Diary of an Easter Ham – April 2015

“One minute I was happy as a clam standing in slop in a pig pen; the next, I was cold and hanging in a meat locker…” The Pig.

Our tale (not the pig’s tale – or tail) begins at Patak’s Sausage Chalet – an eastern European (Czech and Polish) manufacturer of meats and sausages, located in Austell, GA. This place is a hoot. Open Monday – Friday, I have never visited there when there has not been a line of people waiting to be served. The place is that good. And small! As you may see in the picture, the line going in to be served could shake hands with the line waiting to pay.

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While Patak’s takes orders for smoked hams, I wanted to smoke a ham myself, so I ordered what is termed a “green” ham – uncooked and uncured. Right off the truck, so to speak. What’s to lose but the love and respect of my family and friends? Better they remember me for a poorly cooked ham than that morals conviction… But I digress. And I was acquitted. We’ll see about the ham.

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Anyway, back to the story. (Story you say?). Because of weekend camping plans, needing to pick the ham up ahead of time, and wanting it to be moist for the slow smoking process, I looked for a brine recipe I could use that was a little more interesting than just a salt and sugar solution. Found it! As a caveat, let me just say that as I write this epistle I don’t have a clue as to how this will turn out. Mileage will vary. Side effects can include nausea, drowsiness, loss of appetite, stunted growth and Botulism. Erections lasting more than four hours… well, you know what to do.

Oh yeah, the brine. Did you even care? Well, I better tell you because I’ll never remember it myself. It includes kosher salt (for a pig you ask?), sugar, celery, onions, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic and some other stuff I can’t remember. See, I told you!

Saturday I will remove the ham from the brine (dun da da dunn!!), pat it down to dry (and make sure she is not hiding any weapons), inject it with some apple juice (thank you, nurse), make some cuts in the fatty skin, inject steroids and botox (oops, wrong recipe), lightly coat the ham with mustard and then apply a Pecan based rub. Pretty shexxy, don’t you think? Last chance for sushi before she goes on the smoker!

The smoker… ahh yes. In my case I will be using my Grill Dome. Some of you will be looking for more specifications about this smoker. What I can tell you: it is red. Everything else is a mystery to me. Magic, I might say.

For more on this captivating story, watch tomorrow as I share more compelling photos and details about lighting the charcoal, watching the thermostat and avoiding yard work. Until then, adieu!

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