Ham is the most popular entree for the perfect holiday meal. Not sure what type of ham to choose or how long to cook your ham for? Looking for the perfect ham glaze? Awesome, we put together this “Ultimate Step-by-Step Holiday Ham Guide” that will help you create the perfect holiday ham meal with ease. In this guide you will learn how to choose the perfect type of ham, how to thaw, prepare, cook and carve the ham as well as different types of ham recipes and sides that help make a complete holiday meal. We will also show you where your ham comes from, how to test the temperature properly, what ham recipes work the best and different ways to glaze your ham. We will also show you what to do with your left over ham meat and ham bones! Look at the table of contents below to guide you to the section you are interested in or you can follow this ultimate holiday ham guide step-by-step.
Table of Contents:
Section 3: Additional Tips
- Ham Carving
- The Right Accessories
- Re-purposing your ham
Section 4: Sides and Recipes
- Ham Recipes
- Additional Recipes
Section 1: Where To Start
Table of Contents:
- Where does ham come from on a pig?
- Different Classes Of Ham
- How Are Hams Cured?
- What Are The Different Types Of Ham Meat?
- How Many Pounds Of Ham Do I Need?
Where does ham come from on a pig?
Ham meat usually comes from the upper thigh or upper part of a pig’s leg and is dried and salted or smoked. Although some types of fresh ham come dry-cured or wet-cured. Ham cuts get divided into a shank and butt before going through further processing to become a fresh ham roast, center ham slices, fresh ham steak or a whole cured ham.
The word “ham” came from the Old English term “hom or ham” meaning the bend of the knee or hollow, from a Germanic base where it meant “crooked”. It referred to the cut of pork around the hind leg of a swine(pig) around the turn of the 15th century.
The duration of curing hams can take anywhere from 9 months to 2 years to fully cure the ham meat depending on the type of ham in question.
Different Ham Classes
The two basic classes of ham are wet-cured ham and dry-cured ham. Dry-cured hams are some of cuts of ham you can find. From Italy’s pancetta and prosciutto to Spain’s jamon Serrano and American country hams.
However, most Americans are familiar with Wet-cured hams (HoneyBaked® Ham, Cook’s, Nueske’s and Hormel. These are hams that you unwrap, put into the oven and bake.
How Are Ham’s Cured?
Curing ham requires water, salt, sugar and long smoking time. A proper cure starts out with chemically injected brine and finishes with liquid smoke.
What Are The Different Ham Meat Types?
“Country” Ham – A country ham is usually dry cured with a sugar and salt rub that gets dry aged for up to 3 years. Country hams have intense flavor and can come un-smoked or smoked, but sold raw.
“City” Ham – Less intense flavor than country-ham, comes wet-cured, and is the most popular type of ham in the United States.
“Partly-Cooked” Ham – These hams are smoked and heated at the perfect temperature to kill parasites . Whats the perfect temperature for killing parasites in ham? 137 degrees.
“Full-Cooked” Ham – Fully cooked hams are heated to the perfect temperature then served immediately. Whats the perfect temperature to fully cook your ham? 130 degrees then serve warm.
“Water Added” Ham – If you see “water added” on the label of your ham, that means it has been injected with water(brine) to increase the shipping weight of the ham. These are cheaper types of hams and are less flavorful. Critics say water added hams have a spongy type of texture and placed these these types of hams as the least sought after.
“Boneless” Ham – These types of ham are reshaped and processed into an oval shape, with ground ham being used as a binder.
“Picnic” Ham – Picnic hams come from the pork shoulder, come fully cooked and smoked. This type of ham doesn’t actually quality to be a ham necessarily but tastes so much like it that it is accepted as one of the different types of ham.
How Many Pounds Of Ham Do I Need?
|Ham Type||Appetizer Size||Dinner Size|
|City Bone-in Ham||3 oz per guest||8-10 oz per guest|
|City Boneless Ham||2 oz per guest||6-8 oz per guest|
|Country-Ham||3 oz per guest||3-4 oz per guest|