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A VIRGINIA RECIPE FOR CURING HAMS
"Rub each ham separately with ½ teaspoonful of saltpetre (use a small
spoon); then rub each ham with a large tablespoonfulof best black
pepper; then rub each ham with a gill of molasses (black strap is
Then for 1,000 lbs. of ham take
3-1/4 pecks of coarse salt,
2-1/2 lbs. of saltpetre,
2 qts. hickory ashes,
2 qts. molasses,
2 teacupfuls of red pepper.
"Mix all together on the salting table. Then rub each ham with this
mixture, and, in packing, spread some of it on each layer of ham. Use
no more salt than has been mixed. Pack skin down and let stand for
five weeks, then hang in the smoke house for five or six weeks, and
smoke in damp weather, using hickory wood.
"As a ham, however well cured, is of no use to civilized man until it
is cooked, and as this crowning mystery is seldom revealed out of
Virginia, it may not be out of place to record here the process."