Candy Cap Ham
Makes 1 gallon of brine. This brined about 3 gallons of meat. For smaller quantities, divide ingredients by 4 or 8 to make a quart or pint.
1 1/2 cups salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh candy caps
1/2 cup kombucha or vinegar
Blend the candy caps in the blender with a pint of water. Combine this puree with the remaining above ingredients and 3 1/2 quarts of water. Pour over meat in a large non-corrosive pot or clean bucket, cover and put it in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days, turning the meat every 3 to 4 days.
After 7 to 10 days, smoke the meat. If you do not have a smoker, you can smoke it in a wood stove or barbeque by building a small fire, just with kindling, at one side of a barbeque or at the back or side of a wood stove. Put the brined meat into a metal bowl that you don't mind if it gets funky, and put the bowl of meat at the other end of the barbeque or wood stove. Close up the barbeque, and close the air vents, or damp down the stove as much as possible. Smoke for about 20 to 30 minutes. The ham will probably not be cooked completely, and should be baked or otherwise cooked before eating. It may be wrapped and frozen for later use.
I do not use nitrates in my ham. If you are concerned about botulism, I'm sure you could make a delicious ham with nitrates added. I figure the salt, sugar and vinegar, and the refrigeration during brining, all inhibit the growth of botulism. I'm more concerned about cancer from the nitrates than botulism from my ham.