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Smithfield Ham

edited 6:11AM in EggHead Forum
I'm in need of advice re how to cook an uncooked Smithfield dry-cured country ham in a ceramic cooker. Or should I follow the instructions on the bag and do it in the kitchen? I have no experience with Smithfield hams.


  • AndyRAndyR Posts: 130
    George,[p]Try this. Never done it myself so I have no clue if it's good.[p]

  • Elder WardElder Ward Posts: 330
    Are you talking salt and pepper cured? Like in a cloth sack?
    Elder Ward

  • Elder Ward, yes, in a cloth sack, dry cured, aged, and smoked. It's called Luter's Mild Cure (which means mildly smoked) Virginia Country Ham, cured by The Smithfield Packing Co. Sack instructions say to soak 12-24 hrs prior to cooking to eliminate some of the salt, and to scrub-off any mold. The sack doesn't mention pepper in the cure. What's the best method to cook it?

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    George,[p]We buy one of these a year and cut into eight ounce portions and freeze. I prefer to slice it as thin as I can and then soak in water overnight, then pan fry it. It goes great on a biscuit or with eggs for breakfast or with some veggies for supper. If you cook it whole, they are usually too salty to eat.[p]HTH,

  • Zip, interesting. I asked a few questions of a customer service person at Smithfield and was told specifically to not soak the ham after it was cut/sliced. Her advice was to soak and cook the whole ham, slice, eat, or freeze in that order. She also stated that the residual salt, after soaking and cooking, is 7% vs 2% for the typical salt-water injected hams that you find in grocery stores. This certainly explains why it's sliced wafer-thin and eaten in small portions.

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    George,[p]You just haven't eaten until you have had "country ham" and red eye gravy as we call it in the true south :~) Make up some biscuits and eggs to go with it like my good friend Ashely has suggested and you will think you are in heaven for sure.
  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    George:[p]I can remember when The Uncles would fetch a cured ham from the smoke house in the late evening, pull back the burlap, slice off any slight amount of surface mold, and thin slice a chunk to be soaked for the next mornings breakfast. I think the Smithfield lass has it wrong. Dittos to what Zip and Bob said . . . Sometimes the young ones forget the old ways . . .
  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    djm5x9,[p]Did you just call me and Ashley old :~)[p]

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Bob:[p]No! I was referring to the Smithfield lass . . . I was always told you were old when the gray fell off![p]Hey, today I turned "The Milestone" and a "Young Spark" at the office was surprised to learn of this event. I will forever wonder if she was thinking plus or minus, as I did not want to ask!

  • djm5x9, are you suggesting that I should slice and freeze it uncooked, or cook and then slice and freeze? Does it make any difference if it's cooked twice, prior to and after freezing?

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    George:[p]The Uncles would pull a ham out of the smokehouse and slice what they wanted for the next meal (typically breakfast) and soak overnight in the refrigerator. The cut ham would be kept wrapped in the refrigerator until needed again, but once cut it did not last long as it went fast. Next morning the soaked ham was rinsed, heated, and served. Hope this helps.
  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    A true Smithfield ham is a beautiful thing.
    Properly prepared it has the complexity of flavors like no other meat that will ever have the pleasure of gracing your tastebuds. In my opinion, far better than any Parma ham or most other aged meats for that matter.
    The ham in the end will be salty. There is no getting around that. It is the nature of this type of cure and one of it's attributes.
    I cook at least one a year and found to consistently get a great end product is to do a little work... but well worth it in the end.
    "The Complete Meat Cookbook" does a concise job walking you thru the cook so I will paraphrase...
    Scrub the ham under cold water to remove any mold. Put ham in a large pot and soak in water in fridge for 48 hours changing water 6-8 times.
    Drain and scrub again, rinse, put in large pot, cover fully with cold water, bring to boil and discard water. Do this 2 more times. Yes, 2 more times!
    Finally, cover ham with cold water, bring to boil, reduce to low simmer so that water reads about 180 F. Simmer for 4-6 hours depending on size, salt level and how long it was aged. If in doubt go toward the long end.
    I have always baked these in the oven but don't see why it could not be done on the egg. I would go without any added smoke. Either way preheat oven or egg to 350.
    Discard water, remove skin from ham and any dark or discolored areas from the meat.
    Trim the fat leaving about 1/4 inch layer. Cut criscross pattern in the fat, place in a foil lined roasting pan with fat side up, or if going on the egg place in a vrack or raised grid with drip pan underneath.
    Cook for 30 minutes. Coat top of ham with about 1 cup brown sugar, increase heat to 425 and cook for 20-30 minutes more until the surface is glazed and brown.
    Remove, loosely cover with foil and let ham rest for 20-45 minutes. Slice very thin. Food of the gods.[p]I know it seems like a lot of work but the 2 day soak and 3 boils will remove a lot of the excess salt. You will have a lot of meat and the flavor seems to get better after a day in the fridge. Nothing like it. Save that bone to make beans.
    Please post how you decide to cook it and how it turns out.
    Good Luck![p]WD

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    George,[p]That is what I do, but I can't say I have ever tried the exact brand you have. The last few we have eaten were from a small pork outfit from Eastern North Carolina.[p]HTH,

  • ZipZip Posts: 372

  • Elder WardElder Ward Posts: 330
    Yeah you better stick with the directions or it will be to salty to eat. "But I have a suggestion I will give you off line. E-mail me.
    Elder WArd

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    Bob, [p]That would be the breakfast of champions down here in the south. Just picked up a pack of the wafer thin slices of the stuff for breakfast tomorrow. Ham, biscuits, and some good King Syrup to kill the salt.[p]Ashley

  • AndyRAndyR Posts: 130
    Why do I always hear banjo music when you post?

  • Jim R.Jim R. Posts: 103
    Being a Yankee and marrying a Southern gal I was intoduced to "country ham" in the fifty's and fell in love.The way you describe the cook has been the best for me,taught by my inlaw's.Did get in trouble one time when a ham that had been hanging for a while got "chucked"because of some small fly like insects in the outer fat.My Father-in-law said just how dumb you could be throwing out good ham just because of some "skippers" as he called them.

  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    Jim R,
    A big slice of humble pie served up by your father-in-law no less. Ouch!

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