Holiday Ham Tips
What Is Ham?
Ham typically refers to meat from the hind leg that has been either wet-cured or dry-cured and often is smoked.
Hams are dry-cured by rubbing salt and spices into the meat’s surface. Wet-curing involves a brine solution that contains water, salt, sugar, and spices. Dry-cured hams are known as ‘country-style.’ Wet-cured hams are most common.
Wet-cured hams are most commonly available in three varieties. Ham with natural juices is a favorite for a dinner centerpiece. This type of ham has had little water added during the curing process. Its velvety texture and attractive appearance make it an ideal choice for holiday meals. Ham with water added retains more water during the curing process than ham with natural juices. This type of ham is ideal for steaks, thin-slicing, and shaving. Ham and water product is a common type of ham, most often found at the deli counter. This type of ham has the most water added to all the ham varieties. It is a great choice for ham that’s intended to be served cold.
A specialty of the southern U.S., old-fashioned, country-style or Southern-style ham is dry-cured and contains no added water. It is extremely salty and usually served in small portions, very thinly sliced.
All varieties of cured ham are either boneless or bone-in. Bone-in hams are traditionally considered more attractive and boneless are considered easier to serve because of simplified carving. Bone-in hams are available in a variety of shapes – whole or as a shank or butt half. Boneless hams also are available in a variety of sizes.
Most hams are fully cooked, as noted on the label. Cooked hams can be served cold or after warming in the oven. Uncooked hams should be heated to an internal temperature of 145° F, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
When serving a bone-in ham, plan on two to three servings per pound. Arrange the ham slices, separate from the bone, on a serving platter.
How To Cook A Ham
Popular methods for cooking ham include roasting, slow-cooking, and grilling. The simplest way to cook your ham is in the oven on 350° F for about 10 minutes per pound.
How Long To Cook A Ham
If your ham is fully cooked, it should take about 10 minutes per pound in a 350° F oven. If your ham is partially cooked, plan on 20 minutes per pound when baking.
To keep your ham moist and juicy when cooking, place the ham cut-side down inside a foil tent.
How To Cook A Spiral Ham
Cooking a spiral-sliced ham is literally as easy as a few steps, and it is the perfect dish for a large gathering. Don’t stop there though! Ham is practical all week long. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, holiday or every day, ham does it all. Check out these great recipes.
Leftover ham is a delicious way to add instant flavor to lots of standby dishes.
Popular Ham Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large Dutch oven, add the cider, onion, fennel, celery, orange zest and juice, and thyme and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the ham, reduce the heat to low, and cover tightly. Simmer, occasionally turning the ham, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Transfer ham to a plate. Strain cooking liquid through a wire sieve over a large bowl, reserving solids and liquid. In a large, wide saucepan, bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 40 to 45 minutes. Set the reduced liquid aside to use in the slaw.
Check out one of our pig farmers, Drew Kuhn here.
Reposted with permission from Pork.org.