Mangalitsa Country Ham

We started curing our mangalitsa country ham at the end of May, we went with 1.5 days of curing time per pound. After the curing process we hung the ham to dry and form a pelicle.

We have an electric smoker at the hotel that automatically feeds itself hickory pellets. You can set the time, temp, and hold time if you like. The only issue is it doesn't produce a lot of smoke if you set it below 140F. Our country ham required 2 days of smoking @ 100F so I took it home and used my smoker which is much more time consuming but runs on good old Florida oak. I've been working with it for long enough that I know how to control the temperature for long periods of time.

I soaked some oak logs and trim to quell the fire when necessary. The one benefit of having a huge smoker in this case it takes a long time to heat but requires a lot of attention when it comes to keeping a low flame going for such a long period of time.

This is the ham that has already gone for a day in the smoker. I removed it until I had time to give it one more run.

You can see the smoke already at work after the first day but we wanted more.

This is after the second round of smoking. We have a really nice crust on the meat, The skin is hard as a rock and we are ready to begin the aging process.

Here it is back at home in our cooler where it will stay for the next 12 months or so. We ended up rubing the exposed meat with a mixture of lard, curing spices, and corn flour for added protection which you do not see here.


  1. It is neat to see your ham.

    I suggest you sniff that corn flour now and then. If it starts going rancid, maybe you can stop the ham from stinking by replacing the corn with wheat flour.

  2. THanks Heath, we'll keep checking it. We decided to go with corn flour after doing some research. When you get a full leg of Iberico, Serrano, or Parma ham it has a paste rubbed over the exposed meat. We were trying to figure out what they used and ended up finding a piece on Herb and Kathy Eckhouse from La Quercia in Iowa who produce traditional parma style hams. They spent a year in Italy researching ham and came up with a mixture of lard, corn flour and some of the original cure mixed together to form a light paste to protect and preserve their own hams. We have heard of people using semolina or durum wheat in their paste in Italy but I liked the idea of corn flour. I love corn flour period, we use freshly milled yellow corn flour from Anson Mills and the flavor is amazing. Hopefully this will add another element to our finished product. Our ham will be aged at 36F, so it may take longer but we shouldn't have an issue with the corn flour going rancid, I hope. It's our first run at it so we will just have to wait and see.

  3. I suggest you do two hams, one with wheat flour and one with cornmeal, and see which turns out better.

    I have to figure that the Italians, who've had access to both corn and wheat for hundreds of years, use what they use for a reason.

  4. I read the Italians use rice flour too. I would figure that's white rice, because it is so neutral.

    That's another thing to try.