University Extension workshop
University Extension in Texas County will hold a country cured ham workshop.

The University Extension in Texas County will conduct a country cured ham workshop on Jan. 17 for youth and adults.

Before the onset of refrigeration, many Missourians cured hams and pork bellies as a method of preserving food. Country cured hams are not cooked, just preserved, through a combination of salt, sugar and other spices that preserves the meat without refrigeration.

Country cured hams may bring back fond memories for older people, but may be an acquired taste for younger people. Smoke houses were a common fixture on many farms and rural homes prior to refrigeration. The smoke houses were not used to actually cook the meat, but to give the preserved hams a smoky flavor.

Ham selection and the correct amount of cure applied is key to your success when curing hams. That is why the MU Extension is offering a “Country Cured Ham Workshop.” Attendees will learn how the curing and aging process works, as well as how to smoke and prepare a country cured ham for exhibiton or a meal.

Many young people have opportunities to exhibit cured hams at local, district and state fairs during the summer. A country cured ham makes an excellent 4-H or FFA project, and a great meal for everyone.

The workshop is a one-hour class between 5 and 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, at the Extension center in downtown Houston on Main Street. People registering can choose the time that works for them. Everything will be supplied, and everyone will leave with a ham ready to hang in an unheated building with good ventilation so the curing process can take place. Participants will also be given instructions on the aging process and how to smoke the ham for flavor.

The fee to attend is $50 per person.

To register, or for more information, call the Texas County Extension office at 417-967-4545 or visit the office in person. Online registration is available at

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