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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.
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.