Cider Ham

Continuing the updates on the cures started in early February, the Cider Ham has now been cooked and sliced:

Sliced Cider Ham

This cure started with the gift of some cider from Mark at Rockingham Forest Cider. To do this craft product justice I felt that a brine immersion cure was called for - none of your injection cured shortcuts for this ham!

A recipe was formulated using quite a high level of cider and with nice warm spice overtones, the spices you'd put in mulled cider or wine: cloves, juniper, cinnamon, allspice and coriander. A nice golden Demerara sugar was used for sweetness.

The recipe for 2 kilograms of meat was:
Cider 620gm
Apple Juice 200gm
Salt 90gm
Demerara Sugar 80gm
Saltpetre 0.57gm
Cure #1 9.7gm
Coriander seeds 10 ea.
Allspice 2 gm (Berries if available)
Juniper berries 4 ea.
Cinnamon stick/cassia bark 2 inch
Cloves 3 ea.

All the ingredients with the exception of the cure were placed into a pan and brought to a rolling boil for 2 - 3 minutes. They were then allowed to cool. The cure was added and mixed well in to ensure that it was fully dissolved.

The meat was cured in the brine in a bag, sealed without vacuum.

Cider Ham

It cures for 10 days per kilogram of meat, so some 20 days later a somewhat dirty piece of ham emerged - I think that the sludge is from using powdered allspice (in the absence of any whole spice).

Cider Ham

After 8 days drying and maturing the meat was sealed in a bag with apple juice and cooked in a water bath at 70°C - 75°C until the internal temperature was 72°C.

Cooking the Apple Cider Ham

Sliced Cider Ham

It's a very popular ham that everyone seems to like apart from me. I'm not keen.

This cure is one where the cure should be half the weight of the meat. It's easier to use the Ingredient Calculator below rather than work out your own amounts for the meat you have. Please note that it has only been tested on meat weight less than 3.5kg.

Cider Ham Cure Calculator
Weight of Meat in grams gm
Cider gm
Water gm
Sea Salt gm
Demerara Sugar gm
Saltpetre gm
Cure #1 gm
Total Amount gm
Spices - approximate amounts
Allspice gm
Coriander seeds seeds
Juniper berries berries
Whole cloves cloves
Cassia Bark/Cinnamon inch
Cure the Meat for: Days

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Posterous
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks

There are 42 comments


Hi Phil,
Just a wondering…….I’ve done this and the ham is now maturing and drying in the fridge.
I’ve cut it in half……it looks very pink – is this right? The missus is pregnant so don’t really want to feed her something that hasn’t cured properly (Obviously I still need to cook it!)


Frosty, - 22-04-’13 09:13

Hi Frosty,

I don’t know what to say.

I can’t see, and don’t know, what you’ve done. So I can’t say that what you’ve done is safe.

If you’ve done as I did, then it will be safe after cooking – guaranteed!

I fully understand that curing using someone else’s recipe is a “big leap of faith”, particularly if your wife is pregnant. If are worried as to whether my cures are safe, and to be honest why shouldn’t you be? Then, head over to and ask the guys over there about them – it may help to put your mind at rest. I’m known as ‘Wheels’ over there.

I hope that you enjoy the ham.

Phil, - 23-04-’13 00:31

Thanks Phil,
I am 100% sure of your recipes, I’ve tried plenty of them.

The best way I will see of making sure is to EAT it. Then if I am sick I probably won’t let the wife have any ;)

I think we may well have already spoken on the Sausage forums, I’m on there too


Frosty, - 26-04-’13 11:43

Thanks Frosty. I realise who you are now. Enjoy the ham and I hope that everything goes fine with the new baby.

Phil, - 27-04-’13 14:17

Thanks Phil,
We had lots of people over at the weekend and this made an outing. There was not a single person who wasn’t amazed by it!
Excellent recipe, I shall be making another.


Frosty, - 29-04-’13 08:31

Phew! Thanks goodness for that! Thanks for letting me know, it’s always good to have feedback.

Although they’re a bit of a pain, this method does produce some nice results.

Phil, - 29-04-’13 14:04

Hi Phil,

Can you tell me if the cider is carbonated when you use it or did you let it go flat first?


Jonny, - 30-04-’13 07:46

Hi Jonny

Either is fine, the cider won’t still be fizzy after you’ve boiled it to make the brine.

I hope you enjoy the ham.

Phil, - 01-05-’13 13:58

Hi Phil,
Silly question – is this cured in the fridge?

jloaf, - 15-10-’13 14:38

Hi, sorry for the delay in replying.

Yes, cure it in the fridge.

