• Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    My wife bought me a ham press for some reason but I appreciate the thought … anyways, I have never made a ham of any sorts never mind a formed/pressed ham but have done a little bit of research…cube lean pork, add salt and cure, pack into press, refrigerate then cook…my question is, I think I want to use Country Brown Sugar Cure with California Ham Spice and all of the information tells me to use it in a wet brine but can I use both of them together as a dry brine, mix with the lean pork, put in the ham pressed, let cure 24-48 hours and then cook…if so, what amounts of each should I use per KG/Pound of meat…any other tips or tricks are most welcome…thanks in advance for your guidance

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Mcjagger hey that will be a cool project!
    It is pretty complicated compared to just making a ham from a loin, Canadian bacon, so you might want to do the easier basic one first for experience.

    Marianski covers this in depth in 3 chapters on formed and pressed meat products, starting on page 696 in his book Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages.

    Short answer is, don’t use those spice mixes. Recommend buying that book if still need info. Basically make a clean cure with just salt, sugar, phosphate, cure1, tumble, add some vitamin c, tumble an hour or more. Into bag, into press, press and form. Rest to cure for days as needed. Cook hot water to 161f. Spice/honey coat and bake or smoke as desired.

    I did something like this making a formed dried beef, here are the tips I’d give:

    1. the key is that you have to tumble the chunks aggressively with the salt and cure1, to get protein to extract from surface of the chunks. This exudate will form the “meat glue” that holds it all together and lets you get one formed ham at end instead of falling apart. Apparently phosphates really help make the glue, I didn’t have any at time so just tumbled. I used my kitchenaid to tumble meat chunks, almost-froze, tumbled etc., I think 3 times for 15 min each.
    2. If you use a bunch of spices besides salt, sugar, cure1, and let them get between chunks, they won’t absorb or diffuse into meat, leaving visible lines, and keeping the pieces from gluing together. I wouldn’t use anything but salt, sugar, phosphate if you use it, and cure1 when tumbling and forming in the press.
    3. Usually you stuff a cook-in bag loosely with the meat, like a vacuum seal bag, seal it, stuff it into the press so it takes the shape of press. Put on top, press it into shape–HARD! has to be pressed hard together to glue together, hence the ham press. Put whole thing into 180 to 200f water, cook to internal temp of 161. Best color is achieved at 161f.
    4. The tumbling of meat tends to lighten color. Adding vitamin c to it will increase color, speed up cure of meat as it is a cure accelerator. You need to leave meat long enough that all chunks are cured with the salt and cure1 before cooking. Depending on chunk size, length if tumbling, and if you injected it or not, that can be 1 to 5 days. Commercial guys inject and tumble overnight in vacuum tumblers for full cure.
    5. You cant smoke the ham before cooking, or add all those spices. Once formed and cooked, you COULD coat cool ham with desired spices and smoke it a bit.

    Here is an excerpt from Marianski for you as a reference:
    The process for making formed products looks easy but there is more to it. First of all the individual meat cuts must stick together and when cooked, retain the shape of the mold without having any holes inside. This is accomplished by producing sticky exudate on the surface of meat pieces. Think of it as glue that binds the individual meat cuts together upon heating. The exudate is formed when the muscle’s cell structure is disrupted which releases protein called myosin. The disrupting of the muscle structure is accomplished by a physical action such as cutting or mechanically working meat pieces inside of the tumbler. For making formed meat products fine cutting or grinding is out of the question and massaging or tumbling is the preferred method. Using mechanical action by itself will tenderize meat but will not produce enough exudate. To release more proteins salt and phosphates are injected to meat prior to tumbling. If a final product will consist of a few individual muscles the following must be observed: There must not be any fat on surfaces which are in contact with each other. All membranes or silver skin must be removed from each muscle or at least cut with a knife. If those rules are not followed the final product will exhibit holes and will not hold its shape when sliced.

