Wednesday, December 26, 2012

country ham

When you get right down to it, there are really only 2 kinds of people in the world.

Those who like country ham.  And those who don't.

I happen to like country ham.

Usually I get country ham sandwiches by way of buying them from a high school softball team or choir or some such fundraiser.

When we were kids, my mom used to make a whole country ham - studded with cloves and glistening with a yummy glaze which we picked off and might be one of the most delicious things in the whole world.

This year, it was my turn to make the country ham.  I asked my mom what to do and felt confident that I could pull it off.

Step One:  Soak the ham.  I put mine in a cooler and soaked for 2 days, changing the water once. This picture was taken while changing the water - you should cover the ham completely with water.  Actually, if you are coming here for cooking advice of any sort, you should probably stop now and re-google.

Step Two:  Stud with cloves and cover in mustard and brown sugar mixture.  Some say you should cut off the ham hock, but that would require a hacksaw and a husband who was home, neither of which I possessed at the moment of baking.  Plus, it fit in the pan with the hock, so my ham kept it's hock.

Step Three:  Put some water in the pan and bake for about 4 hours until ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever used my handy dandy Pampered Chef thermometer.  My ham was 165 degrees, but who likes rare country ham?  Not me.

Step Four:  Have Superfrydad slice thinly with an electric knife.

Disclaimer:  Between Steps 2 & 3, I had a mini-disaster.  I painfully put all of those cloves in and covered it with the glaze, as Step 2 says.  However, I failed to put any water in the pan as my mother instructed.

When I checked it two hours later, it looked like a giant leather football.  Guess they call a football a pigskin for a reason because the skin on this ham looked EXACTLY like leather.  No glistening glaze, just a giant piece of meat encased with hard skin.  So I called my mom.  She said, "Did you take off the skin?"  I said, "No, you didn't tell me to do that, plus I forgot to put water in the pan!"

So I put some water in the pan, got Superfrydad (who was now home) to cut off the skin, and re-cloved and  reglazed the newly skinned ham.  Baked for 2 more hours and it turned out fine.  I did not take any pictures because I was too mad and wanted to throw the ham out into the yard.

Lessons learned from country ham:
Scouring pads are a girl's best friend when it comes to cleaning your roasting pan after almost ruining a country ham.
Some things, like making country ham, are better left to the professionals.  Or your mom.

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