kassler ham easter

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 to 72 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: Smoker temp at 250F; cook to 150 deg. IT. Double wrap in plastic wrap and double foil. Place in a cooler to rest for an hour. I preheat my oven to 200 deg. then turn off and let rest there. Remove and when cool enough place in the fridge for two days before using.

 I cut back on the salt and sugar. Noted in parenthesis and added 3 bay leaves. Otherwise I followed the recipe.

 Above is the original recipe.


I first found a recipe from Bubba at 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 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 days then air dry overnight in the fridge.