Phil, - 17-10-’13 13:51

hey phil

i put a 3.5 kg leg down last week using this recipe with cure#2, still have 23 day left in the brine
im alittle concerned as with left over ham i normally slice it thick and fry it like you would a slice of bacon (hell some times i even slice it like i do bacon) but with using cure #2 im not ‘meant’ to fry it from what ive read, would you say its ok to fry or to find some other way of using the left overs??


Martin, - 27-10-’13 06:28


It’ll should be fine. The level of both nitrite and nitrate in this cure is well below both the EU and US levels.

Phil, - 27-10-’13 16:24

Hi Phil,
As regards to drying and maturing is this done uncovered in the fridge.
Cheers mark.

Mark, - 20-10-’14 13:33

I dried it in my air-drying fridge that has humidity control. If using a normal fridge,you’ll have a lot less humidity, so be careful that it doesn’t dry too quickly. When it’s touch dry, wrapping it in greaseproof/parchment paper may help, but in that case, check it regularly for unwanted mould.

If in any doubt, just dry it for only 3 or 4 days.

I hope this helps.

Phil, - 20-10-’14 21:32

Hi Phil That’s a great help, it’s been in the fridge for a day now so i will wrap it up and cut drying time as you suggest , I’ll drop by in a few days and let you know how it goes.
Cheers Phil

Mark, - 21-10-’14 11:24

Is Saltpetre vital?
I am going to make a gammon for new years and do not have any left….

Frosty, - 09-12-’14 14:50

No, it’s not. It can be omitted without adjustment to the other ingredients.

I hope you enjoy the ham.

Phil, - 09-12-’14 15:46

Thanks Phil,
As always, I bow to your master knowledge!
FYI, my smoker is going on today for smoking the bacon I make using your recipe. The last lot only lasted about a week as it was so good!

Frosty, - 10-12-’14 07:58

Now you’re making me hungry! Keep me posted as to how the ham goes, I’d like some other opinions about it as I’ve not made it too often myself.

Phil, - 10-12-’14 19:48

Hi Phil
I have made your “Pauline’s Ham in a Bag” very successfully a couple of times. I’m keen to try the cider ham, but wondered if I could do it via injection curing the same way as Pauline’s Ham? If so, would I use the same amount of brine as given for the Cider Ham, and inject a proportion of it?
Many thanks for sharing such useful information – I had never tried a ham until I found your recipe – & will never buy another one ready made again!

ElleGee, - 12-01-’16 10:44

Hi ElleGee,
You could make a Cider ham by the injection method, but not using a proportion of this brine.

What I’d do is adapt the ‘Pauline’s Ham’ recipe. Use cider instead of water and alter the spices to the ones above. You’ll only need a little of each spice in the brine (like with Pauline’s Brine) because it’s injected.

You could also increase the cider taste by cooking it in apple juice or cider.

Please let me know how it turns out.

Phil, - 12-01-’16 15:59

Many thanks for the suggestion! I’ll give it a go and let you know how it tastes.

ElleGee, - 14-01-’16 08:30

I made this ham for Christmas Eve, cured it short for 20 days and only had enough time for one days drying. Simmered in water before roasting for 20 minutes to caramalize the glaze. The ham came out grey for the majority of the outer meat with only the bottom part where it had been rolled and tied being pink. It was more roast pork than ham. The meat was a 3.5kg leg.

I regularly make my own bacon and I also made a kassler ham from a 1kg loin which turned out fine so I’m no stranger to curing. I’m wondering whether there was sufficient cure as I would have expected 20 days immersed in brine plus being vac-packed would have been sufficient (I used the calculator on this page).

Jamie, - 24-12-’16 19:24

It’s hard to know what to say Jamie. It’s annoying when a cure doesn’t work, particularly when you want it for an event like Christmas.

Anything I say will just look like an excuse as to why your ham didn’t work out. But, you see, I know that the cure works.

The time for this cure is stated as 35 days because the level of cure and other ingredients are such that it takes that amount of time to get in to the meat. After that it has a further period maturing to allow the cure to equalise throughout the meat. Reducing this to 20 days will, unfortunately, have an effect on the outcome.

The cure is sufficient: it’s the maximum level allowed in commercial cures in the EU nowadays. The curing time is long to take account of the low level and after 35 days a level of approximately 150mg/kg of both nitrite and nitrate should be in the meat.

That said, although you only cured it for just over half of the specified time and didn’t leave it to equalise for the 8 days specified, I would have expected it to have been pink throughout more of the ham than it was. I wonder whether the cure(s) didn’t dissolve properly in the cooled brine?

I hope that this experience hasn’t put you off curing and that it didn’t spoil your Christmas.

Phil, - 26-12-’16 22:22

Can you use this recipe on a piece of meat that was previously frozen?

Kathy, - 14-04-’17 07:41

Hi Cathy,

Yes, you can, but bear in mind the cure times. Don’t use one that was only frozen ‘cos it was near it’s use by date!

