Thanks, Maynerd, for the cooking instructions. I did end up cooking on top of the stove by boiling; the ham turned out fine and in fact I’ve been eating many ham biscuits. LOL Too many, it turns out–my blood pressure was a bit high today! I’ve had a cold for the past couple of weeks and a few days ago it decided to migrate into my ears, unfortunately. So now I have an ear infection and one of them is aching painfully. Am on antibiotics now, though.
A very Happy Holidays to all at Roadfood; I had prime rib for dinner tonight (Christmas Eve) – we’re all fine so far. [:p] For Christmas day we’re having turkey and stuffing. I’ve got to cut back on that ham consumption though …
From Smithfield ham’s "ham owner’s manual" on their web site. Hope this helps:
If your ham is uncooked, you should soak before cooking, since these hams are dry cured. Soak Smithfield Hams or Country Hams twenty-four (24) hours or longer. Change water every four (4) hours.
* The length of soaking time is important and should be influenced by your taste for salt (longer soaking results in milder ham).
* After soaking, wash ham thoroughly with a stiff brush to remove all pepper and mold, if present.
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How to Cook
Cooking your Smithfield Ham or Country Ham
* Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil, joining the edges carefully to form a vessel with the bottom layer. Add 5 cups of water for a Smithfield Ham within the foil and place in oven with a tray or pan underneath for support.
* Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 500 degrees, bake for 15 minutes. Turn off oven for three (3) hours. Then heat oven to 500 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let ham remain for 6-8 hours or overnight is satisfactory.
* Important: Do not open oven door until the cook cycle is completed, including the last 6-8 hours.
* Place in a large roasting pan, skin-side down and cover with cool water.
* Bring water to 180 degrees (not quite simmering). Cook to 160 degrees internal temperature (or about 25 minutes per pound). Add water to keep ham covered.
* Take ham from the pan and while warm, remove the skin carefully without tearing the fat. Dot the surface with cloves if desired, then sprinkle with brown sugar and bread crumbs and bake in an oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees (or long enough to brown nicely).
I bought 2 country hams from newsomescountryhams, and both were delicious. We took it to our local grocer and had them slice the whole ham. Mainly a breakfast item with bisquits and gravy. The parts that were less attractive were used for seasoning beans and such. Never baked one whole.
We’ve been cooking the things for years & have tried many methods. I start the same way with all of them. Scrub under running water with a brush; use of vinegar or soap is optional. Do not remove the skin. Do remove the hock and then soak overnight; we’ve decided that plain water does as well as anything else, although Coke is a tradition in my family. Then:
- Ignore all of the above and slice off a piece, cut off the skin and, if you like, soak briefly in water or milk. Then fry just enough to brown lightly.
- Bring to a boil in the biggest pot you can find (a lard stand is ideal), but be sure it’s completely covered with water. Simmer for 5 minutes per pound, then remove from heat, wrap the container in newspaper or something to insulate. Put it in a cool place (back porch or garage maybe) and allow to cool. Pour off liquid (it will be incredibly greasy), and remove skin and as much fat as possible. Slice as thinly as you can if serving as is; slice thicker if you’re going to fry it. Glazing is optional but pretty if you want to carve in public.
- Bake, uncovered, skin side up on a rack to about 145-150. Residual heat will bring it to 160.
A digital thermometer with a probe attached to a cable is very helpful. Mine has a remote readout with an alarm, which I like.
My great-great aunt cured her own and maintained that anything less than two years was a waste of time. All of this applies to West Tennessee/Kentucky hams, which are salty enough that they need no refrigeration before cooking. Some people even leave them hanging outdoors and cut off a piece as needed, but I’ve never had the nerve for that.
Smithfield ham, as I remember from my one experience, is very good but not nearly as salty, so I doubt it could be left unrefrigerated. (Mr. Mayor, an untutored warehouse clerk might have left your ham in a warm place too long.)
Frying a country ham makes sense to me as that is the only way I’ve had it. I’ve never done one, but have had it in restaurants in VA.
