Kassler Ham

Kasseler German pork loin




4 liters (1 gallon) water

1 ½ cups  kosher salt (1 cup)

1 ¼ cups sugar  (¾ cup)

2 ¾ TBS pink salt

Fresh or dried sage leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 T. juniper berries

1 tsp. coriander

garlic cloves


1 pork loin without back ribs, 4 - 5 pounds


Alder or beech wood chips

Smoker or grill


Meat thermometer

How to make it

Stir together the ingredients for the brine and heat to a simmer to dissolve all the salt and sugar. Refrigerate until completely cold.

Prepare the loin by removing all but a thin layer of fat. I recommend a loin, not a rib roast. Inject the loin with the brine. Place the loin in the brine and weight it down with a plate or other object to keep it submerged.

Refrigerate for 48 hours.

 Remove the loin from the brine. Discard brine.Wash off the pork with cold water and pat dry. You may dry it in the refrigerator for up to a day (do not cover with any wrap).

 Prepare your smoker: Start your charcoal fire in the bottom of the smoker an hour before you want to smoke the meat. Smoker temp at 250F

 Soak 2 cups (or so) of wood chips (preferably alder for this project) in some water.

Place your smoking tray (or aluminum foil tray) on top of the charcoal and add 1/2 cup wet wood chips.

 Place the meat on the grill, cover and smoke 2 - 3 hours, until the internal temperature is 150°F or above. Add more wet chips as needed to keep the smoke up.

Above is the original recipe.


I first found a recipe from Bubba at http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?t=5147 which is a Homemade Sausage Making forum. All other recipes I have found looks like a copy of his ingredients.

 There was concern on that forum about the short brining time and all agreed injecting with the brine was a must. I injected mine with the brine and it set for 60 hours in the brine. I rinsed it well and air dried in the fridge for 2 ½ hours before smoking.

 I cut back on the salt and sugar per advice from my guru Poppa Tom at pelletheads. Noted in parenthesis and added 3 bay leaves. Otherwise I followed the recipe.

 I did mine on smoke mode for an hour then went to 225 deg. on my Traeger pellet smoker for the rest of the cook. I was using Traeger oak pellets and added some additional smoke with Amazn tube smoker filled with Smokin Bros. 100% apple wood pellets. With the Traeger set at 225 deg. it will run about 245 deg. at grill level. It was up to an IT of 150 deg. for a total cook time of 3 ¼ hours. I pulled and covered with foil for a half hour rest then let cool about another hour. I wrapped in plastic wrap and the foil; placed in the fridge for two days before slicing and reheating.

 I thought it turned out great, a good ham taste but less salty than most ham and a little sweeter with a slight smoke taste. It was tender but had good texture. I thought I got good penetration from the cure and brine, when I sliced it; it was a uniform color all through.

 If I do over I will probably go with injecting and brine 3 ½ days then air dry overnight in the fridge. If you don’t inject I would say you should go with 5 to 7 days brining.