We made ham again. You can check out the first ham report here, which involves the ham we brined for our Easter dinner. That ham was good enough, for ham-deprived individuals like ourselves, but we thought we could do better.
Two weeks ago, it was decided that we would butcher two hogs on the same day. While Rachel and I knew that a butchering was in the offing before long, we didn’t find out it would happen on that particular day until that particular day. The announcement of the immediate double-butchering event found both of us sickly with a cold/flu thing, the kitchen a mess, with the kitchen table literally sitting upside-down, legs in the air, and the freezer all disorganized and looking like no way was there room for adding in the meat of two largish hogs!
Of course, as always, we managed to overcome adversity (why we deserve quite so many opportunities to overcome adversity, I’ve never figured out) and we got the job done. We pulled lots of food out of the freezer and put it into coolers. We even found a few items that, frugal as we are, we couldn’t condone putting back into the freezer. Anyway, we pulled out those three chunks of leg meat remaining from the previous hog butchering, and decided to go ahead and let them thaw out, brine them, and bake them up into hams. Then we could freeze up cooked ham meat for lots of future dinners! Obviously we didn’t have time to deal with them on the same day as butchering, but they needed to thaw for a few days anyway, so that worked out fine, and also opened up some prime freezer space!
After the meat was thawed, which took a few days, we mixed up the brine and set it to soak. Rachel made some additions to the solution, to improve the flavor from last time. We didn’t have room for three hams in the fridge, so we set this all up in a 5 gallon bucket, and then had to remember to keep freezing soda bottles full of water, and switching ice bottles in and out of the bucket to keep the meat cold. For a week.
* A note for people who know terms: the word “ham” officially refers to the meat of the upper back leg of a hog. We made brined hams and brined pork shoulders (from the front legs). In my non-butchering suburban past, I learned to use the word “ham” to mean a delectable salty sweet meat made from pork, with no regard for what part of the animal was used. In this post I used the word “ham” as I did in my childhood, to mean salty sweet pork meat. I wanted you to know that I do know the correct usage. I just don’t care enough to make myself use the word correctly right now. LOL