    Curing. It is expected that adding about 3% of salt results in optimal protein extraction. Salt makes the cells swell and some proteins are released and a solution (exudate) of water, salt and protein is created. In order to produce even more exudate, more proteins must be released which is accomplished by adding 0.3-0.5% phosphates. Phosphates, although much more effective than salt in protein extraction, their effectiveness hugely increases when they are combined with salt. Meats are pumped with solution containing salt, phosphates nitrite and color enhancer. If the meat is pumped with over 25% of the green weight (original) the meat protein solution will be weaker and the binding strength will decrease. There is a limit to how much water can be held by phosphates and the excess will be lost during cooking. Color. Sodium nitrite is always added which results in a red color, better flavor and longer shelf life. Although sodium nitrite works with meat through chemical reactions, the time that is dedicated for making whole muscle formed meat products is still not sufficient for obtaining a strong color. It has been observed that after tumbling meat becomes paler, most likely due to oxygen reacting with meat structure during mechanical action. This effect is largely decreased when a vacuum tumbler is employed as there is no air to react with meat. Foaming of the exudate on the surface of meat is also eliminated. Although holding meats for a few hours at room temperature will definitely help with curing color, such a procedure can not be employed in commercial production as it leads to the growth of bacteria and subsequently to a decreased shelf life of the product. To make up for insufficient curing time ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is added to the curing solution. Ascorbic acid forces sodium nitrite into producing more nitric oxide, which in turn reacts with myoglobin which is always present, although in different amounts in meat. This results in a strong red color which will be permanently secured by cooking. Tumbling. The most efficient protein extraction is obtained at 36-38° F (2-4° C) working temperature. Boiled hams exhibit smaller weight loss than the baked ones. On the other hand baked hams look nicer due to the shiny and glazed surface which is due to the coating of brown sugar, honey or other ingredients. Experienced sausage makers swear by the fact that hams should be inserted into boiling water and kept at the boiling point for the first 10-15 minutes. Then the temperature should be lowered to 80° C (176° F) and remain at that level until the ham is fully cooked. The explanation is that the proteins in the outside area will be immediately cooked which leads to the development of a hardened surface. This in turn will prevent meat juices from migrating into water and the finished product will be juicier.

  • Power User Veteran Michigan

    Dave in AZ that is quite the process. I’m glad I recently bought this book. It is a great read. Very interesting and an awesome teaching tool. The information is easy to understand even when covering complex processes. I also highly recommend getting it.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Mcjagger Ok Mc I have not done this at home but have been wanting to. I have made literally tons of turkey ham which is formed pressed ham of thigh meat. The meat is cubed/diced, seasoned, and mixed to the point where it forms the meat glue that Dave speaks of. We mixed the meat for ham more than we did the sausage, a lot more to extract the glue. This is where the salt content is important because it is what brings out the myosin. A low and slow cook schedule is critical along with phosphate to have a juicy product. This is the recipe that I have worked up.

    California Ham spice
    1.7g/lbs meat
    8.5g/5lbs
    2% salt
    1% sugar
    Phosphate
    2.2g/lb or 11.3g/5lbs
    Cure #1
    2.5g/1,000g meat
    Sodium erythorbate
    .24g/lb or 1.2g/5lbs

    If you make this please let me know how it turns out, the only thing that I worry about is the ham spice amount the rest is spot on.

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    Dave in AZ Wow thanks for the extensive reply … I will have to reread Mirianski’s book…some folks on Youtube suggest to grind 30% of the meat block and then add salt, cure and mix with the cubed pork … do you think that method is trying to promote more formation of exudate/myosin therefore making the cubes bind together more…I think I will add some liquid smoke or maybe smoked salt for part of the total salt requirement … anyways thanks for the response … time for some more research and head scratching 🙂

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    mrobisr thanks for the reply…so what gives you pause with regards to the ham spice…the description on the Walton’s website states that the ingredients are sugar and spices…do you think the end product would be too sweet … anyways, thanks again for the response and feel free to suggest anything else that might be helpful

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Mcjagger not enough or too much, it has cloves and we like just a hint. Other than that absolutly nothing, I used hundreds of pounds of it when I worked in the turkey processing plant.

