Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

TdeV

Questions about cooked ham

Recommended Posts

From my local university meat market (they raise the meat), I've bought a Valentine's special cooked Ham For Two (2.25 lbs) for about $7.
 
From Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, for President's Day, I bought a special (50% off) Cooked Boneless Wigwam Ham (4.5 to 5.5 lbs) for $80.
 
I like ham a lot and intend to do some testing.
 
However, searching the internet (and eGullet) produces instructions to roast ham for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a 350F oven or so (coated with honey or mustard or other interesting stuff).
 
Should one even be roasting a cooked meat? My experience with sous vide suggests that reheating meat tends to dry it out.
 
What gives?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sous vide cooked ham at 145F.  Comes out nice and juicy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ElsieD, how long for? And do you put anything else in the bag?


Edited by TdeV Clarity (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always glaze and roast cooked hams at 300, 20 minutes per pound. Tent with foil, but don't cover tightly. Doesn't dry out.

 

  • Like 3

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a regular oven it is a dense piece of meat so to get it a bit firm and glaze nice as @kayb describes makes sense. But I am odd - not a fan of juciy ham.  Not applicable to a Smithfield or similar country ham 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @heidih. What's the difference between juicy, Smithfield or country ham?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A country ham is one that's dry-cured over a long period of time, producing a proscuitto-like product that's very dry to start with. It generally comes uncooked.Typical cooking method for American country ham may involve soaking it to remove some of the salt, then baking or roasting in a sauce, or frying. Some people will boil an entire country ham, and then fry slices to crisp them up a bit.

 

A "city ham," or as my family used to call them, "packing house ham," is one that's not cured nearly as long and is often either hot-smoked or otherwise cooked before selling. That's the typical spiral-sliced hams or other packed-in-plastic hams you find in the grocery. Most, but not all, have water or some such solution injected into them, and in any case, they're a much more moist product.

 

Country ham is a much stronger flavor, and it's quite tough if not cooked for a long time in a wet medium of some sort. There's a definite funk to it, as well as the strong saltiness. City hams are the ones that are most often glazed with a sweet glaze. Deli ham is a close cousin of city ham.

 

I have to confess that, while hearing about Smithfield hams often, I have never had one and don't know where they fall on that spectrum.

 

You didn't ask, but I will tell you the Appleton Farms spiral sliced half-ham from Aldi is one of the best city hams you can get, at least as far as I'm concerned. I order my country ham in pre-sliced packages, either breakfast steaks or biscuit pieces, from Broadbent's in Kentucky.

 

 

 


Edited by kayb (log)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, TdeV said:

@ElsieD, how long for? And do you put anything else in the bag?

 

 

I just did a small Black Forest ham for 2 1/2 hours at 145F.  The only other one I do is a smoked picnic pork shoulder which is I think different from the Wigwam ham.  Or at least the price would suggest that.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/19/2019 at 9:02 PM, TdeV said:

@ElsieD, how long for? And do you put anything else in the bag?

 

 

Sorry, I just realized I didn't answer part two of your question.  No, I don't add anything to the bag.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/20/2019 at 11:56 AM, kayb said:

I have to confess that, while hearing about Smithfield hams often, I have never had one and don't know where they fall on that spectrum.

Smithfield is a brand name. Like Cook's, etc. I buy them at Walmart. From your description, they're not a country ham (though Smithfield may sell those, too. I don't know their product line). I get the Smithfield spiral sliced ham and it's quite good.

  • Like 1

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Toliver said:

Smithfield is a brand name. Like Cook's, etc. I buy them at Walmart. From your description, they're not a country ham (though Smithfield may sell those, too. I don't know their product line). I get the Smithfield spiral sliced ham and it's quite good.

Hmmm. I’m no expert on hams but I’m quite sure that one has to be careful to distinguish between the Smithfield ham from Smithfield Virginia and the brand named ham.  I think saying they are the same thing is a little like saying that Iberico is just sliced ham from the deli. 

 


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I now have more questions than answers!

 

Any suggestions where I could go to read about hams?

 

(I haven't heard a peep from Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, though a wonderful smelling ham showed up via UPS today). 🙄

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, TdeV said:

Well, I now have more questions than answers!

 

Any suggestions where I could go to read about hams?

