By Samantha Lowe

Before easy access to previously cured or perpetually refrigerated meat at both local grocery stores and in our homes, salt boxes were employed to preserve the much-needed proteins that meat provides over long periods of time. Building a salt box is quite simple; the box is just a means for storing the meat in a large quantity of salt while it preserves.

Preserving ham or other meats only in salt is called a dry-cure.

Step 1

Rinse out the cooler with a hose to remove any dirt or debris. Insert a 1/4-inch drill bit into a handheld drill.

Step 2

Drill five to eight holes in the bottom of the cooler depending on its size, to allow for drainage. Ensure that these are evenly spread throughout the bottom of the cooler.

Step 3

Flip the cooler upside down on a 1/2-inch-thick plywood board. Trace it using a pencil to replicate the dimensions of the top on to the board. Remove the cooler and set it aside.

Step 4

Draw a smaller cooler inside the tracing, removing 1 inch from each side by measuring in from the original tracing using the measuring tape. Use a handheld saw to cut out the square.

Step 5

Sand the edges of the cut-out to ensure that no splinters will fall in to the salt when curing.

Step 6

Place salt, meat and curing rub into the cooler. Set the wooden board on top of the meat with several clean bricks evenly distributed on top of the board; this will aid in the water being pressed out of the meat. Place the lid on the cooler securely, over the wooden board and weights. Check on the meat every day or two, according to your salting recipe.