Thursday, May 5, 2011


No, this is not an Algerian L'ham Lalou or a Thai Khao Lham. It's yet another of my attempts to invent a new word. It's a lamb-ham. A cured and in this case smoked lamb shank. It was five bucks. Took less than a week. And I smoked it along with a whole chicken and a lot of other little things. Here's what you do. Buy a pair of lamb shanks. Salt them generously with a tiny tiny pinch of instacure #1, and some good unrefined sugar. Add some spice, cloves I like. And thyme. Whatever. In a ziplock in the fridge for about a week. Then smoke over the coldest smoke you can manage - I used hickory soaked in local ruddy zin. Never got above maybe 180 - 200 degrees. In a regular little Weber kettle. A few lumps of hardwood charcoal to get it going. Then hung in the cave (i.e. wine fridge with all the other salumi) for a while. I'm impatient. But I think it should keep a long time. Think of it as a little teeny lham. Carved as is, very thin slices. Lightly cooked, no more.


Ali said...

A lamb-ham. I love it. More people should take up word inventing... worventing.

Actually I think I would have preferred a bam. "Can I offer you another slice of bam sir?"

Ken Albala said...

Ali, you're right. Or as Anna in Britain pointed out to me, macon. I think that will have to be next.

Or even better gam!! Goat Ham.

Anne said...

Mutton or lamb "ham" used to be a staple of hardscrabble farm households in Norway

Jeremy said...

I tried making lamacon, lamb bacon, but it took the cure too well and ended up rather saltier than I prefer. It's good as an ingredient in a quiche with feta and spinach, though.

Ken Albala said...

Anne, do you know how to do Pinnekjott? I'm thinking of making it for the next cookbook. Ken

Adam Balic said...

Shank Ham
Shank Ham
Shank Ham

Ken Albala said...

Adam, that doesn't work. You know since writing this I've found that mutton ham is actually quite common around the world. Scotland of all places, where apparently in the west they revile pig. Who knew?

Adam Balic said...

A lot of mutton ham was produced in Scotland and a lot of it was exported to England. Many 18-19th century cookery books give recipes:

This is from an 18th century Scottish cookbook.

To make Mutton Hams. CUT the hind Quarter of very large fat Mutton like a Ham, then rub it all over with Bay Salt and brown Sugar; let it lye a Day, then put it in the Pickle, made thus: Take a Gallon of Pump Water, two Pounds of Bay Salt, two of white Salt, six Ounces of Salt-petre, and four of Peter-falt, one Pound of brown Sugar, one Ounce of Salt-prunella; put all in the Water, boil it well, and skim it. When cold, put in your Hams, let them lye in it a Fortnight; then hang them up and smoke them with Dale-dust or Shavings ; they must be dry before you make Use of them. You may pickle Bacon Hams the fame Way, or any Sort of Tongues. When you hang up your Mutton Hams, boil the Pickle and lkim it, and when cold you may put in Tongues, but falt them first for three or four Days.

Another Way to make Mutton Hams. CUT the Mutton Ham-ways, take an Ounce of Salt-petre, a Pound of Salt, a Pound of coarse Sugar, two Penny-worth of Cochineal, mix them, and rub the Ham very well, lay it with the Skin Side down, and rub it every Day for sixteen Days, then hang it up to dry . It eats best in broil'd Rashers.

The same cookery book gives direction for pig bacon and ham, as well as veal ham.

There is often mention of a Scottish pork taboo, but I'm not sure how real that is. The development of agriculture in Scotland was very differnt to England, most of the land would have been unsuitable for raising pigs until the agricultural improvments of the late 18th century.

Certainly the most famous bacon cure in Scotland (Ayrshire cure)comes from the very western part of Scotland.

I spoke to a tradional ham producer in Cumbria, England, he recalled mutton hams been made in during WWII, and they called them "Macon". Some producers in the region have been making it on a small scale, it's quite good, much more gamey then regular pig ham.