Picnic Ham

The picnic ham, taken from the front leg and shoulder area. of a pig, is the major component of the traditional New England boiled dinner. While many people don’t care for the picnic because it has more bone and connective tissue than a conventional ham, it’s precisely the reason why it’s so flavorful and used to make this classic dinner.

1 (7-8) lb fresh picnic (3.6-4.0 kg)
1/2 cup pickling salt (154 g)
2 tbsp Prague Powder #1 (34.2 g)
1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (14 g)
1 1/2 tbsp white pepper (12.2 g)
2 1/2 tbsp liquid smoke, optional (37.5 ml)
2 tbsp maple extract (30 ml)
1/2 cup molasses (168 g)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (116 g)
2 quarts chlorine-free water (1.9 L)
stockinette bag

1. If desired, trim the layer of external fat shaping the fresh picnic as you go. Personal preference as to leanness applies here.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a deep non-resistant container; stir well.
3. Pump the fresh picnic with the brine solution (pickle) to 10% of its original weight.*
4. Pour remaining pickle over picnic, place heavy platter on picnic, refrigerate for 8 days turning picnic every second day.
5. Hold at room temperature until the surface of the ham is dry to the touch.
6. Hang picnic ham in 110°F (43°C) smoker, vents half open, apply heavy smoke for 1-2 hours or until desired color is obtained.
7. Close vents, increase smoker temperature to 185-190°F, hold until the ham has an internal temperature of 152°F (67°C).
8. Allow ham to cool at room temperature then refrigerate overnight.
9. A freshly made picnic ham can be refrigerated up to a week or vacuum seal and freeze it up to 3 months.

*Calculating a 10% pump is as simple as weighing the fresh ham and multiplying the weight of the ham by ten. For example, an 11 lb. (5 kg) ham times 10% would be 1.1 lb. (0.50 kg) or 20 oz. (520 ml) of pickling solution.

*Overhauling is the periodic rotation of the ham within the pickling solution. It’s a simple matter of moving the top pieces of meat to the bottom of the brine bucket and lifting the bottom pieces to the top. This action helps to redistribute the curing solution and insure that the picnics cure evenly.

Once the desired color is obtained, you have the option to speed up the lengthy cooking time by replacing the pan of chips with a pan of water

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