Our Curing Process

 

The Dry curing of hams is often referred to as an art. The proven methods used to dry cure hams have been handed down to each generation by our Appalachian forefathers. Today the dry curing of hams is one of the few traditions that technology has not significantly altered but actually enhanced. We duplicate the natural seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall to create product that has a distinctive flavor profile and makes a great ingredient in most any recipe.

In the Winter

In this stage of the process the fresh hams are just three days from the farm. Our special cure mix is applied by hand to each ham. The hams will stay in this winter environmental at 40 degree while the salt and sugar is absorbed into the meat. Once the salt and sugar is absorbed, it stabilizes the meat and begins to equalize.

Springtime

In the sprintime, the cure mix has been absorbed and the warmer temperature and lower humidity allow it to equalize throughout the ham creating consistent color, odor and flavor.

Summer

In the summer rooms the temperature is a constant 90 degrees and the heat will give the ham is golden brown color and finish the drying process. Once the hams leave the summer room they are considered to be cured and are moved to the fall. 

 

Fall

By the time they leave the fall environment, the hams have an internal salt content of somewhere between 6 and 7 percent, weight loss of 22-23 percent from fresh weight and a water activity of .91 Aw or less. This entire process takes close to 100 days to complete.