Banat Ham

Cured meats and meat products - Serbia

Banatska šunkaBanat ham is a delicacy made from the legs of white pigs - Yorkshire, Landrace and other heavier than 130 kg live weight. The leg is with knuckle and bacon, nice shaped, without snicks and more parts, weighing between 10 and 15 kg. The knuckle is not cut through. Fresh legs stay on cold place for 48 hours. Then are salted on all sides with mixture of sea salt and crushed or powdered garlic and stacked in a wooden vat. Dry brining lasts 40 days. After that the legs are removed and desalinated putting them in cold water. Ratio between water and meat is 2 : 1. After 24 hours in cold water, the legs are washed with warm water. Draining and drying lasts one day, hanging in smokehouse. Smoking process in cool smoke lasts for next 7-8 days. Source of smoke is beech chips with added berries – 300 g of fruit per 10 kg of chips. Smoking temperature must be below 35 °C. After smoking, the hams are kept in a cool, ventilated, dry and dark place. The hams are technologically mature after 6 months, but still soggy and not very pleasant for consumption. Real full quality hams need at least additional 6 months in a cool, ventilated, dry and dark place. After that, they can be stored for up to 4 years.   Banat ham is at risk of disappearing because all small craft butchers in Southern Banat County are closed and large industrial butchers do not want to produce this specialty because its production cycle lasts for one year. To vulnerability of the Banat ham contributed also closedown of all big pig farms in Southern Banat County. Only about 1000 head of white meaty pig are now available for the meat industry.