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Salt Cured Ham: Old-Fashioned Preserving

Lee Totten
Salt cured ham has been around for centuries as an old-fashioned preservation method. It's simple to cure your own ham at home with this easy recipe.
4 from 72 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 days
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 1 ham
Calories 69.7 kcal


  • 6 cups Curing Salt
  • 3 Tbs Red pepper
  • 3 Tbs Black pepper
  • 3 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 Fresh Ham


  • Mix salt, red pepper, black pepper and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside, this is your curing mix.
  • With a ham that's between 36 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, rinse in cold water and pat dry.
  • Put a layer of curing mix ¼” – ½” deep on a tray to act as a bed for the ham.
  • Place the ham on top of the layer of curing mix.
  • At the H-bone (hip) and the hock joints, cut slits down to the bone then pack with as much of the salt mixture as possible.
  • Rub and cover the rest of the ham with the curing mix.
  • Leave the tray in a cool place (such as a refrigerator or a cooler packed with ice) for 18 days at 36-40 degrees.
  • Cure for 18 days (or more - see recipe notes).
  • Once the ham is cured, rinse well with cool water then smoke it, cook it or freeze it for later (see recipe notes for cooking tips).


  • If using a cooler, be sure to check your ice daily and replenish it as needed.
  • If you are going to smoke your ham, it has to be firm to the touch. If it's not firm to the touch, continue curing and checking it daily.
  • If ham is ready to be smoked, thoroughly rinse off the salt and pat dry before smoking.
  • If you are freezing then firmness does not matter. Slice the ham and freeze or freeze whole.
  • When ready to eat, you can bake the whole ham.
  • If you'd like to serve the ham in slices, we recommend soaking the slices in cold water for an hour up to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Then cook up in a frying pan. (You can also simmer the ham slice in a little water in the frying pan, remove the water, then continue cooking.


Serving: 1oz.Calories: 69.7kcalProtein: 5.2gFat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 1.9gCholesterol: 15.9mgSodium: 364mg
Keyword Cured Ham, Dry Cured Ham, Salt Cured Ham
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