What is the difference between country and city ham?
Country hams are produced using traditional dry-curing methods. The cure is applied to the surface of the ham in dry form and is allowed to penetrate into the ham naturally over time. The result of the drying and aging process creates a robust, pronounced flavor and a firm texture. Some people who are salt conscious may find the saltier nature of country ham to be objectionable, but to the enthusiast, there is no substitute. Country hams may be purchased cooked or uncooked and may or may not be smoked. (See below)
City hams are produced using modern moist-curing methods. The cure is injected into the ham in a brine form. The process takes much less time compared to that of country ham. The result is a moist and tender ham that is characterized by its sweet flavor. Although milder than country ham, the flavor of the city ham is not bland and may actually be considered bold compared to a water-added grocery store ham. City hams are cooked and smoked using natural hickory sawdust.
What is the difference between Southern Smokehouse and Attic Aged country ham?
Our two famous brands of country ham are cured using the dry curing methods described above. The length of age is the significant difference between the two.
The Southern Smokehouse ham is aged 4 to 6 months and then gently smoked with natural hickory sawdust. This creates an authentic yet milder flavor development by country-ham standards.
The Attic Aged ham is aged 7 to 9 months and is reminiscent of the way country ham was cured on the farm several generations ago. The additional passage of time creates a flavor that is even more fully developed. These hams are not smoked. The Attic Aged ham is not for the truly salt sensitive person, however proper cooking techniques can result in lowering the salt flavor. (See Country Ham Guide for details).
Why is there mold on my whole, uncooked country ham?
The mold is a natural non-toxic by-product of the curing process. The mold may vary in color from white, gray or black to blue, green or yellow. Follow the cooking instructions included with your ham for proper mold removal.
How do I glaze my ham?
Uncooked Country Ham (after baked) - With a sharp knife, trim off skin and excess fat. Leave desired layer of fat so glaze will cling to the surface. Make a thick paste using 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup vinegar. Apply to fat side of ham. Place in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until glaze is browned. Watch ham closely during glazing process to avoid burning.
Fully Cooked Hams - Glaze ham after it has been heated or brought to room temperature and ready to serve. Place ham in oven proof dish. Set oven on broil for preheating. Heat glaze in microwave for 30 seconds (glaze may be very hot) from microwave. Apply half of the glaze to ham and place under preheated broiler for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from broiler and apply more glaze. Continue process until desired amount of glaze has been added or desired color is obtained.
Wood Stove Roasted Skin-On Hams - With a sharp knife, trim off skin and excess fat. Then refer to above glazing instructions for Fully Cooked Hams.
How do I slice my ham?
The Anatomy of Slicing - Unsliced Whole and Half Hams
Spiral Sliced Hams - Place ham on cutting board with fat/glaze side up. Slide thin bladed knife around the center bone to release slices. Make a knife cut starting at the center bone and cut towards the outer surface of the ham allowing slices to fall away.
Wood Roasted Skin-On Hams - With a sharp knife, trim excess skin and fat from ham. Then refer to above slicing instructions for Unsliced or Spiral Sliced Hams.