 

(I haven't heard a peep from Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, though a wonderful smelling ham showed up via UPS today). 🙄

 

I I know there are people on eG who are much more qualified to direct you to a very valid explanation of the real McCoy and I’m going to leave it to them.  What I know about a ham is that it’s the definition of eternity for two people and even worse for a singleton!  

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked Amazon and found a couple of books, neither of which impressed me. I recommend going to southernfoodways.org and searching for "country ham." That yields interviews with several long-time makers. You can also go to the websites of most of the major producers (Benton's, Father's, Broadbent, etc.) and most will have an intro that will give their history and a few insights into the curing of ham.

 

What I remember about curing ham, something we didn't do after I was maybe 10 or 11, was butchering the hogs and breaking out the back legs; my best recollection is the skin would be left on. The legs would go into the "salt box, a three foot square box with about six inches of salt inside it. They'd be arranged, skin side up, on the salt, and then covered with salt. If we were curing enough hams, another layer would go on top of that, topped off with more salt.

 

I don't recall how long they'd stay in the cure, but a couple or three weeks, at least. Then they'd come out of the cure and be encased in a "sock," a loosely knit sleeve of material, with a knot tied in each end, loosely wrapped in butcher paper, and hung in the smokehouse. They'd be smoked for a few days, and then left to hang in the smokehouse all winter, until it started getting warm. Then they'd move to the cellar or springhouse to continue to hang until we were ready to cut one.

 

We never cured a city ham, but my understanding is it's a wet brine for a much shorter time (24-48 hours), then allowed to dry overnight and then smoked or baked.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With respect to the Edward's Wigwam, this is a country ham that has been fully cooked.  Cooking further would be detrimental at this stage.  The best use of this would be to slice it thin on biscuits.  If you must cook it, you could slice it and pan fry for a minute or two to caramelize it, but I wouldn't.

 

Also, true Smithfield hams are country hams. Smithfield, Va was the first place in the states to have a major ham industry, mainly for export to the Caribbean where meat was harder to raise, and the hams became renowned.  Smithfield Foods, the large pork processor, might also make other types of ham, but most are not true Smithfield hams and not marketed as such.  In fact, last I read there was nobody producing hams that can be called Smithfield hams at this stage, as they are no longer cured in the right jurisdiction, although I believe there is some plan to change that.  The Edwards ham would have been produced a few miles away across the James River in Surrey, and thus is not a Smithfield.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it intersting that the first place I ever saw a Smithfield country ham in that sort of canvas bag was many many years ago (pre internet) at a Chinese market (99 Ranch). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/21/2019 at 4:44 PM, TdeV said:

Any suggestions where I could go to read about hams?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Kaminsky's Pig Perfect.  It has loads of info on hams.  Some of the info is a bit dated now, but it is still a good read.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/22/2019 at 5:55 PM, heidih said:

I find it intersting that the first place I ever saw a Smithfield country ham in that sort of canvas bag was many many years ago (pre internet) at a Chinese market (99 Ranch). 

 

Most Chinese grocers in the US stock country hams as a replacement for Yunnan ham, which is not imported.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, last week's Cooking Issues podcast discussed "domestic" country hams (Newsom's, Broadbent, Edwards, etc.).  Basically, Dave's take is that almost all of the hams that are aged 1-2 years are a good products and they are worth the premium over the stuff that is not aged as long.  It made me want to pull the trigger on one of those 'extra' premium hams.   IIRC, he also thinks domestic country ham is a totally different category of product than things like Jamón Ibérico and thus the two should not be compared.

 

For those not familiar with Cooking Issues, you may find it is an acquired taste (so to speak).  It took me a while to warm up to it, but now I really look forward to the new episodes. 

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a general rule, the better country hams are, in fact, aged longer, from 12-24 months. Past 24 months, it makes little difference. Some "mass" producers hurry that process along, and yes, you can tell it.

 

I'm not sure of the curing process for jamon iberico and proscuitto and serrano, but I know they must not depend as much on salt. Good country ham is salty as all hell.

 

  • Thanks 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2019 at 4:41 PM, tazerowe said:

 

Most Chinese grocers in the US stock country hams as a replacement for Yunnan ham, which is not imported.

 

I just came home from my local Chinese market with an Edwards Classic Country Ham in the cloth bag, ~15lbs, for significantly less than the online  + delivery price.  Last one, or maybe only one they had.  I brought it home.  This won't be an Easter ham, since I already took delivery of Nueske's smoked ham.   King of impulse buys , I'd say. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...