U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Food and Drink
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
View Poll Results: Country ham - love it or hate it?
I love it 31 56.36%
I hate it 8 14.55%
It's okay 16 29.09%
Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-22-2014, 09:19 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,829 posts, read 850,938 times
Reputation: 6487

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
I can't believe that no one has mentioned soaking the ham before cooking. This is an absolute necessty with a country (salt cured) ham.

First, rinse off the ham and remove any mold with a brush. Then place it in a big enough pot to cover it completely. Fill the pot with cold water and let it soak for six to eight hours. Change the water and repeat the soaking. Depending upon the degree of saltiness a ham requires 24-48 hours to soak. After soaking you may bake it. In the old days, however, it was common to first boil the ham, then bake it.
This is the way I fixed it. I used a lard stand to soak and then boil the ham on top of the stove. Then I took the outer rind and most of the fat off after it had cooled enough to handle, glazed it, and baked it in the oven. Using "coca cola" as a glaze was popular in the 70's.

I never like it fried, although I have fixed it that way for others. Red eye gravy is made with coffee. The "red eyes" are globlets of ham grease.

Soaking and boiling is the only way to make a home cured "country" ham palatable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-22-2014, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,368,124 times
Reputation: 3349
I've had two types of "country ham", both were salted and dry cured. One isn't smoked, so essentially it was just "salt pork" that happened to be made from the ham (or the picnic/shoulder), and I use that for pea soup and when I'm canning big batches of beans. The other is smoked and it is awesome, especially if you soak it to the right salt level.

The only real difference between "country" and "city" ham is the water content. Country ham is saltier because salt is used to remove nearly all the water to prevent spoilage. It's not really just a "Southern thing", I've had excellent country hams in PA, NY & ME, as well as VA, SC & TX... you just don't tend to find them easily in the city. But I agree with a previous poster, they don't seem to be a western thing; I couldn't find any in CO, CA, OR & WA... but those aren't really big pork states anyway.

Since we don't have a refrigerator out here in the bush, we actually use smoked & dry cured salted hams for their original purpose... long-term "shelf-stable" meat preservation. We hang the ham in the cool larder in a cloth bag then cut off the portion we need, scrub away any mold, soak as needed and cook.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,448 posts, read 10,135,059 times
Reputation: 28069
I'm surprised at how many selected "It's okay." In my experience folks either love or hate it. Also, it seems many folks soak the ham first. Whenever I've eaten country ham it has just been sliced and fried - either a huge plate-sized bone-in slice or small slices for biscuits (maybe frying is the "southern" way).

However it's prepared, one fact still remains - it's salty.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8,144 posts, read 7,469,555 times
Reputation: 17059
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatergypsy View Post
I used my vegetable brush to give the little porker a scrub. I soaked that sucker. I changed the soak water. I even got up in the middle of the night so that the 8-hour-soak didn't extend past the limit. Then I had to boil that baby. At the end of the boiling period, I cut a chunk to taste it. I damn near died. I'm a salt lover but that was too much for my palate. The late hubs insisted I bake it as per instructions and we used a glaze packet that came with the pig. Good thing I had plenty of sides.

.
This doesn't make any sense to me.

Why would you boil then bake a ham that is already cooked?

A Virginia Ham is already like ham jerky. And it came with a glaze packet?

That doesn't sound like a Virginia ham.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,368,124 times
Reputation: 3349
Well, I marked it "okay" since unsmoked it's pretty "meh", even though smoked it's great. So it depends on which type.

Also, it's not like I'm going to eat it as a baked Christmas Ham, it's definitely something that's better sliced/chopped/shredded in or with something bland to balance the salt (eggs, gravy, beans, etc). So it depends on the final preparation.

Random Trivia: "Fresh" smoked ham was traditionally served at Christmas since hogs are slaughtered (or boar hunted) in late fall/early winter and it takes about a month to brine and smoke a full ham... the rest of the meat was salted and/or dried, or packed in lard to preserve it. Easter hams were normally made "fresh" from hogs they either overwintered or hogs culled after spring breeding... although, traditionally, the Easter meal was "spring lamb" -- which is actually lamb born in fall and slaughtered in the spring once it reached weight, not a newborn. Fresh meat used to be seasonal like that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,368,124 times
Reputation: 3349
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
This doesn't make any sense to me.

Why would you boil then bake a ham that is already cooked?

A Virginia Ham is already like ham jerky. And it came with a glaze packet?

That doesn't sound like a Virginia ham.
True country hams aren't cooked, they are salted (maybe smoked) and dry-cured raw. So you should cook them before eating.

You soak (not boil) the ham to get the salt out, and then you can bake it or whatever. I guess boiling could speed up the de-salting process and make the meat more tender... but it's not SOP.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,189 posts, read 10,136,018 times
Reputation: 18283
[quote=MissingAll4Seasons;34911986]
Since we don't have a refrigerator out here in the bush, we actually use smoked & dry cured salted hams for their original purpose... long-term "shelf-stable" meat preservation. We hang the ham in the cool larder in a cloth bag then cut off the portion we need, scrub away any mold, soak as needed and cook.[/quote]

I have several questions. What's the average warmest temperature in your larder? I assume that the temperature is fairly stable. How long do you keep a ham? What's the relative humidity in the larder?

When you cut a piece off do you cover the resulting bare spot or treat it in any way?

Are you hanging any other meats in your larder? You mentioned a cool larder. Do you have a not so cool larder as well?

I'm confident that you'll know the right way to do it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Wake County, NC
2,983 posts, read 3,633,652 times
Reputation: 3503
Country ham is one of my favorite foods. I couldn't find salt cured(I once saw sugar cured in Publix ) in Florida and so far have not been able to find it in Chicago. There is almost nothing better than a country ham biscuit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8,144 posts, read 7,469,555 times
Reputation: 17059
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
True country hams aren't cooked, they are salted (maybe smoked) and dry-cured raw. So you should cook them before eating.

You soak (not boil) the ham to get the salt out, and then you can bake it or whatever. I guess boiling could speed up the de-salting process and make the meat more tender... but it's not SOP.
This still doesn't make any sense to me. The salt cooks the ham. It just isn't cooked by heat just like when you eat ceviche, the acid from the citrus cooks the seafood.

The salt fully cooks the ham.

I can see boiling it to get the salt out but not baking it afterwards.

FWIW, my husband who has a culinary and biology degree explained to me how the salt cooks the pork by dehydration.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2014, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Location: Location
6,220 posts, read 7,400,726 times
Reputation: 17867
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
This doesn't make any sense to me.

Why would you boil then bake a ham that is already cooked?

A Virginia Ham is already like ham jerky. And it came with a glaze packet?

That doesn't sound like a Virginia ham.
Well, since it came from Virginia, and had a picture of the place where it was "cured" or whatever they do to them, I have to assume it was a Virginia Ham. And the instructions did, indeed, tell me to boil it then bake it. I suppose it's possible that it was an illegal ham, smuggled into Virginia and just pretending to be a VA ham. I have no desire to try another to see if there is a difference.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Food and Drink
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top