As I stated in the last blog, “Butt? Where Does It Come From?” it seems as if most people tend to only cook ham for special occasions or for the holidays. But should ham only be prepared at these times? I don’t think so. Ham is so moist, tender, and versatile that it can be used all the time—and not just for a sandwich.
In this article, I want to discuss the origins of the ham, and I’ll supply you with more tasty recipes—for both the holidays and the everyday meal.
Conventionally, the ham is cut from the rear leg of the pig. In the older days, it was dried, smoked, and cured for preservation. Now, preservation techniques vary. Hams are dried, smoked, brined, or combinations are applied. For example, American hams are classified due to preservation methods. Hams are nitrate-free, “City ham” (ham is brined in a salt solution and smoked, rather than aged), or “Country ham” (dry cured and aged).
But, no matter the preservation method, ham is a pleasure for the palate. And it is always a perfect staple for your favorite holiday meal—Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter!
I have some wonderful recipes for whole hams here on the site. One of my favorites is Big John’s Baked Glazed Ham. John and I came up with this recipe one day when we wanted to bake a ham but weren’t sure which recipe to use. Made from a Circle B Ranch Bone-in ham, the recipe is delicious and super easy. A little brown sugar, a pinch of ginger, a few more spices, and a splash of orange juice make this ham extra yummy.
Or, if you are preparing a Christmas ham and looking for a more traditional twist, try Cranberry Orange Baked Ham. The ham forms a wonderful crust, and the taste is sweet and savory. After I make this ham, I often use the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. A slab of this ham paired with a couple of eggs makes for a perfect start to the day.
But what else can we do with the ham aside from filling our bellies on the holidays or noshing on it with our morning eggs? Of course, we do have the conventional ham sandwich. For those of you who love ham sandwiches but want a little change, I have two delicious baked slider recipes that will wow your taste buds.
This recipe is very easy and quick to prepare. With 15 minutes of preparation and 10 minutes of cook time (a total of 25 minutes!), you create a tasty meal for the whole family.
These are so easy to make that you can assemble them the night before!
Next, if you don’t want a traditional ham sandwich, try preparing Ham Salad. This recipe was a major hit with my family! Eat it in a sandwich or serve as an appetizer with crackers or Crostini (toasted or fried bread). You can’t go wrong either way.
For all of you bakers out there, how about Savory Ham & Gruyere Bread? This satisfying bread is delicious and easy to make. Simply serve it with your favorite butter and enjoy!
Or, if you are looking for a hearty meal try Savory Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding. This quick and simple recipe is fantastically scrumptious!
These are only a few of the recipe options when it comes to ham. There are so many options out there that it is hard to pick and choose. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the recipes I have shared with you today.
Look for the next blog in our pork cuts series which will address the trim. What do we do with the trimmings from creating the specific cuts? We’ll discuss it next time.