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Frequently Asked Questions about Ham

What is ham?

Ham is cured pork from the hind legs of a pig. The curing process prevents bacterial growth and results in tender, flavorful meat.

Hams are typically sold cured and smoked and can also be bone in or boneless. Boneless hams are the most common type of ham due to being easier to prepare, cut and serve. Bone in hams are a great option for feeding large groups and can even be up in half resulting in the shank cut which is easier for carving and the butt end with more lean. 

What’s the difference between fresh, smoked and cured ham? 

Fresh Ham

Fresh ham refers to ham that has not been cured, that needs to be fully cooked when preparing. 

Smoked Ham

Smoked ham has been smoked therefore it is considered pre-cooked and will just need to be reheated.  

Cured Ham

Cured ham can come in two forms known as wet or dry cured which are both a form of preservation. Dry cured ham is the least common and is a process of curing involving a salt and spice dry rub that can take up to a few months to cure. Wet cure is the more popular form of curing for ham and involves submerging the ham in a water, salt and spice brine.  Both forms of cured ham can be sold uncooked or precooked and ready to eat, therefore it is important to follow all cooking instructions on the package.

How is ham cured?

Dry-cured ham is produced by salting the pork and nitrites are often added along with the salt. 

Wet-cured ham is produced by brining the pork or injecting it with a brining solution. The ham is also cooked.

Smoked ham is produced by smoking the pork. The action of the smoke cures the ham.

How do you cook ham?

Because most ham is preserved through the curing process, you only need to re-heat your ham before serving if you'd like to serve it hot! Most commonly, ham is slow-roasted to the desired temperature.

When Cooking a ham a great guideline to follow is to bake your ham at 325 degrees for roughly 10 mins/ pound. If you have a partially cooked ham then plan on roughly 20 mins/ pond.

Honey or brown-sugar glazed ham recipes are incredibly popular because the savory salted ham and sweentess of the glaze are a delectable combination.

Why is ham popular at Easter?

In the past, pigs were normally harvested in the fall or winter. Over the next several months, the legs would be cured or smoked, and the hams would be well-preserved until Easter.

Types of Ham

Spiral Cut Ham

Spiral cut hams are great for feeding large groups of people and can be prepared and ready to serve in just a few short steps. Traditional spiral cut hams range from 5-6 lbs and are smoked or fully cooked. Therefore all you need to do is reheat the ham which is best done by placing the ham in a shallow pan and baking at 325 degrees for around 10 mins per pound. Ham is a great cut that can be utilized for any meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Pit Ham

Pit ham, also known as Partially Internally Trimmed, ham refers to a ham that is deboned, tied back together and typically smoked. The pit ham is a common type of ham seen in the deli case due to the ease of slicing since the bone has been removed. 


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