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  • thesophisticatedpig

Sweetheart Ham

Doesn't it look amazing!

This is a great way to make a cured smoked ham that is not too large. You start by carving out a 3-4 lb. piece of pork shoulder from a bone-in or boneless shoulder. The boneless chunk is what is used in the recipe. I use the same liquid brine as in my Cajun Tasso recipe. The fresh herbs really add flavor. This recipe also involves injecting the brine into the ham so that it cures from the outside and the inside evenly. I hope you enjoy making this recipe on your own.



4 cups water

1/4 cup Kosher Salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp. black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 bunch fresh sage

3 star anise pods broken apart

1 small onion peeled and quartered

5 crushed garlic cloves

1 tbsp. juniper berries

8 grams curing salt #1

3-4 pounds of boneless pork butt in a single piece


1. Combine the brine ingredients into a pot and boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then cool to room temperature.

2. When the brine is cool, weigh your pork and calculate 10% of the weight. This is the amount of brine that you will need to inject into the pork itself. When using the meat injector, ensure that you leave out any solids. Poke the brine into the pork at various places. As it is injected the pork will expand and some brine will leak out. Don't worry, this is normal.

3. After injecting, transfer the pork to an extra-large resealable plastic bag or sealable container. Add the pork ensuring its covered/submerged in brine and seal or cover the container. Place in refrigerator for 7 days to cure, turning it once in the bring after 3 days.

4. After 7 days, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.

5. Return to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to allow the exterior to set and get tacky for smoking.

6. Cold smoke the ham for 1 1/2 hours. This allows for extra smoke flavor before cooking it under hot smoke in the next step. You can take the ham off the cold smoke while getting the hot smoke going if you use the same device for both. In general, I cold smoke on my gas grill with the burners turned off and hot smoke in my Weber bullet smoker.

7. Setup for hot smoke at an approximate temperature of 200 degrees F. for about 4 hours or until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F.

6. The ham is then fully cooked and can be used in recipes or frozen until needed.

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