I took a look at a grocers' manual today at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. and thought I would share with you its recipes for Virginia ham. Have fun with this project!
"To Cure Hams as is Practiced in Virginia. Take six pounds of fine salt, three pounds of brown sugar, or three pints of molasses, and one pound of salt petre powdered; mix all these together; to serve for twenty hours; rub each ham well all over with this mixture, and pack them down in a cask or tub, and let them so remain for five or six days; then turn them, and sprinkle some salt slightly over them, and so let them remain five or six days longer, then add brine or pickle strong enough to bear an egg, and let them remain covered with it for a month, when they will be fit to smoke. Hams cured after this manner will be sweet and good for any length of time."
"Another Method. For three hams, pound and mix together, half a peck of salt, half an ounce of salt prunella, four ounces of salt petre, and four pounds of course sugar, rub the hams well with this, and lay what is the spare over them, let them lie three days, then hang them up. Take the pickle in which the hams were, put water enough to cover the hams, with more common salt, until it will bear an egg, then boil and skim it well, and put it in the salting tub, and the next morning put in the hams; keep them down the same as pickled pork; in a fortnight take them out of the liquor, rub them well with the brine, and hang them up to dry."
from Willliam Beastall, A useful guide, for grocers, distillers, hotel & tavern-keepers, and wine and spirit dealers, of every denomination; : being a complete directory for making and managing all kinds of wines and spirituous liquors; containing the most approved and valuable receipts, 1st. For making artificial and imitation wines, brandies, rum, and geneva. 2nd. For lowering brandy, rum, and geneva down to proof. 3d. For brewing and managing ale, beer, porter, cider, and vinegar. 4th. For making and distilling all kinds of French and English cordials. 5th For salting, curing, pickling, and preserving beef, pork, and fish. 6th For making the best pickles and preserves, and putting them up for sale, according to the London plan. 7th. For preserving fruits and vegetables, fresh and good, throughout the year. Many of these receipts are from manuscripts, and have never before been published. The whole forming the most complete body of useful and valuable information on this subject, ever presented to its readers. (New York: Published by the author, 1829), p. 306.