After learning how to store a sugar cured country ham (see a previous post) our next step was to learn how to cook it. One thing we were told is to never soak a whole ham. Here are the steps for cooking a whole sugar cured country ham. If you have a boneless ham, start with step 2.
- Using water, wash off the outside of the ham. Using a sharp knife, trim off the skin and as much fat as you do not want left on the ham. If you want to use the hock for seasoning or soup, now is the time to cut it off using a meat saw.
- Place the ham in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. If you want to use apple cider instead of water, do so, but be sure to add a little bit of water to the cider.
- Remove the ham from the broth. Be sure to save the broth for soup or pot pies. You have two options for slicing the ham. A) Let the ham cool until the bone can be removed. Wrap it in foil and chill to allow easier slicing. B) After taking the ham out of the broth, chill and slice with the bone left in.
- If you choose to, you may glaze your ham using your favorite ham glaze. Brown sugar, Dijon mustard and raspberry jam with a bit of apple cider makes a good glaze. With the ham fat side up, insert whole cloves into the ham. Brush your choice of glaze over the chilled ham, add pineapple rings if desired, and place in an oven set at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the glaze bubbles. Remove from the oven, slice thin with an electric knife or sharp kitchen knife, and serve.
If you want to fry slices of ham instead of cooking your ham, slices 1/4 inch thick should be cut off the uncooked ham with a sharp knife. Soak the slice(s) in cold or warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Dredge the slices in flour and fry in heated oil on low heat. Turn slices frequently until brown and tender. You can make red-eye gravy out of the drippings and serve with fried eggs or for seasoning vegetables.
If you want to try your ham slices on a grill, soak the slices in water for a few minutes, then lay the slices on the grill rack and grill until lightly browned. Baste with a mixture of melted butter and honey.
Keep your fork