Please do send any info that would help me understand what I did wrong….and what was unrepairable!! I shot a photo of the whole cooked ham..but it looks great..I should have done some close-ups of the yucky parts, but was so disgusted with the outcome that we just threww them out. Even Duff didn’t get the scraps of this piece of pig.
We have a beautiful Sugar-Cured Ham being prepared for the Christmas Family Dinner. I don’t think I can screw this one up !!
Al, I feel bad about your disappointing experience cooking a country ham. I suspect the market knew what they had on their hands, or the ham wouldn’t have sold at such a discount.
We haven’t cooked a country ham but have enjoyed many a fine finished product. And we’ve collected directions and pamphlets over the years. I’ll get the best of this to you before too long. Actually, the four brothers who run our best butcher shop will give me the lowdown for you. I plan to show them what I’ve collected.
The value added of country ham cooked for you is appreciable. Why not halve the price of the ham at your house, and enjoy the secondary gain of being a great master of country ham!
Please say you’ll give it another go sometime. [:)]
Sorry about your wasted ham and wasted time Mr. Mayor.
When I lived in Michigan and working as a chef one of my employees proudly gave me a country ham from Virginia for Christmas. He was as proud as a peacock. "Yes, m’aam, dat’s right, it was made by mah familee in Virginee. Y’all are gonna loove it, chef."
It was beautiful. Took it home and soaked it. (Thank God this was not planned to be our Christmas dinner.) Changed the water regularly over 2 days. Baked it, it smelled wonderful, it looked wonderful. We could not eat it. That ham gave the word SALTY a new meaning. And it was tougher and more stringy than a boiled owl. Inedible.
So, we’re going to have to wait for the official Country Ham Committee to tell us how to do it right because I, too, had a negative experience.
OK this effort was a colossal waste of time and resources. The ham was indeed moldy around the edges. I scrubbed that off . But the fat streaks that ran between the muscles had the appearance of spoiled milk and smelled terrible. After baking the thing (it looks pretty in it’s "Whole condition") to a temp closer to 170 than the stated goal of 160 degrees, I noticed that the few pieces of mold that had survived the scrubbing ran deep into the meat itself. When I tried to shave the "bad stuff" off the surface..Like skinning the fat…I found that the ‘yuck’ penetrated the meat in places right thru to the bone.
We cut the meat away from the bone …trimmed the yucky looking and smelling parts off what we considered the "good" and found that we were throwing out almost 40% of the ham.
I will not buy a whole ham in this condition again.
We have boiled the remaining meat for quite awhile this evening. It appears to be safe, but has lost any and all of it’s chewly texture and any possible positive attributes. I am afraid I have had a very negative experience with Whole Country Hams. [xx(][:(][|)][xx(][:(!][xx(]
I know that this is not the proper way but my grandmother who lived in Cumberland Gap cured hams each year. She sliced it and fried it. It was never salty. Maybe she scraped the salt off. I do not know but I do not recall her ever soaking it before she fried it.
Paul E. Smith
The label says to use cola to help kill the saltiness!! I have done that before with regular Hams and it works well.
I scrubbed it as good as I could put it in a deep roasting pan, packed some Brown sugar on top and added a cup of pepsi and a cup of water to the pan. Covered tightly and into a 300 degree oven for a long afternoon. Label says about 20 min per pound, I have a 12 lber. Going to shoot for an internal temp of 160.
If the out edge still looks crappy will trim it before serving.
OK Tell Me…What Have I Forgotton?????
Mayor, that mold is okay–you can scrub it off. Mine had a bit of mold on it too. One co-worker told me that she soaks country ham in ginger-ale (you can use the cheaper store brand) to help take the saltiness out; I’ve not tried that yet though. I’ve got to change the water and turn it over so that the other side can thoroughly soak. My taste buds are salivating already at the thought of that ham on some biscuits though. [:p]
Edited because I was so busy thinking of eating that ham I mis-spelled thoroughly!
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