The Transition of Westphalian Hams

A very old American recipe book gives the recipe for Westphalian Ham as follows.  The process is dry curing.

Pork – 100
Salt – 4
Water or Ice – 20
Na or K Nitrate – 1

Hams Rubbed with salt and saltpeter.
Place in vat.
Cure, 4 weeks.
Air dry, 4 days.
Smoke with dry wood and juniper.

I found a great variation on this from Greg Gunthorp from Gunthorp Farms who posted his recipe on The Salt Curing Pig.

Prepare brine:  salt, brown sugar, and cure. Close to 2% of each and close to 200 ppm of nitrites.

Trim:  Removed the aitch and femur and shank bone.

Three excellent videos about boning the leg.

Greg does not remove the femur, but I suggest we remove the bones, form it in a mould and tie it back together with TG.  Back to Greg’s recipe.

  • Inject.
  • Vacuum tumbled,  for 8 hours at a very slow spin. (~2 rpm?)
    Cured for 10 days in a curing container in cover brine for at 4 degrees C.  Notice that the old Westphalia Ham recipe calls for 4 weeks curing.
  • I will personally do another 15 minutes in a paddle mixer at a very low speed – no vacuum, meat temperatures < 5 deg C.
  • Dry:  Nett and hang on for two days prior to smoking.  I will also do the netting tighter than Greg.  The Westfalia recipe calls for four days drying.
  • Smok light and intermittently for 20 hours (7 days) over hickory and apple coals.
  • After smoking, I also suggest a maturing stage for 7 days following smoking.

Greg insists that the taste is not overly smoky.

Greg's Hams.jpg
Photo from Greg.  The hams look delicious!