends.