Making Air Cured Ham - Dried and Smoked Pork Recipe

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Drying/Smoking: 1,200 hrs
Total: 1,201 hrs
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 3 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
200 Calories
10g Fat
1g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 200
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 529mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 353mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe comes from an expat Bavarian who missed the air-dried ham he could find in his homeland. Also known as Coppa, an Italian label, this kind of meat is called "Rohschinken" in German, or literally "raw ham." Since the steps include smoking as well as a salt cure in this recipe, it is not really raw.

He also uses a nice, inexpensive pork loin roast of 4 to 5 pounds, the kind you find vacuum-packed in groceries from time to time, instead of a leg or hind quarter. It is simpler to find and already deboned, which can make it easier to handle. A fresh ham would work with this recipe as well.

Equipment: Refrigerator, smoker, fruit wood chips or beech wood chips, cotton bag, cool place to hang meat


  • 5 1/4 teaspoons (30 grams) sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries, coarsely ground

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground cinnamon

  • 2 cloves, coarsely ground

  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed, coarsely ground

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coriander, coarsely ground

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, coarsely ground

  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • 1 dried chile pepper, crumbled

  • Garlic, pressed, to taste, optional

  • 4 to 5 pounds pork loin, or ham

  • 1 glass red wine

  • 1 glass vodka, or rum, optional

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix all ingredients together to form a rub, and rub it all over the meat you are using. Place the meat in a plastic bag.

  2. Add a small glass of red wine and a smaller glass of vodka or rum (optional) to the bag. Close the bag and place in the refrigerator.

  3. Turn daily for up to 50 days.

  4. Wash off the meat and let it air dry at cool room temperature (about 65 F). It should be slightly dry on the edges.

  5. If there is no fat on the meat, rub or brush it with olive oil.

  6. Smoke it every day for four days for several hours. Let it rest at cool room temperature in between. Rub it with oil in between as well.

  7. Tie it into a tighter, rounded shape with kitchen cord. Wrap it in a cloth bag and hang it in a cellar or cool garage. The sack is to keep the insects at bay.

  8. Take it down from time to time and roll it around to test the consistency of the meat. Depending on humidity and temperature, the meat will be ready in several weeks (summer) to several months (winter).

Curing Meat Warning

Curing meat requires specific expertise and failure to cure meat properly may result in sickness or death. If you have no experience in this area, we advise you to consult an expert to teach you proper techniques and applications.

Great Resources on Curing Meat

Since curing meat requires such a specific skill set, otherwise, it can lead to illness or worse, we highly recommend consulting with an expert to teach you proper techniques. We found that the following four publications are super helpful guides and go in-depth about just such processes, procedures, and techniques:


  • This meat will keep at room temperature for a while, but most people keep it in the refrigerator or slice it thin and freeze it.
  • This recipe calls for regular sea salt, which contains very little sodium nitrite, the salt which can prevent microorganisms such as Clostridium botulinum. Some commercial hams are made with regular salt but most are made with curing salt or pink salt. Feel free to use pink salt in this recipe instead of sea salt, it is safer from a food safety standpoint.

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