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    mrobisr Here is my first attempt at pressed/formed ham

    700 gram lean pork loin diced 1" cubes
    300 gram ground pork loin 10mm plated
    18 gram salt
    2.5 gram cure #1
    3 gram cold phosphate
    0.3 gram liquid smoke

    Added everything to my kitchen aid with dough hook attachment…mixed 1-2 minutes…rest in refrigerator for 1 hour and repeat two more times

    Custom cut sous vide bag to fit ham press, stuff with mixed pork loin and refrigerate 48 hours

    Sous vide at 175’F until internal temperature reaches 160’F (took approximately 2 hours)

    Ice bath for 1-2 hours and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, take out of press and cut.

    83bd1e5f-e380-4cd8-b859-8d21e567673d-0AC2B59F-915C-4CAE-BCF9-A199D65AA289_1_105_c.jpeg 9bcd0a9e-1524-435c-bc61-021b27990248-E8C6FE58-8F4A-417E-BE31-DF63730E8353_1_105_c.jpeg /Users/mcjagger1/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/derivatives/E/E8C6FE58-8F4A-417E-BE31-DF63730E8353_1_105_c.jpeg
    /Users/mcjagger1/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/derivatives/0/0AC2B59F-915C-4CAE-BCF9-A199D65AA289_1_105_c.jpeg

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Mcjagger that looks fantastic!
    Your regimen is almost exactly what I would have done too. Nice writeup!
    You didn’t use any sugar?
    P.s. beautiful kitchen!

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    Mcjagger man that turned out great 👍. Congrats. I second the beautiful kitchen 😍. Great job. I’m ready for a sandwich 🥪.

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    Dave in AZ No sugar as Marianski’s recipe doest not call for it…my recipe is really just a combination of 3 different recipes…I figured I’d start out simple (the KISS principle) then adjust as needed…I differently think I it needs more salt and liquid smoke, maybe some sugar, but pretty good for a first attempt.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Mcjagger Outstanding, that is a terrific looking ham. How much ham spice did you add?

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    mrobisr sadly, no ham spice…just salt, cure , cold phosphate and lquid smoke… started with simple spices but i know it needs more salt and liquid smoke in this first attempt at this recipe…maybe next attempt i will add ham spice like you suggested and some sugar…it tastes good just they it is but i know it could be so much better … used it on some homemade pizza today for the wife and she liked it, so maybe I shouldn’t mess with a good thing, but it’s only 1000 grams of pork loin, so not a lot of waste if I don’t like the results

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Mcjagger Mcjagger The sugar will help with the pink red color and overall flavor too. As soon as it cools down enough that I can get out to my shop and make some meat products this is on my list to do and you have really motivated me to put it at the top of my list.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Mcjagger Hey, I showed your ham picture to my wife, and she was all, “THAT is the kind of ham the kids want on their sandwiches. They are tired of Canadian bacon, that looks like a softer texture, make some of that!”

    So HECK YEAH, that ham looks great! And thanks to you, some kinda press is in my near future!

    Please keep posting if you make any more attempts or tweak the flavors, I am 100% stealing your experience and knowledge for my kid’s lunches 🙂

  • Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt PK100

    Dave in AZ thanks, I think next time I will try to incorporate some of the recipe that mrobisr suggested, which has added sugar, California ham spice and a tad more salt…don’t get me wrong, this first version was good but could be so much more better with a few additions, changes…so, let the games begin because this only requires 1000 grams of meat and very little effort !!!

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Mcjagger said in Formed/Pressed Ham:

    this first version was good but could be so much more better with a few additions,

    And that is why home processed is the best, that custom taste according to your family.

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