Ramble On

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Pork Diaries: First Ham 2014

The ham (and 1/4 rack of last year's ribs),
just getting started on the Big Unit.
By now, most readers who follow my butchering experiences know that the hog Chris and I shared this year had a name:  Kevin Bacon.  To clarify I should mention that I don't think the origin of the name is the movie star (I'm a fan, by the way) - I think they took the first name from the Disney Pixar film Up!, where it was the momma bird's name, and the second name, of course, came from the breakfast meat.  This weekend, I grilled a first roast from Kevin - actually part of one of the hams.

The first year we did the butchering, I had the entire ham cured.  After it came back from the smokehouse, I broke it down into a couple of large chunks - the hams we get range from 25 to 35 pounds, and it's just Mary and me, so we'll still have leftovers.  However, power in Alexandria being what it is, I lost two of the three ham cuts I'd frozen, and I swore I'd manage the meat differently going forward.

For sauce, I used Jared's competition recipe
to start, but substituted chipotle in the mix
for a portion of the paprika.
I've settled into a routine where I cut the ham into fourths on the band saw in the butchering shed.  I send two off for curing, and take two home to freeze.  This was one of the ones I'd frozen - we're waiting for the hams and bacon to come back from the smokehouse, maybe next weekend.

My plan was to roast the ham on the Big Unit in Alexandria, planning about a 4 hour cooking time at between 275 and 300 degrees.  I had to transfer from the charcoal side to the gas side in order to recharge the coals, so cooking time stretched out to 4.5 hours.  But it finished really well, and I did get some hickory smoke flavor worked into the meat.

To kick it up a notch, I decided to use the competition recipe for sauce that Jared shared with me.  This is a top secret recipe that I cannot reprint due to a promise to him.  But I will note that I substituted chipotle seasoning for a portion of the paprika - adding a little heat - and used the peach preserves at quantities specified.  This is good stuff, if I say so myself.

The finished meal, with chard and yams.
We paired the ham roast with yams and some chard.  Although we didn't finally sit down to eat until 8:30 on a Saturday night, you're looking at one satisfied barbeque chef right here.  Plus, we've got leftovers; I don't usually eat them, but I am looking forward to a couple of meals from this one.

So here's to the first roast off of this year's pig, Kevin Bacon.  Can't wait for the rest of those cuts - ribs, chops, and shoulder...later this summer.

And still to come:  BACON!

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