How to Cure a Ham

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How to Cure a Ham
Curing a ham is easier than you might think. (Holiday Ham image by ALLAN GROSSKRUEGER from

It's easy to go out and buy a cured ham, but it's also easier than you think to cure your own. You can cure a ham using both a dry or wet rub. Dry rub is preferable for most, probably because the wet requires a bucket large enough to hold the ham and such ingredients as pickling salt, Prague No. 1, pickling spice and cloves (see Resources).

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Saltpetre
  • Stiff brush

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  1. 1

    Buy good-quality hams that don't weigh more than 10.9kg. each. Make sure the hams are fresh and don't have too much fat. Keep the hams chilled below 4.44 degrees C before you cure them.

  2. 2

    Gather all your ingredients. For 22.7kg. of ham, you'll need 1.81kg. salt, 0.454kg. sugar and 28.4gr. saltpetre.

  3. 3

    Mix the ingredients together well in a large container, and divide the mixture in half.

  4. 4

    Cover the ham with half the cure mixture, working it mostly into the surface that doesn't have fat. Rub a thin coat over the parts with fat and skin.

  5. 5

    Put the ham back into below-40-degree storage.

  6. 6

    Wait six days, then cover the ham with the rest of the mixture on the seventh day.

  7. 7

    Return the ham to storage and keep it there for seven days for each pound, less one pound because you've cured it for seven days already.

  8. 8

    Put the ham in cold water to soak for an hour after your curing period has ended.

  9. 9

    Go over the ham with a stiff brush to get the rest of the mixture off, then let it dry for a few minutes.

  10. 10

    Put the cured ham in storage at 10.0 to 15.5 degrees C after it has dried. Leave it there for 14 days to set in the cure and let it shrink. This is when you can smoke your ham if you desire.

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