Curing Process

Father's Curing Process

Fresh Country HamsThe curing process we use is older than the state of Kentucky. Early settlers, who did not have refrigeration or other means of preserving food, brought the process to this part of the country. Today, we still take pride in our “no short-cuts” approach, which produces the unique old-fashioned taste, texture and color of Father’s Country Hams. Fresh slabs of bacon, ready for the curing process!

Gatton Farms carefully selects each ham and cures it using the method perfected and passed down through generations of Gatton’s since 1840. After being hand rubbed twice with our special cure mixture of salt, sugar, brown sugar and nitrites, the hams spend 6 weeks in a refrigerated room. Next, the hams are washed to remove any of the excess cure that may be remaining, and hung in our smoke house & aging rooms for drying, smoking, and aging. It is here the hams are smoked for several days and left hanging at room temperature to age for 8 months or longer.

We cure our bacons using the same curing method. they stay in a refrigerated cooler for 6 to 10 days, then washed & hung in our smoke house for drying and smoking. The bacons are then smoked with real hickory for 96 hours after drying.

Father’s Country Hams and Country Bacons may be shipped unrefrigerated due to our curing method, which removes excess water from the meats during the process. We use more sugar and brown sugar in our cure mixtures than most, reducing the some of the excessive salty taste, but all dry cured meats have a saltier taste than water-cured, processed meats. 

Hams hanging in the smokehouse

Charly and Lynn hand-rubbing Father's cure to the bacon

 Father's Hickory Smoked Country Cured Bacon