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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homemade Ham (GAPS, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free, preservative free)




6 lbs. or so of Pork loin (excess fat removed)

3/4  gallon water

3/4 - 1 cup Himalayan sea salt

1 cup raw honey 

1 tbsp. dried sage

1 tbsp. dried thyme

8 whole peppercorns
1 cup  fresh celery juice (optional)

1 l prepared water kefir (also optional, but does help to prepare pork properly) - or more water + 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice



Place the water, salt, sage, thyme and peppercorns into a saucepan. Heat and  stir until salt is dissolved. Let it cool until just barely warm, then add 1 cup of raw honey. Stir until dissolved.
Let it cool all the way to room temperature, then add 1 bottle of homemade water kefir - this is less for flavor and more for the acid base to properly prepare pork, even though the flavor does contribute.  I love using homemade water kefir root beer in this!

Add the fresh celery juice  too. Stir to combine.

Note that celery juice does contain some natural nitrates, so if you are trying to avoid them, omit the celery juice. I am adding it for flavor, more than anything else.

I cut the loin into about 3 -4 pieces - they brine and smoke more evenly that way.

Place each piece in a gallon zip lock bag, divide brine amongst it.



I like to place my bags in a little box or basket, so they are pushed together a little more. The brine rises and  covers all the meat. That way you don't have to turn the meat.  If you don’t do it this way, turn the meat once a day, so all the sides get brined evenly.


Place in the fridge and let it brine for 3-4 days.

Remove meat from brine and rinse well. Pat it really dry.


{A double batch, just before smoking.}

I hickory smoke it for 3.5-4 hrs. at 200 F until the internal temp is 150F.



{All done! Now just cooling down before slicing and freezing!}

Let it cool and slice/shave it thinly (with a deli slicer!)




Store in the refrigerator. Unlike the commercial ham, this will not keep nearly as long, even when refrigerated, since we have no preservatives. Treat it like you would any other cooked meat.
I find that slicing one of the pieces and keeping it in the fridge, while freezing the others and then taking them out one by one as we slice and eat it, works well!

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  1. Birgit, hi
    I decided to make a ham, and have couple questions ...
    1.where would you recommend me to buy Himalayan sea salt?
    2. hickory smoke - how can i do it with my home bake stove?
    3. Where can I buy sage, and other stuff??

    sorry for bothering you so much, and thank you so much for sharing your amazing secrets.

  2. Hi,
    1.) You can get it at azurestandard.com, vitacost.com, mountainroseherbs.com or from the spicelab on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/12odPgO Unless you're buying in bulk, the amazon/spicelab quantity is usually the best price.
    2. I have no idea. I have only smoked meats in my smoker.
    3.) I grow sage in my garden, but for other herbs and spices, my go to place is mountainroseherbs.com

  3. Birgit, thank you very much for your kindness.
    I have so much to learn from you!


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Birgit Kerr