Easter Dinner Preparation MEAT Insider HAM FEAST Challenge
Last month, we set the foundation for the centerpiece of an Easter feast: the ham. Perhaps you remember; it was all about brining.
a lot of moisture, so the meat can lose some of the cure. Once it starts hardening and the moisture slows down, you don’t have to keep as close an eye on it. You can check it every 3–4 weeks.
Wet-brining a ham is pretty simple. I talked about the one-to-one method — 1 cup of salt to every 1 gallon of water — plus your herbs and spices of choice. I like cinnamon, cloves, and cracked black pepper. But the choice is yours. I also mentioned that you have to keep the ham completely submerged in the brine. I want to bring that up again, because that’s how important it is. If even a small portion of ham touches the air, the whole thing can go bad fast. And if you suspect your wet-brined ham has been exposed to air and may have gone bad, you will have to start over. No one wants to expose themselves or their Easter guests to a bad ham. Since wet-brining takes about four weeks and even dry-brining takes about three days, folks who don’t have time to brine may want to know where they can get the best ham for their Easter dinner. Well, some of the best ham comes from Virginia. Virginia hams are cured for 1–3 years, and they take their ham seriously in the Mother of States. If you go to the aptly named Smithfield Inn in Smithfield, Virginia, you’ll find a strange, cured ham hanging in their establishment. This cured ham has been hanging there since 1902. They’ll even trim a tiny piece off for you to see what aged cured ham tastes like. Spoiler alert: I can tell you it tastes just like ham! There are some outfits in Virginia that have been curing since the 1700s. They still use the same old-fashioned methods — a dry, long cure. They even cure ham in buildings that are just as old as the methods themselves. That’s why some Virginia hams can be pricey. It can be a lot of work to dry-cure a ham the traditional way. In case I haven’t emphasized it enough, the drying process takes time. I even dry-cure my ham over a six-month period.
Every once in a while, you’ll want
to do a toothpick test. To perform this, press a toothpick into the meat, pull it out, and smell the end of the toothpick. If it smells at all sour, you’ve lost the ham, and you’ll need to start over. But if it smells okay, you can pack some of the cure into the toothpick hole and let it continue. Of course, once the ham is finished curing, wet or dry, and after it’s been smoked, you’ll soon realize it was worth all the work you put in. It’s even more worth it when you gather around the table with family for Easter dinner and everyone enjoys the fruits of your labor. While ham is the star of many Easter feasts, you can’t forget about the side dishes. This month, you’ll find recipes for cheesy potato casserole, smoked green bean casserole, and smoked peach pie. Each of these dishes really show how great a smoker can be. You can’t beat it when it comes to smoking just about any meat, but when you start smoking other things, like casseroles, you start wondering what else you can get away with! I will say that the smoked peach pie ends up being the star of the show at our house. It gets a smoky flavor that cuts down on the sweetness. I usually make three or four for our Easter dinner, and by the end of the day, they’re all gone. But no matter what you have on your table this Easter, I hope you and your family have a good one! –Danny McTurnan
It sure is a process. Early on, you have to check on the ham every two days, making sure it has plenty of dry cure on it. The cure pulls out
Easter Sunday Feast 2 Unbeatable Casseroles and 1 Perfect Peach Pie
Smoked Peach Pie Ingredients
Cheesy Potato Casserole Ingredients
1 pound frozen hash brown potatoes 2 cans (10.75 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 small onion, chopped 1 pint sour cream 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans peaches, sliced and drained (save juice)*
• • •
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 prebaked pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
• • •
Directions 1. In a saucepan, mix together peaches, flour, and cinnamon along with 1/4 cup of peach juice. Let simmer for 20 minutes until peaches thicken to desired pie-filling consistency.
4 1/2 cups crispy Cheez-Its
2/3 cup butter
1. In the bottom of a foil pan, place hash browns.
2. Pour filling into prebaked pie crust.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together cream of mushroom soup, onion, sour cream, cheese, salt, and pepper until well-combined. Pour mixture over hash browns.
3. Heat smoker to 260 F using white oak, and add the pie. Smoke until pie is a light brown color (about 60–90 minutes). Remove from smoker and cool. Top pie with whipped cream and serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. No meal is complete without dessert! *Note: You can substitute canned peaches with fresh peaches. When making the filling, just add 1/2 cup water and 2 cups sugar to sliced, fresh peaches. Then add flour and cinnamon, and bring mixture to a simmer until reaching desired pie-filling consistency.
3. Crush Cheez-Its, and mix with butter. Sprinkle mixture over soup layer.
4. Heat smoker to about 250 F using white oak for the smoke. Place casserole closest to the heat source, but don’t burn.
5. Smoke until you see a light smoke on tip. Remove from heat when casserole is hot and bubbly (about 60–90 minutes). Enjoy!
Smoked Green Bean Casserole
Directions 1. In a foil pan, add green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and milk. Mix ingredients together well.
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped
2. Add French-fried onions on top, spreading evenly.
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3. Heat smoker to 250 F using white oak. Smoke casserole until a it has a light smoke color and is bubbly (about 60–90 minutes). Do not let burn! Dish up, and enjoy!
1/4 cup milk
1 container French-fried onions
No Easter Dinner Is Complete Without Ham Dan ’ s Smoked Ham
1 cured ham
• 1 spray bottle filled with apple juice (optional)
1. Your ham is brined, and you’re ready to take it to the smoker!
2. Before you smoke your ham, make sure it has the right saltiness for you. To check it, fry up a small piece and taste it. If it tastes right to you, you can take it to the smoker. If you want to cut some of the saltiness, you can submerge the ham in water for about 20 minutes. You can also submerge it in boiling water for 4 minutes. Either way, you’ll pull out excess salt. 3. Once you’re happy with the salt content, it’s time to smoke. I use hickory or maple for the smoke. Smoke time is 15–20 minutes per pound at 225 F. 4. You want to reach an internal temperature of 190 F, but don’t go any higher than this. Once your ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 F, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in foil. Then, return it to the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 190 F. 5. While smoking, have a spritz bottle at the ready. I use apple juice and spritz every hour. This adds a little extra flavor and moisture.
6. Once the ham reaches 190 F, take it out of the smoker and let it rest for a fewminutes. Then slice it up and serve. It goes wonderfully with a side of cheesy potato casserole or smoked green bean casserole and a smoked peach pie. Enjoy this ham at a feast with your family this Easter!
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The Centerpiece of Easter Dinner
3 Dishes to Complete Your Easter Feast!
The Traditional Easter Ham
Grill Giveaway and Live Session Dates
HAM FEAST Challenge
“Ask a PRO” LIVE Sessions • LIVE“Ask a PRO”Session #1 TOPIC: SmokingYour Ham Sunday, April 7, 2019 5 p.m. Central StandardTime • LIVE“Ask a PRO”Session #2 TOPIC: SmokingYour Sides Sunday, April 14, 2019 5 p.m. Central StandardTime Go to gsa.life/2019april for instructions on how to access these LIVE sessions.
Are you ready to put your grilling and smoking skills to the test? Take the Ham Challenge and you could WIN up to $500 in grilling and meat-smoking prizes! Wanna knowmore? Head over to gsa.life/2019april for all the details on how to enter. Good luck, and we look forward to seeing what you cook up!
Win a FREE 18.5” Classic Pit Barrel Cooker. gsa.life/2019april
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