Only fresh pieces of meat are suitable for curing and smoking. Do not use frozen meat! For curing I only use sea salt and no curing salt. I have had very good experiences with sea salt and no hams have gone bad yet. Partly I have stored these up to 6 or 8 months. After 2 to 3 weeks I wrap the hams again in a vacuum bag so that they don’t get too dry. Due to the sugar and the ascorbic acid I get a good reddening of the meat even without the curing salt.
Dab the meat dry and free it from sight and skin. Then weigh the meat and prepare the spice mixture. Coarsely crush the spices in a mortar. Place the spice mixture in a large bowl and rub the meat into it from all directions. Then place the meat with the complete spice mixture in a vacuum bag and vacuum.
Put it into the fridge and let it pickle for a few days. Here 1 day per cm meat thickness (measured at the thickest point) plus another 3 days. Turn the bag once a day.
After curing, open the meat and rinse vigorously under cold water and leave for approx. 1 hour in cold water. This slightly reduces the salt concentration in the outer edge. Dry and vacuum the meat again and let it “burn” for three days in the fridge. Wash the meat again with cold water and wipe dry. Now hang the meat in a cold and airy but not draughty place for 1-3 days to dry. The meat must be completely dry and must not have any wet spots.
Now the ham comes into the smoking oven and is smoked with 20°C to max. 25°C approx. 8 – 10 hours slowly with a sparse fire. Then let it hang in to the air for one day. Smoking and hanging it out repeat until the ham has a golden colour. I smoke ham and bacon about 4 times. Thinner pieces such as loin I smoke 2 times. After the last smoking pass let the ham mature in a cool and airy but not draughty place. When the ham has matured enough I vacuum it so that it doesn’t dry too much. The ham can be stored in a vacuum bag in a cool place for several months.