My first venison ham...



New member
Today, I completed the cook for my first venison ham ever. (Don't ask me why I decided to do this -- it just seemed like it was high time to attempt it!)

When I took my deer to the processor last fall, I asked that they keep one hindquarter whole and with the bone in, so that I could try a venison ham. Once we got past Easter, I decided it was time to start playing with that hindquarter. The doe I harvested wasn't a huge honking mama, but she wasn't tiny, either. After doing a bit of research, I went with the following brine recipe:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1.5 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp pink curing salt
  • 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1tbsp juniper berries
  • 3 bay leaves

I put this in a 2.5 gallon zippy bag, and put it into the fridge for 11 days. The brine filled the bag nearly to the top, so I didn't really turn it over every day, but I checked on it every day or so, and shifted it in the Cambro that I'd placed the zippy bag into.

After 11 days, I pulled the venison out of the bag, dried it off, and put it back into the fridge to form a pellicle.

The next morning, I pulled it out and took a look at it. There was still a bit of fat and silverskin on it, so I trimmed it off. (In retrospect, I should have done that the night before, so I could get a better pellicle. Still, things turned out ok, so...)

This morning, I put it on my Weber Smokey Mountain. I used apple wood chunks, and tried my best to keep the lid thermometer at 200.

In my "YouTube research", I found quite a bit of conflicting advice. Final temp instructions ranged from 150 to 180 or more. To my mind, "well done" venison is shoe leather, so I was a little worried. Another poster here at TWVBB noted that a smoked venison roast he made, and cooked to 140-ish, was chewy. So, I decided to roll the dice and try for 150.

By five hours, I was holding at 145, and not moving. I was concerned that I'd hit a stall. I managed to stay patient, and got up to around 147 or so in 5.5 hours. I pulled it at that point, and loosely tented it with foil.

Having some family obligations, I turned to making dinner for my folks. I absolutely can not tell you the amount of self-control it took to not dig in to the ham! It filled the kitchen with siren-song-level aromas! But, I cooked dinner, took it to my folks, and came back a couple hours later.

The ham had cooled down completely. I started to cut into it, and realized that I could still distinguish the various seams of the muscle groups, so I cut the ham down along those lines. (OK... I also sneaked a bite or two, while I was cutting...!)

Wow! WOW! How have I never made this before?!? I'm soaking some northern white beans tonight, so that I can take that femur bone and make some amazing soup tomorrow. The meat itself, I'm gonna slice or chunk, and I can't wait to share it with hunting-friendly family and friends.

I'm **DEFINITELY** going to do this again, this fall. This recipe was a massive win!

BTW -- my initial attempt to upload photos didn't work on my Chromebook. I'm gonna try again on my PC. Hopefully, I'll have the whole series of photos up on the site, soon!
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Larry, you got me on all fronts there. I like venison, ham, and white bean and ham soup. I would definitely like to see the pics when you get it figured out.
I figured it out! (I think...)



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