Fresh/green Ham?



TVWBB Gold Member
I've got a fairly large (18-20 lbs.) fresh/green ham from one of my coworkers (semi-heritage breed, don't recall which.) At the moment, it's hard frozen in the deep freeze. In 2 weeks, we're having an office potluck/smorgasbord. My intent is to smoke the day before, although (from another post,) it might make sense to smoke it earlier, cool it down, and warm it back up for service in a slow cooker (I have a fairly large one.) That'd also give me a little flexibility to work around weather.


1) Cured or uncured? While I've got injectors & such, it's at -23 F, and will take a couple of days to fully thaw. I'd only plan on 7-9 days of cure time. Is that enough for a large ham, even with injections? I'd also have to go chasing down the nitrates/nitrites for a cure over the weekend (I should be able to find those.) If I decide to cure it, I really need to get it out of the freezer in the next day or so.

2) Smoking.... I've been reading in various parts of the 'net to treat it like a butt, 225-250 degrees. Most suggest 155-165 degrees internal, a couple say up to 190ish (that sounds a little high, this should be leaner than a butt.)

Suggestion? Comments? No, I'm not going to ship.....
I posted in the other forum, but I left out a few things. You have to cure it, or it won't taste like ham. And since I live in kind of the general area as you, you might have trouble finding pink salt in B&M stores, I settled with ordering mine online. You might have some luck finding Tenderquick though
I'm not necessarily fixed on it tasting like "ham" and I'm fine with a lean smoked meat. Loves me the simple taste of just well smoked pork. Then again.....cured ham is good as well. I did just dig out my marinade injection set, so I'm set there.

I figured that some of the better stocked grocery stores (shoot, maybe even my local one, I've seen sausage cures in it, gotta love small town rural America) or Cabela's should have the cures on the shelf. If I have to go mail order, that's game over for this one. Might go runnin' around a little tomorrow assuming the weather isn't too unpleasant.
He shoots, he scores.

While the grocery stores are stocked with sausage casings and a few cures, they're all sausage, jerky & the like. Same with the first butcher shop. I ended up at the butcher shop I usually pick up a few cuts at (okay, a local chain,) which had 4 oz. packages of #1 cure on the shelf.

Plan is for a fairly simple cure, 10% pump (7-9 days in a 34-35 F refrigerator,) with some brown sugar and a few pepper corns. I'll make 3 gallons of the cure today, take the ham out of the deep freeze, and immerse the [skin-on] ham in the cure to hasten the thaw. Monday night, I'll remove the skin & most of the fat cap, inject 2 lbs. of the cure, and return it to the refrigerator until probably Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. Remove the ham from the cure, pat dry, and return to the fridge on a rack to air dry a bit. Smoke early on Thursday, cool, slice, refrigerate over night, and warm up in a slow cooker. Depending on weather, I may have to smoke a day or 2 early.
And about 28 hours after I immersed the frozen ham in a room temperature brine.... it's still frozen, and the brine is at 30 degrees F. Bumped up the temp in the fridge, see how it is tomorrow night.
Time to close the loop

The ham turned out very well. Cured nicely all the way to the bone.

Comments ranged from "this is really good" to "I'm not going to ever be able to eat ham again without thinking of this one."


(yes, I did trim around that spot next to the bone. If I won't eat it, I ain't serving it.)

Thanks for all of the advice. Yes, I WILL do this again.
Ham looks soooo... good!!! The next time you do one, would you start again with frozen or thawed ??? And would you inject around the bone??
I started with a 19 lb. deep frozen ham. That will take a good 3-4 days to thaw in the fridge. Yes, you do need to inject all the way to the bone. If you don't, you'll end up with "bone sour", basically uncured meat that's starting to turn (not good eats.) A buddy of mine worked in a meat market in high school that did it's own curing. He said that the blood spot is very common in bone-in hams, and that they'd just trim around it.