If you're looking for something to spice up your holiday meal next week, try brining and smoking your Christmas ham.
Brining is an age-old process of food preservation. During the process, meat is soaked in a salt solution with a variety of herbs and spices. Although the process of brining takes a few days, it is well worth it.
See how to not only brine your ham, but smoke it afterwards, courtesy of eHow:
Things you'll need:
Salt, sugar, cure, spices you plan on using, a stock pot, container, bowl, meat thermometer, smoker, wood, pan and liquid
- Mix 1 gallon of brine per every 10 lbs of ham. For 1 gallon of brine, pour 1 gallon of water, 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 cup picking salt in a stock pot and heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved. The addition of a prepackaged cure is recommended for a traditional pink color. Mustard seed, clove and other traditional pickling spices are optional.
- Cool the brine to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the ham in a plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid and pour the brine over it. Close the lid.
- Refrigerate the ham for 2 to 5 days, according to your taste preferences. The longer the ham remains in the brine, the saltier it will be. Smaller hams will require shorter brining times. Monitor the temperature of the ham while it is brining and keep it between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the ham from the brine and rinse it in lukewarm water. Place the ham in a bowl of 170-degree water until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the ham has warm, it is ready to cook.