Phil, - 15-04-’17 22:29
John Irvine

Hi Phil,

I would like to try this recipe but I am unable to get saltpetre here in Thailand – can I substitute it for cure #2 ? If so, in the same proportion or different?

John Irvine, - 26-06-’18 06:43
Phil Young

To use cure #2. Firstly, omit the saltpetre and cure #1, and secondly, replace the amount of cure #1 (from the calculator) with the same amount of cure #2.

It’s funny how people like this recipe. I’m not so keen myself.

Phil Young, - 27-06-’18 22:27

Hi Phil
I was hoping to make this ham but it appears the calculator is not working at present.
Is it possible you could have a look at it please.

Darren, - 30-06-’18 11:37

Hi Darren

I’ve uploaded the file again and it now seems to be working. I’ve no idea what I’ve done, but not to worry, as long as it works.

Phil, - 30-06-’18 21:21
John Irvine

Hi Phil, now that I have a few bacon cures under my belt I thought I would try a ham so have gone for the cider ham less some the Christmas spices (no allspice but added a few black pepper corns). It looks like you left the skin on for the brining. Did you leave it on for the cooking or remove it and glaze?

John Irvine, - 02-11-’18 06:12
Phil Young


I cook the ham with the skin on, usually by cooking it over water, or in a bag in water at 75 – 80°C.

To glaze it, you remove the skin near to the end of cooking, glaze it and then finish it off in the oven.

I hope this helps

Phil Young, - 09-11-’18 16:21
John irvine

Many thanks Phil, I tool the skin off this time, still curing and will need to dry in the fridge for about 13 days as I will be away from home. Hopefully it will be ok for the extended drying/stabilizing time.

John irvine, - 10-11-’18 06:51
John Irvine

Hi Phil,
Just finished cooking the ham. I had intended to give it a light cold smoke but no time as I am going away for a week so needed to get it cooked, bagged and frozen before I leave. No ’oven roast’ bags left so just cooked it in the oven on a rack over a water bath. Finished by giving it a quick glaze with whole grain mustard, apricot jam and black pepper. Tastes OK, slightly too salty but I don’t think I will repeat any time soon. Pastrami is next when I get back home.

John Irvine, - 18-11-’18 07:27

Hi, I am about to use this recipe to cure a nearly whole leg with the bone in.
It weights nearly 7kg – so in the calculator above should I use this weight or do I have to compensate for the bone in some way?

This is a great site by the way!

Steve, - 17-03-’20 13:49
Phil Young

Hi Steve
I would not use this cure for such a large piece of meat. It was designed for small scale curing like most of my recipes. I’d be tempted to dry cure or use a combination of dry/injection cure. To enable the options to be discussed, please post a the forum at

Phil Young, - 17-03-’20 19:17
Graham Wells

Hi. Just got into curing and smoking and love this website. So useful. My question is, could you cure several small hams up to 3.5kg total weight in the same amount of brine. By the way, just made first batch of sausages using your Not Lincolnshire sausage as a guide. Safe to say we won’t be buying Sausages again

Graham Wells, - 24-09-’20 19:31
Phil Young

In theory, if you use a brine for 3500gm, the meat could be in pieces. The cure time should be that for 3500gm not the time for smaller pieces. There’s often a massive difference between practice and theory so don’t try it on expensive meat as your first attempt.

Phil Young, - 19-10-’20 20:19

Hi there Phil. I live in Indonesia. Really good ham hard to find here. I have followed all your instructions and the ‘ham’ is now in my fridge for the past 4 days. Questions.
You say ‘After 8 days drying and maturing the meat was sealed in a bag with apple juice and cooked in a water bath at 70°C – 75°C until the internal temperature was 72°C.’
1. How much apple juice ?.
2. If the meat is sealed in a bag how do I insert the temperature checker to be sure the internal temperature is 72°C ?.
Thanks in advance,

Tony, - 28-10-’20 02:57
Phil Young

1. I used about a cup full – say 200ml – but just use however much you like.
2. Without a needle probe that’s a problem. You can use a bag with just a tie around the top to close it – keep the top above the liquid level as it is in the picture above. If you put the bag into the water before tying it, the water pressure will expel the air.

Phil Young, - 28-10-’20 19:39

Came out 100% wonderful. I personally prefer a more smoky taste but this is good and cured fine, all the way thru. GREAT.

Tony, - 25-11-’20 00:59
Phil Young

I’m glad it worked OK for you. Whether to smoke it or not is a personal choice – If you like it that way then smoke it before cooking, or hot smoke it so it cooks while smoking.

Phil Young, - 26-11-’20 14:01

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the forum.

(optional field)
(optional field)

You need to enter the first 3 letters of food in lowercase type for your comment to be allowed

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible until it has been approved by an editor.

Remember personal info?
Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.
/* */