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Brine to make Ham - Recipe

This is a multi-purpose brine, but excellent for 'Jambon de Paris' - if the meat is soaked for a minimum of 10 days.


10 pints of Still Mineral Water
700gr/1½ lbs Sea Salt
700gr/1½ Sugar (Dark Molasses are best, but granulated still OK)
110gr/4 oz Saltpetre

Put this mixture in a big stainless steel pan (not aluminium, which will react), and slowly bring it to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut a small square of clean muslin, large enough to hold the following –

2 level teaspoons (10ml) Juniper Berries
2 small pieces of Nutmeg (ungrated, a good way of using-up small pieces)
2 Bay Leaves
6 sprigs of Thyme
2 level tablespoons (30ml) Black Peppercorns
8 Cloves


- Clean a crock thoroughly with boiling water, then allow to dry naturally.

- By now the brine should be boiling away.

- Put in the bag of spices and herbs, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to become completely cold. This will take much longer than you might suppose.

- Strain the brine into a crock, and immerse the prepared pork. Put a board (or something similar) on top, to keep the meat below the surface.

- Store at larder temperature, covered to keep the flies out.

If needing to stir the mixture, only do so with sterilised implements.

Belly and other thin cuts will be ready in 6 days, whole legs of pork, for immediate use, in 10 days (but if wishing to keep for a while, 3 weeks marination is needed)

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