Homemade Ham

To go with our homemade pickles and homemade sourdough bread, we decided we needed a homemade ham.

We also decided that we didn’t want to run out of ham on xmas eve, as is normally the case. So instead of ordering in grams, we got ourselves a 3kg smokes gammon from the The Butchery in Forest Hill.

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We wanted to try this Coca-Cola ham we’ve heard about. Of course other colas are available, as this generic cola ham from BBC Good Food points out.

We also checked out Serious Eats, which led us down the city vs country hams wormhole. Apparently city hams are brined then baked, while country hams get a dry rub before being hung to mature. We don’t have time to hang meat for months, so city ham it will have to be. Plus of course city always beats country :P

However… the Serious Eats recipes, like the BBC Good Food one, don’t actually brine, then just skip straight to roasting, or boil for an hour or so before roasting.

If America’s Test Kitchen has taught me anything, it’s that you have to brine meat to bring out the best in it. And true enough, the ATK recipe brines overnight before cooking. So that’s what we’re going with.

First step is to score the skin and fat. This is harder than we thought. Getting through the skin is hard, but then you’re suddenly into the fat and before you know it you’ve cut into the meat.

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Then step: pop to the local shop to buy a bowl big enough to brine our 3kg gammon! And to pick up an extra large disposable roasting tray, as neither of us wants to wash up a roasting tray after it’s had Coke roasting in it! Oh and of course seven litres of Coke, which isn’t something we have lying around!

So, Coke in the bowl, then add salt… and PANIC! The recipe doesn’t mention that salt sets Coke all a-fizz…

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Thankfully that’s as high as it got, so we could proceed to add loads of garlic, bay and peppercorns. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then it’s into our American-sized fridge to brine overnight.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Next day after rinsing and drying it’s already looking a bit cured.

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While this stands for an hour we make up the glaze and dry rub, which is basically a sage & parsley pesto.

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The recipe calls for the oven at 500 deg F, which is 260C or 240C fan… which is 10C over our 230C maximum! So we’re putting on the top oven as well as the main oven to maximum in an attempt to overheat the oven.

The rub goes all over.

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Then it’s into the hot oven for 20 minutes before coming down to 160C fan for 25 minutes before getting its first basting the glaze.

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The glazing gets repeated every 45 minutes until the internal temperature registers 63C-66C, about 3 hours total.

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It then comes out and gets tented for 30 minutes, during which time the internal temperature should rise to 68C-71C.

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After that you can serve warm, but we’re going to let cool and then try and find some space in the fridge for it… That won’t be easy as there’re two loaves and one batch of croissant dough already in there, on top of all the xmas cheeses and veg!

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