When I shot my first whitetail doe this year, I knew what cuts exactly I wanted. Having plans for your upcoming harvests can help you move swiftly through the butchering process as well. Doing this allowed me to have direction when butchering to keep everything flowing smoothly. One of the first cuts I finished was a cut for a ham.
For this I choose to debone the hind quarter and use the whole round to make this ham. The round is made up of several muscle groups which are better known as inside round, bottom round, and eye of round. These all have great muscle structure and make for great hams.
In order to make a ham, I needed to let it brine for a while before smoking it as well. My brine incorporated water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed, juniper berries, bay leaves, and cure salt. There’s a lot of controversy around curing salts in the health world, since it is a nitrite. This ham wasn’t all that big, and I will be freezing most of it to pull out when I want, so I’m fine with using cure salt in this instance.
After brining my venison for about 3.5 days, it was ready to go on the smoker. If you’re doing a larger one, you’ll need to let it brine longer. Most brine times are at least a week or more, depending on the size. I got a ham net from the butcher shop to put this thing into to keep it all together as well. They’re cheap, easy to use, and will fit most hams. You’ll need to stuff it in there as tight as possible and then tie it off to keep it tight. Optionally you could tie it all together as well, but the ham net works better in my opinion.
Making your own venison ham opens up tons of possibilities for homemade dishes as well. I kept mine simple at first and made two sandwiches. First was a French sandwich that consists of a baguette, butter, ham, and salt. That’s it. Its an elegant sandwich that only gets better with better quality ingredients. The second was a Cuban sandwich too. I used some smoked backstrap using the Harvesting Nature Big Game Rub in this sandwich, along with the venison ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, and Tacticalories Rowdie Townie Beer Mustard here too. I’ll bet you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich like this!