I love all foods Creole and Cajun. I love making jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo, and dirty rice. To really make authentic, unbelievably tasty dishes I like to add homemade tasso ham. Sometimes it’s hard to find tasso ham here in Indianapolis, so I set out to make my own and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
Not only tender, spicy and tasty, but incredibly easy to make too, the homemade tasso ham was a success. All you need is a pork butt or shoulder, a few spices, and a smoker.
Homemade tasso ham takes 3-4 days to age before smoking. I started out with an 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder. Ideally you’ll want a smaller, boneless pork butt, but that day in the market a shoulder was all I could find. Cutting the shoulder into “steaks”, each about 1″ thick, I kept the bone section and smoked it at the same time I smoked the homemade tasso ham. The bone-in section will be great in a pot of beans at a later time.
The meat is generously covered in a cure and placed on a rack in the fridge for 3 hours. It lost a LOT of moisture during this process.
Next, I rinsed off the cure and patted the meat dry. Onto a rack and back into the fridge for 3-4 days. The meat will firm up during this time.
Onto the smoker…
The last day, I sprinkled the meat with rub and put it onto a 250 F smoker over hickory for about 3 hours until the internal temperature reached 170 F. I removed it, rested it, and then sliced it thick for later use in jambalaya, beans, etc.
The end result is a spicy, almost-hammy meat that is absolutely fantastic. Although you could eat it by itself, homemade tasso ham is primarily used for flavoring dishes.
This homemade tasso ham is fantastic in my crispy shrimp in tasso sauce and spicy corn and tasso casserole.
Also try my smoked shanks and homemade Canadian bacon.
Servings 2 pounds
- 1 4 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt
For the cure
- 1 cup salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon pink salt
For the rub
- 2 tablespoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon allspice
Slice the butt into 1" thick "steaks", each about a pound or so
Combine all cure ingredients and rub generously over the pork.
Place onto a wire rack over a baking pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Rinse cure off the meat and pat dry.
Return meat to rack in the fridge and let it age for 3 days.
Fire up a smoker for 250 F cooking. Use hickory or a lighter wood for smoking.
Combine the rub ingredients and spread gently over the meat.
Smoke for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat reaches 170 F internally.
Foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing thick.