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The Holiday Roast Beast – Ham

Posted on: December 13th, 2010

The family’s holiday feast is about traditions, and we have them all at Tony’s; from lutefisk, finnan haddie, smelts, baccala and herring; to homemade stollen and bourbon-soaked fruitcake and a couple hundred traditions in between.  Our shelves are stocked with tasty treats in every department, especially the meat department…

Apricot-Glazed Ham

We’re known for having the very best meats in town so the meat department is the place to be in December – and through all the special roasts and sausages and seafood we see to, three items stand out as the most popular every year: Ham, Beef Tenderloin Roast and the biggest seller of them all; Standing Rib Roast.  Today, I want to talk about Hams – beef tenderloin roasts and standing rib roast facts, cooking tips and videos will follow soon…


Tony’s Kurubota Ham

All hams are not created equally, not by a long-shot!  We carefully have chosen great hams from small family farms that have been raised right, naturally cured and wood smoked the old fashion way.  We have a nice variety of styles and sizes from premium companies, including Boar’s Head – but my two favorite hams and top recommendations are: Kurobuta and our torch glazed Spiral Sliced Hams.


Glazed Ham w/ Pineapple Raisin Sauce

Choosing a Ham
The best hams are made from solid muscle or whole legs of pork, naturally cured with salt and sweeteners (such as brown sugar, honey or maple syrup) and then slow smoked with a combination of hardwoods.  Keep in mind there is also a product called Fresh Ham – this is a raw leg of pork that is not cured or smoked and basically a raw pork roast.

Short Cuts
You’ll see a wide variety of prices when you shop for ‘ham’ because there are a lot of tricks to make ham cheap.  For starters, using chopped pork trimmings and ground ham held together with gelatin and then molded to the shape of ham.  Other tricks include using liquid smoke or artificial smoke flavoring instead of natural wood smoking, or adding copious amounts of water.  The FDA has some basic labeling guidelines – in short they have to do with the amount of water added.  We only use “Ham” and “Ham with Natural Juices” – these are  the best hams and they don’t have any water weight added.  Other categories include “Ham, water added” which has 10% water added by weight and “Ham and Water Product” which can have any amount of water, the percentage by weight should be on the package.

Smoked Hams are fully cooked and can be served cold, at room temperature or hot.  Allow about 8 ounces of boneless ham, or about 1 pound of bone in per person (and I like to get an extra jar of the Boar’s Head Ham Glaze, even if the ham is already glazed – I really like the glaze!)  To warm your ham, place in a roasting pan, flattest side down.  Add at least one cup of water (to keep pan moist and create a steamy heat – add more as needed during cooking), cover with foil or a lid and roast at 275 degrees for about 10-12 minutes per pound.  If glaze is desired, uncover the last third (or so) of cooking time and brush on several times with glaze.  Really the only thing you can do wrong is to overheat a ham, robbing it of it’s juiciness. Here are a couple recipes…

Bone in Ham, not pre-sliced

Cola Pineapple Ham

Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Ham

Glazed Leg of Ham with Guinness and Cardamom

Glazed Ham with Pineapple-Raisin Sauce

Baked Ham with Mojo Sauce and Papaya Salsa

Baked Ham with Mango and Ginger

Apricot Glazed Ham

Stay tuned for tips, recipes and videos on preparing the Ultimate Beef Tenderloin and Standing Rib or Boneless Rib Eye Roast – coming soon!

Pictures from TheOtherWhiteMeat.com

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