Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Looking for Advice on Brining a Venison Ham

Brian, from Great Capacon, WV  asked :

In using the Hi Mountain Buck Board Bacon cure as a brine to inject hindquarters, how much ice water do you use per the 2 packs ?

I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe and the video! When injecting my venison hams I "attempt" to achieve a 20% gain. However,  this can be very difficult to do because venison muscle tissue will only absorb, and hold a certain amount of moisture and then it seems that the more you inject into the ham, the more brine that simply runs right back out of the product! The Buck Board Bacon Cure is in 2 packets 1/2lb each and this is portioned to season 24lbs of meat. A 20% gain on 24lbs of meat would be 4.8lbs of water. I add some additional sugar to my hams because the bacon recipe tends to be to salty of a mix for hams. This is why I increase the water to 5lbs, this will allow for the dilution of the additional sugar that I add to the blend. This should provide you with a good starting point Brian, from there many factors will depend on your own individual taste. I normally cover my hams and place them in the cooler for 5-7 days allowing the cure and seasonings to evenly absorb through the ham. You will notice that additional brine will leak out of the ham over the next few days, I've handled this issue in different ways and achieved varying results, if you empty this extra brine every couple days the ham will have a milder flavor profile as far as salt/sugar is concerned. If you leave the extra brine in the pan and simply turn the hams over every 2 days you will have a stronger flavor because the ham is laying in a bath of salt/sugar brine. After allowing the ham to brine for 5-7 days I rinse off and brine on the outside of the ham with good clean, cold water, then place the ham directly into the smokehouse. Hams are a large product so you can start the smokehouse temperature at a higher level than you would with a snack stick, Jerky or smaller diameter product. I generally will start around 165-170F. If you are looking for a strong smoke flavor you may want to begin smoking immediately, if you like a mild smoke flavor you may want to dry the surface of the ham off for a couple hours before beginning to add wood chips to your smoker. You can slowly increase the temperature by 10F each hour until you achieve a 156F internal temperature, then your product is ready to slice and eat! 

Enjoy Brian and thanks again for the question! 

 Brad Lockwood
Koola Buck Inc.
Outdoor Edge Knives
Love of the Hunt TV

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