Traditional Country Ham Cured with Salt & Sugar
Kentucky Country Ham is different from "conventional" ham in the following ways:
Curing Method. Curing ingredients are pumped into the conventional ham as a brine or pickle. They are applied to the country ham as a dry-rub.
Moisture Content. Water is added to the conventional ham by the curing process. The country ham, on the other hand, is shrunk 20 to 30 percent through curing and aging, and is therefore much drier.
Flavor. Country ham flavor is much more intense, due to concentration through loss of water and enzymatic activity during aging.
This ham does not require refrigeration until you start using it. Before you start using- it should be kept hanging in a cool dry place. Always unwrap ham- NEVER STORE IN A BOX. You can prepare Kentucky Country Ham many ways baked, boiled, broiled, or fried.
You may expect your Country Cured Ham to have a higher salt content than packing house type. The salt and heavy shrinkage makes the country ham keep for months, even years without refrigeration. These hams are not tenderized or precooked- just country cured, smoked, and aged. Often times white specks appear throughout the meat in aged hams. This in no way affects the quality of the meat but is preferred by many connoisseurs. Due to aging, your ham will have some mold on it. This in no way affects the quality of the meat, but rather indicates proper aging. Wash whole hams thoroughly, use just plain water and clean cloth.
Broiled Kentucky Country Ham
Use only center slices for broiling slices should be at least 1/4 inch thick and uniform in thickness. Trim the edges slightly, removing the skin if this has not been previously done. Place slices on a broiler pan about 5 inches from the range broiler unit. Cook until done, turning once. Do not overcook.
Bar-B-Q Country Ham
Same as broiled only use your grill.
Fried Kentucky Country Ham
Prepare slices as for broiling except that the thickness should be 1/4 inch or slightly less. Use any part of the ham.
Place a small amount of fat in a heavy frying pan and preheat (medium heat). The fat may be lard, bacon drippings, or rendered ham fat.
Place the ham slices in hot fat and cook slowly, turning frequently. The ham will be done when the fat portion around the edges is slightly brown. Do not overcook.
Fried Country Ham (Moonlight Recipe)
Start ham steak in a heavy skillet, with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (medium heat).
After the water has evaporated, allow the ham to brown on both sides.
Red Gravy: Remove the ham slices from the pan and pour off any excess fat, leaving only the brown residue. Add a little water and simmer about 3 minutes, stirring constantly pouring the red gravy over the ham slices as they are served.
Boiled Kentucky Country Ham (Moonlight Recipe)
1. Place on a rack in a pan and cover with water.
2. Simmer (do not boil) until the meat thermometer registers 170°F. Insert, the thermometer into the center of the ham so the bulb does not touch fat or bone and the temperature scale is above the water. Cooking time is about 15 to 20 minutes per pound for whole hams. Remove from water and follow directions for glazing.
Baked Kentucky Country Ham
Place the cleaned ham, skin side up, on a rack in an open pan.
Bake, covered, in a slow oven (300°F) until tender or until the center of the ham registers 170'F on a meat thermometer. This will take about 25 to 30 minutes per pound for whole ham. Use a meat thermometer to take the guess work out of cooking time. Insert it till the bulb reaches the center of the ham and does not touch either bone or fat.
Fill the space under the rack of a roasting pan with water to prevent excessive shrinkage. This should help keep your ham moist and tender.
You may either serve the ham at this stage or remove the skin and glaze.
Glazing Your Country Ham
After the ham is cooked, remove the skin and use your favorite glaze. Do not overcook ham or it will fall apart when carved. Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking or under cooking.
Our Favorite Glaze For Your Country Ham
One cup brown sugar - mix with 3 tablespoons mustard, spread glaze on ham, add pineapple slices to country ham.
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