Okay...here are the recipes we used to cure the hams, bacon, etc.
From the book "The River Cottage Cookbook" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Pea Bacon (Sorry it's all in Engle-measure)
1 kg sea salt (non-iodized), 100 g brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper.
Mix all together then rub into the slabs of bacon with your hands. Rub into all the surfacs with your fingers (wear gloves if you have any cuts on your hands or eyaw!). We put all the pieces into a clean 5 gallon bucket, stacked on top of each other, then the lid on. We put the bucket in the basement.
Every day Marty would take the pieces out, drain out the salty liquid in the buckets, rub more salt mix into them, and then restack them in the bucket with the bottom ones on top and the top ones on the bottom.
He did that for five days. Then he took them out, rinsed them very well under water to get the saltiness out, then put them into pillow cases and placed them on the porch to dry.
Now that they are dry he plans to put a couple in the freezer and then smoke a couple over a very cold smokey fire in our little smoke house.
Hams and shoulders (recipe 1)
We put together a mix for a "basic brine". It was 2 kg sea salt and 6 litres of water. (We leave out the saltpetre as they said it was optional.) Brought it to a boil on the stove then we cooled it thoroughly.
We put the meat into another 5 gallon bucket (we have tons of these great buckets thanks to our friend Tom from White Oak Gourmet - thanks Tom!). We added the brine, put a dinner plate over the ham and a brick inside a plastic bag on the plate to keep the ham under the brine, and then put the lid on the bucket.
Then we put it into our walk in cooler (38 degrees) for ten days. It was figured at ten days because of the weight. Our meat was 3 kilos and it was to be three days for every kilo.
Tomorrow Marty will take the piece out of the brine, dry it as much as possible with a cotton cloth, and hang it to dry further for 24 hours. He plans to smoke that one also.
This one is called the Suffolk cure. (we left out the beer as we didn't have any on hand)
2 litres of beer if you have it, 2 litres of malt vinegar (we added a little maple syrup vinegar as we didn't have enough malt vinegar. We make the maple syrup vinegar ourselves...not sure where you would buy it), 1.5 kg of sea salt (non-iodized), 25 g peppercorns, 25 g cloves, and 1 kg brown sugar. Left out the saltpetre again.
This brine was also brought up to boil, then cooled. The meat was also put into another 5 gallon bucket, brine poured over, plate etc. to weight it down, lid on, in walk in cooler for 10 days.
Marty will smoke this one tomorrow also.
Whew! My job was the easiest. I just measured the stuff and boiled it. So I'm wishing Marty luck on the smoking part. After smoking the pieces, we'll hang the pieces in the basement to cure (in the pillow cases).
Then we'll have Chef Chris help us out by taking a look a them and determining if they are edible. I sure hope so after all that work and time curing. They could take as short as a couple of months and as long as a year to cure.
All I can say is...don't try this at home! or if you do then find someone who knows what they are doing to give advice. And don't plan on asking me any questions about it! I'm just the guinea pig (no pun Pea) who gets to eat it when it is done.