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Macon Ham

Meat and Meat Dishes
Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland

(or Mutton Ham, Mutton Bacon, Macon)

'Macon' is mutton cured like bacon or ham. Although mutton has been salted and cured for centuries (Glasse 1747, etc), the name 'macon' appears to have been invented during the Second World War as The Ministry of Food attempted to get people to use up the surpluses of sheep. Macon is still home-made on northern farms, but is only rarely available commercially. Search for more about Mutton Ham...

Mutton Ham, 2016
Image: http://www.bmv-butchery.co.uk

Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy' by Hannah Glasse, 1747 (Glasse 1747);

To make mutton hams.
YOU must take a hind-quarter of mutton, cut it like a ham, take one ounce of salt-petre, a pound of coarse sugar, a pound of common salt; mix them and rub your ham, lay it in a hollow tray with the skin downwards, baste it every day for a fortnight, then roll it in saw-dust, and hang it in the wood-smoke a fortnight; then boil it, and hang it in a dry place, and cut it out in rashers. It don't eat well boiled, but eats finely broiled.

Original Receipt from 'Lakeland Recipes Old and New' Published by Countryside Publications Ltd, School Lane, Brinscall, Chorley, Lancashire. (Tamley-Reed Ltd, ISBN 0 86157 008 1). Copyright Joan Poulson 1978. Found by Linda Johnson

Page 10 No. 3 Mutton Ham

1 small leg of mutton
11/2 oz butter
Demerara or Barbados sugar
A good pinch of thyme
8oz bay salt
12oz common salt
6 bay leaves
4 pints water
Bay leaves
21/2 oz juniper berries
Lemon peel

Rub the mutton well with sugar and leave in a cool place for twelve hours, turning two or three times.
Simmer the salts, juniper berries, butter, thyme and six bay leaves in the water for an hour. When cooled to blood heat put in the meat, with any remaining sugar.
Leave for two to three weeks, remove and dry, then smoke if possible. Otherwise wrap in clean muslin and hang until required. When cooking, add the given flavourings to the water.

We're grateful to Philip Atkinson for discovering this...

Original Receipt from the ‘Suppers’ chapter of Peggy Hutchinson’s Old English Cook Book - Peggy Hutchinson (Foulsham) 1937

I have received four country recipes for pickling legs of mutton, so doubting Thomases on farms can get busy and kill a lamb, feeling sure the “guid wife” will not waste a bit.
Although it is many years since I tasted this joint, I can remember just how succulent it was. It must have been so to remain in my mind over 20 years. My grateful thanks are due to the senders of these recipes.

From Bedale
I used to pickle both watching and beef some years ago when we had to hand sometimes three farm men in the house. The following is my recipe:
1 1/2 lbs common salt, 6 ozs. Demerara sugar, 1/4 oz. saltpetre to 1 gallon of water. A leg of mutton is delicious pickled. The legs and shoulders are best pickled, and before roasting I put them in cold water too steep for one or two hours. One Good Friday I had some gentlemen to dinner and had up pickled lady [leg ?] of mutton. They say they hadn't tasted anything is so delicious for sometime.

Mutton Ham—the Hawes Way
Cut a hindquarter of mutton in the shape of a ham, and allow it to hand for two or three days. Mix 1/2 lb. of bay salt, 2 ozs. saltpetre, 1/2 lb. common salt, and 1/2 lb. course sugar, all well pounded together, and make hot before the fire. Rub well into the meat, turning it in the liquor everyday. After 4 days, add 2 ozs. more salt, and let the meat remain 12 days in the brine; then take it out, dry it, and hang it up in woodsmoke for a week, or dry off like an ordinary ham.
Another pickle is: 1 oz. saltpetre, 1 lb. coarse sugar, 1 lb. salt–the ham to be kept in this pickle our fortnight.

From Kirklevington
Get a short leg of mutton, some coarse sugar, 1/2 lb. bay salt, ¾ lb. common salt, 11/2 ozs. butter, 21/2 ozs. juniper berries, a pinch of sweet thyme, half-dozen bay leaves, and 2 quarts of water.
Rub the leg with the coarse sugar and leave it for 12 hours, turning it 2 or 3 times during that period. Have the pickle made from the spices, salt, and herbs as above, simmered with the butter and 2 quarts of water for two hours. When luke warm, placed the mutton in the pickle with any of the sugar left over. Rub the joint every day for 2 or 3 weeks as convenient. Take out, wipe dry and, if possible, have it smoked. If not smoked, put it in a calico bag and hang it in a dry place till required for use. Boil like an ordinary leg, peppercorns, bay leaves and lemon peel to the water during process.

Carthorpe Pickle for Meat
To every gallon of water, add 2 lb. of common salt, 1/4 lb. moist sugar, 1 oz. saltpetre. Biol together and let it stand until cold.
A common piece of meat put into this, and left for 4 to 6 days, is delicious when boiled. It can stay longer in the pickle, but that is a matter of individual taste.

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