Peach Smoked Ham

A festive favourite – smoked ham.

This time we’ve smoked the meat using one of our favourite types of wood – peach.  A lighter flavour than stronger woods such as oak and hickory, its ideal to cook with poultry or pork.

The chillies selected for this recipe are reasonably mild and fruity varieties, designed to complement the ham.  Lots of different fruits work well as a combination with ham, so it made perfect sense to use Ancho, Mulato, Pasilla and New Mexican Red chillies.  Not too spicy and hot, but pungent and fruity.

The quantities of chilli powder will make much more then you need for this recipe.  Very versatile to use in many different dishes – pimps up any casserole, sauces or stew.  It will keep for up to 6 months, so long as its in an air tight container and kept in a cool, dry place.

Polished off with a fruity, boozy glaze – made from pineapple, maple syrup and Bourbon Whiskey, once again all good friends with the succulent, juicy ham – a match made in heaven.

Ingredients

  •  5 kg unsmoked ham joint

Chilli Powder

  • 4 dried Ancho chillies
  • 3 dried Mulato chillies
  • 3 dried Pasilla chillies
  • 3 dried New Mexican Red chillies

Rub

  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Glaze

  • ½ brown sugar
  • ½ maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder rub (as above)
  • ¾ pineapple juice

Method

Soak your ham in cold water, for 24 hours or at least overnight, leaving it in the fridge so that it keeps cold.

The next day, remove the ham from the water, and pat dry with some kitchen towel.  Now remove any skin.  Scoring the fat will help it render during cooking.  In this instance we’ve scored the fat lengthways across the side of the ham, but squared or diamond patterns will also have the desired effect.

Do not place the joint back in the fridge, leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours.  In the meantime, you will need to keep the ham in shape – use string or butchers twine to do so.

Make up your chilli powder. Remove any stems from the chillies, then remove the seeds and any membrane.  Cut the chillies in half, lengthways and then, depending on size/shape, cut these sections in half, so that you’ve got nice, flat pieces of dried chilli.

Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan to medium and lightly toast in batches, until the aroma is released and you start to see patches change colour and blister slightly.  Be careful not to over cook them, as this will give you a bitter end product.  The pieces should still be flexible when removed from the pan, but will firm up as they cool.

Leave to cool on a plate or chopping board for 10 minutes – This will help avoid clumping when you go to grind them.  In batches again, place the chilli pieces in a spice grinder and blitz until you get a powder.

Now blitz the ingredients of the rub, together with 6 teaspoons of chilli powder, in a spice grinder or food processor. Lightly cover the gammon with rub and pat in.

Light your smoker and bring the temperature up to 275°F/135°C. Add a fist sized chunk of peach wood.  Once the thick smoke has cleared, place the ham in the smoker.  After half an hour, add another chunk of peach wood.

Now begin to mix all of the glaze ingredients in a pan.  Bring to the boil gently, then simmer for ten minutes.  Leave to cool – this will help thicken the glaze.

Maintain the smoker temperature and after another hour, check the meat.  When the internal temperature gets to about 130°F/55°C, reheat your glaze until warm and begin painting on, using a mop brush.

Repeat this every 30 minutes until the meat reaches 155°F/68°C.  Remove from the smoker and rest for at least half an hour.  Keep your eyes on the internal temperature throughout the cook, you don’t want to over cook the ham.

Once rested, slice thinly.  Its best served immediately, but also great for leftovers that you can use during the week.

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