20 Sep Dry Cured v. Wet Cured Hams
There are a variety of factors that make Broadbent’s ham unique but none more precious or secret than our curing strategy. Our curing is a dry, salt-based process which takes place over many months. Curing is a simple process steeped in tradition: however, there is more than one way to cure a ham. Below we provide a brief overview of dry curing versus wet curing along with the benefits of our chosen methodology.
Dry Cured Meats
Dry curing has been a part of the human tradition for centuries. The need med from a lack of refrigeration. Individuals, unable to preserve meat during the warm months of the year discovered the use of salts to preserve meats during the colder periods to be enjoyed during the warm months.
To dry cure meats, a blend of salt, sugar, curing salts and other secret flavorful ingredients are carefully measured and mixed based on the weight of the meat. The cure mix is then applied. At Broadbent, we then place the hams in mesh bags for hanging in our seasonally tempered rooms that reflect the natural traditional of hams curing outdoors. Our traditional country hams hang, curing for about 9 months (Fall, Winter, and Spring). They are then smoked and cleaned before shipping out to be enjoyed as our fully cooked country hams.
Wet Cured Meats (Brining)
Wet cured meats, also referred to as bringing is a variation that came along after refrigeration. During this process, a brine solution including water, salt, sugar, curing salts and additional flavors is mixed together. The exact amounts are not as crucial and a much heavier amount of salt is used to the power of water to dilute the seasonings. The meat is then submerged in the brine for several days, depending on the meat size and desired flavor. The meat may also be injected with the brine to strengthen the process of the curing. The meat then is placed in cold storage facilities or refrigerators for several days (7-21 on average). The meat is then allowed to dry out before being smoked.
Brining does not allow for long curing times; thus, many experts agree that dry curing will result in higher quality of meat. These processes are most avidly used for ham, bacon, and pastrami. The major differences include saltiness, curing blend, curing placement, and length of cure. It is those factors that set Broadbent’s Traditional Country Ham apart from your standard grocery store items. Even those items that are smoked or cured in your store do not have the longevity of the curing process to secure rich superior flavors and dense texture.
Have a further question about Broadbent’s curing process? Share in the comments, we are happy to provide information to customers at any time.