|Wares: Spiral-sliced Hams|
Spring is the time for ham. Try one of the spiral-sliced hams that we mail ordered and taste tested.
Published in: AUGUST HOME'S CUISINE
AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO CREATIVE HOME COOKING
ISSUE NO. 20
There are hams-and then there are hams. The difference between the two lies in the process used to make them. And what you end up with either a run-of-the-mill ham or one of these flavor-packed, mail order, spiral-sliced hams.
Ham 101: Hams start out from a pig's hind legs, and come either whole or in halves. The bottom half is called the shank end, and the top half is called the butt end. The hams are then trimmed of all but a small layer of fat, and most are brined and smoked. It's brining and smoking that give hams their flavor: smoky, sweet, or salty.
Brining is the first step in flavoring a ham and is also what gives the ham its pink color. It's typically done with a salt cure - a combination of salt, water, spices, and often a sweetener (usually honey or brown sugar). The ham is either injected with the brine or it takes a bath in it.
The second step in flavoring the ham is smoking, but not all hams are smoked. That's too bad, because smoking is what separates "okay" hams from the ones listed here - it adds an additional flavor dimension.
The hams are smoked over burning embers. The type of wood used creates different flavors (hickory and applewood are common). Some hams are only smoked for a couple of hours, but others are smoked for up to 30 hours. Bottom line: The longer a ham's smoked, the more flavor it has.
Smoking also cooks the hams to an internal temperature of 150o-160o. That means they just need to be heated through before serving.
"Burger's offered the best overall ham taste. This ham had a well-rounded flavor - the perfect balance of sweet and smoky, and all the saltiness you'd expect from a ham. Plus, it's a bargain to boot."
Reprinted with permission: