Skip to main content

Best Christmas Ham - Country-cured and smoked Ham

Country-cured smoked ham

Country-cured smoked ham

best-christmas-ham-a-childhood-memory

How can we have Christmas without ham?

Unthinkable!

When I was a kid, in my house my father was the cook. One of the things we look forward to at Christmas dinner was his special ham. It took him two days to prepare his ham, which as a kid I thought was a total waste of time... but the result was well-worth it. We always had the most delicious ham in the whole neighbourhood.

My father would go out of his way to get a country-cured ham. For him nothing else would do when it comes to ham. As a kid, I thought we couldn't afford a regular ham, because why else would my father buy a ham that was so old it was moldy in some parts. We were not wealthy, but we were certainly not that poor! Well, what did I know, I was just a kid.

Now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, I really appreciate all the efforts my father put in in preparing, not only the most delicious ham in our neighbourhood, if not the world, but also the most beautiful ham with so much sweet memories of my childhood.

curing and aging

curing and aging

Man checks hams in drying room

Man checks hams in drying room

Country-Cured Ham

Country-cured hams are very special kind of ham. Hogs are usually given special diets like nuts and fruits to produce a more flavorful and tender meat. They must be cured, aged and dried at least 70 days. They are usually dry-cured in salt, then smoked over fragrant hardwoods and aged at least six months. The meat may be drier, depending on the length of aging. A mold will most likely form, which is simply scraped and washed away.

Country-cured ham is also known as country-style ham. These are also called "old hams" in Kentucky. Most country-cured hams are uncooked and need to be cooked using a special process.


best-christmas-ham-a-childhood-memory

Cooking your Christmas Country-cured Ham

If you are planning to cook country-cured ham this Christmas, you have to plan ahead. You need at least a day of preparation.

Here's an approximate timetable:

Prep Time: at lease 24 hours

Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes per pound

Total Time: approximately 28 hours



Ingredients needed:

1 country-cured ham

Water

Cloves

Brown sugar

Bread crumbs




Preparation:

  • Unwrap ham and place it in a large pot. An oblong pot is ideal if you have one. If it is necessary to fit the ham in your pot, carefully saw off the hock, but for decorative purposes, it would be nice to leave the hock intact. Allow to soak in cool water at room temperature for at least 24 hours, changing the water 3 or four times turning the ham each time.
  • The next day, scrub well under running tepid water to remove any mold and pepper. Place ham in the same large pot, add cool water to cover the ham and put the lid on. Bring to a boil over high heat and then adjust heat to low for slow simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes per pound or until fork tender and bone feels loose; cool ham in cooking liquid.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Remove the ham from liquid, peel off rind, and trim fat to at least one-half inch. With a sharp knife, cut the fat in crisscross pattern and stud with cloves. Mix together brown sugar and bread crumbs and pat on a thick glaze all over the ham.
  • Place ham in a large disposable turkey-roasting pan glaze side up and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes or until glaze is nicely browned.
  • Transfer ham to serving platter and let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
best-christmas-ham-a-childhood-memory
best-christmas-ham-a-childhood-memory



Bon Appetit!!!


Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

best-christmas-ham-a-childhood-memory


Did you know?  by Rosie2010

Did you know you can create your own HubPage? 

Did you know you can be part of a great community, make friends and, share your knowledge and experience, and EARN MONEY through Adsense and other Affiliate programs?  

Yes, you can!   JOIN HUBPAGES NOW -  CLICK HERE!



Comments

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on December 27, 2010:

That ham looks so good, you can almost taste it. Thank you for sharing your story, it was a nice memory.

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on December 23, 2010:

Hiya WillStarr, I just finished reading your story about Sam.. you are so talented! Great story!

Merry Christmas,

Rosie

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on December 23, 2010:

Hiya WillStarr, thanks for dropping by. I'm glad this hub brought back some wonderful memories of your living in Kentucky. I think country cured hams are the best.. I just can't get used to the other hams although I buy stake hams and fry them with a little dribble of honey and some pineapple bits. I'm glad to hear that you cook country hams the same way.

Merry Christmas,

Rosie

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 22, 2010:

This brings back wonderful memories of the years I spent in Kentucky. I learned to cook country hams almost exactly as you described, and yes, they were delicious.

Country hams can be ordered online, and they need no refrigeration. Just follow Rosie's instructions and you can't miss!

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 23, 2010:

Hiya Carrie, thanks for dropping by. I hope you try this country-cured ham for Christmas.

Have a nice day!

Rosie

carrie450 from Winnipeg, Canada on November 23, 2010:

Sounds delicious Rosie. thanks

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 19, 2010:

Hiya Avamum, thanks for dropping by. Yes my dad's specialty was Spanish dishes and we couldn't go to the kitchen when he was cooking. So I never learned how to cook.. well I cook now, but not as good as my other sisters.

Merry Christmas!

Rosie

Sarita Harbour from Yellowknife, Canada on November 19, 2010:

yum YUM - looks great! How nice to hear of another family where the dad did the cooking, lol!

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2010:

Hiya RedElf, thanks for dropping by. I'm sure it was since for a kid 30 minutes seems to be a lifetime. lol

Merry Christmas!

Rosie

RedElf from Canada on November 18, 2010:

Well, it must have seemed like a long process when you were a kid, but I remember watching my Mom go through a similar, lengthy process with her hams as well. Thanks for this walk down memory lane.

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2010:

Hiya hotfingers, thanks for dropping by. So you're from Virginia? I've heard the Smithfield smoked hams are the best! I'm glad you enjoyed my Christmas ham hub.

Merry Christmas!

Rosie

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2010:

Hiya Craan, Thanks for dropping by. lol Me too, looking at those yummy pictures makes me hungry. Yes, cooking this country-cured hams is time-consuming, but it's all worth it.

Merry Christmas!

Rosie

6hotfingers3 on November 18, 2010:

Wow! Your hub makes me long to go back to Virginia. We often had the Smithfiled smoked ham for the holidays. Thanks for the memories. Great Hub!!!

Sheila Craan from Florida on November 18, 2010:

A Christmas ham sounds inviting! Your recipe is well worth the preparation time for a special ham that adds a special flair to a blessed Christmas dinner. I feel hungry by just looking at your wonderful ham photo...

Rosie Rose (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 18, 2010:

Hi Princessa, thanks for dropping by. Cooking country-cured hams is time-consuming but it's all worth it.

Merry Christmas!

Rosie

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on November 18, 2010:

It looks so delicious...

Related Articles