Help Me Cure a Ham from Scratch!

Good Questions

Q: I'm planning on making a ham for Christmas...from scratch the way my Jamaican grandfather used to. I've done a bit of research online and most places recommend curing it with "pink salt" (aka: Prague Powder or Cure #1)

I recently moved from Brooklyn to Reno and spent a full day running around trying to find Cure #1. Finally, a butcher sold me about 1/3 lb of it.. except, its not pink. All of the sources I've read have said that Cure #1 = Pink and Cure #2 is White. The butcher said that he uses this white cure to do his hams, but I'm concerned because this is my first venture and I'm hoping not to poison the in-laws :(

Does anyone have any tips or guidance for me? Help, please!

Sent by Toni

Editor: Toni, we have very little experience (read: none!) with curing meat ourselves, but your experiment sounds both fascinating and delicious! Here is a little more information about the curing process that might help answer some questions:

Food Science: How Meat is Cured
Good, Bad, and Ugly: Nitrates and Their Role in Preserving Meat
How to Cure Corned Beef

Readers, do any of you have experience with curing meat?

Related: Flavor Boosters: Ham Hocks

(Image: Martha Stewart)

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