Hamming a Pork Shoulder in One Day

We’ve all been there right, you promise your sweetie a ham for Christmas or for your anniversary and suddenly because of a world wide pandemic, there’s no hams to be had anywhere. You shop and shop but not a ham to be had, and there’s no way this ends well for you. Well fear not my frantic amigo, all hope is not lost.

Hamming is a processes that cures a shoulder of butt cut of pork. The process can take from six days for what is called a city ham, to 12 months for a traditional country ham. I am not an advocate of a 24 hour hamming process when you have six or more days to do it right, but this emergency measure can bail you out of a bind and make your promise to bake ham for a special occasion possible when stores are sold out. And if you think it’s not possible for stores to be sold out of hams, welcome to my 2020 COVID Christmas.

To begin with, you need a sous vide machine and either a raw pork shoulder or pork butt. The pork can either be bone-in or deboned. If you decide to use a bone-in piece of pork because you care about taste and are already craving left over navy bean soup, then for the recipe below, subtract 2 lbs from the weight of the pork, when determining how much of the other ingredients to use. Also, I provide a recipe for ham spice, which is where you can add your flare. My ham spice recipe contains a core group of traditional curing spices but feel free to adopt this to your personal tastes. Finally, you do not have to use Prague salt if either don’t have any or are opposed to adding nitrates to your food. If you opt to use it though, it will enhance the pink appearance of your ham. Also, the clove can quickly become the dominate spice in your cure, so use it with caution. I tend to like a like clove taste in meat but it’s not everyone’ s cup of tea.


  • 4,536 g Pork shoulder, bone-in, fat on with adjust weight = 3,629 g
  • Curing Rub
    • 54 g Kosher salt
    • 5 g Prague salt – optional
    • 109 g Brown sugar
    • 18 g Ham Spice – see recipe below
    • 5 g Liquid smoke – optional
  • Ham Spice
    • 6 g Nutmeg powder
    • 12 g Cinnamon powder
    • 12 g Black pepper – ground
    • 10 g Orange zest – dried, Valencia orange is good choice
    • 16 g Ginger – dried
    • 15 g Star anise
    • 0.5 g Clove
    • 3 g Vanilla powder
  • Glaze
    • 200 g Au jus juice – from sous vide pork
    • 400 g Brown sugar


  1. Prepare ham spice: you will not use it all so store what’s left in a sealed container for next time. Grind ingredients to both mix and to chop up whatever large piece items you have, like the star anise.
  2. Prepare the pork: wash pork then wipe it dry and let it set for a few minutes to air out. Do not trim off the fat you want to use it during both the cure and roasting.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the dry curing rub ingredients together, then rub all over the pork. Put pork in a 2 gallon food grade storage bag. It needs to be a sturdy bag because you’re going to sous vide in it. Toss whatever rub didn’t stick to the pork into the bag along with the liquid smoke if you’re using it.
  4. Ham the Pork: Sous vide the pork for 18 hours at 58 deg. C. (136 F). This step cures, or hams, the pork.
  5. Make glaze:
    1. Remove ham from sous vide bag and drain 200 g of the au jus juice into a sauce pan. You can discard the rest.
    2. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil.
    3. Remove from heat.
  6. Bake Ham
    1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.
    2. Score the fat in a diamond or square pattern and glaze.
    3. Bake ham for 1 hour, fat side up in an uncovered tray; glazing 3-5 times.
    4. Remove from oven and use the tray juice to glaze the ham while it rests for 10 mins.
  7. Serve – I like to slice the ham at the table because this baby will look amazing whole but once you slice it, it loses it’s pizzazz. You can of course slice it in the kitchen and present on a serving plater, which makes your job easier at the dinner table.