Friday, 16 August 2013

Bacon? No, Ham!




Ham can be made from any part of the pig, but traditionally the leg, the shoulder, and the belly.

This, above, could either be called bacon or ham, but it is specially made to be eaten raw; so I shall call it ham.

It is dry-salted for one week (with the addition of some brown sugar and roughly ground black pepper), then hung-up to dry for about a month; during which time it could also be cold smoked.

One could just fry it like bacon, but that subtle flavour of 'Parma' type ham (the delicious fat just melts in your mouth) would be lost. Best to eat it in thin slivers with bread and unsalted butter, and maybe a glass or two of rouge.

It's quite possible that such delights are unavailable where you live, but making it at home is child's-play! Just make sure you find a supplier of really good quality, naturally reared, pork belly; and buy the thinner fatty end.

Hugh Fearnley-Thing's recipe can be found here, or see his 2001 'River Cottage Cookbook'.

N.B. This is not the same 'bacon' that I posted about some time back; that was proper bacon, this is proper ham!


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14 comments:

  1. I never " made " ham from our last two pigs
    But I will with the next two
    Roll on spring

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    1. If you know anyone who's in France with a car, you could get them to bring back a sack of special ham making salt. It's sold everywhere here, and is very cheap, but I don't remember seeing any in the UK.

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  2. I hope you will be serving that with a side oh home grown tomatoes! Yum!

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  3. I'm often amazed when we travel to the UK and France at how different some of the things we eat are. You would think that since our heritage and most of our population is from the UK that our bacon would be the same as their bacon but it is definitely not and I have still not worked out what gammon actually is. Your ham is certainly different from our usual ham. I'll put it on my list to try next time.

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  4. Isn't it a shame fat isn't "good for us"? It tastes sooooo good. So we eat it. (Everybody's gotta die from something...)

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  5. The next hog of ours we bring to the locker...I'll be asking them to set aside some belly for us so we can do just this. Thanks for sharing the recipe Cro. !!

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  6. oH AND sUSAN (ABOVE) Fat from pasture raised hogs fed decent non-antibiotic filled grain and grasses is really HEALTHY for you. Lots of good research out there on the topic. Find a good farmer to supply you and GO FOR IT!

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    1. Thank you, Donna. It's quite possible I love you.

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  7. I frequently buy parma ham Cro because I absolutely love it - but I suspect it is nothing like the real thing above.

    The photo reminded me of when I was a child and we always killed our own pig and the sides of bacon and the hams hung on hooks from the kitchen ceiling. My father would take a sharp carving knife and cut himself a slice for breakfast like the slice in your photo and he would fry it gently in a pan over an open fire. I can smell that wonderful smell still.

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    1. Your Papa sounds like my kinda guy. I used to do exactly the same (and still do in a smaller way).

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  8. Fascinating post. I've never made ham and I'm not sure I can find a pork belly for sale here. However, I shall inquire at a couple of the locally owned butcher shops. The South is pork fat country, so you never know.

    My husband and I toured Bentons, a well known small smoke house a couple of years ago in nearby Tennessee and it was quite interesting to see what goes into curing country hams and bacon.
    Sam

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    1. Ham making is great fun. All you need is a good quality leg, coarse salt, sugar, pepper, and time. Salting takes about 30 days, and drying a bit more. We used to do ours above about 6 inches of wood ash which would absorb any liquid. Watch out for mice!

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