Are you a fan of country ham but unsure of how to properly slice it? Look no further!
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of cutting a country ham, including tips on which portions are best for certain dishes and how to freeze and store your slices.
Plus, we’ll even share a recipe for crispy, golden country ham slices.
So grab your knife and let’s get slicing!
How To Cut A Country Ham?
When it comes to cutting a country ham, it’s important to follow a few key steps to ensure that your ham is sliced properly and remains tender.
First, prepare the ham for cutting by placing it securely on a flat surface with the dressed side facing up. Hold the hock end with your left hand and begin about two inches from the hock. Make the first cut straight through to the bone, then slant the knife slightly for each successive cut. Slice down and partially around the bone, increasing the slant as the slices become larger. Eventually, the bone formation will cause you to cut smaller slices at different angles.
It’s important to note that when slicing a country ham, it’s best to slice parallel to the aitchbone. This will result in a more tender ham than if you were to slice it straight across.
Preparing The Ham For Cutting
To prepare your country ham for cutting, start by placing it on a flat surface with the dressed side facing up. Hold the hock end securely with your left hand, and begin your first cut about two inches from the hock. Make a straight cut through to the bone, and then slant the knife slightly for each successive cut.
As you slice down and partially around the bone, increase the slant of the knife as the slices become larger. Eventually, the bone formation will cause you to cut smaller slices at different angles. It’s important to be patient and take your time with each cut to ensure that you get the most out of your ham.
When slicing a country ham, it’s crucial to slice parallel to the aitchbone. This will result in a more tender ham than if you were to slice it straight across. By following this method, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious and tender ham that’s perfect for any occasion.
Once you’ve sliced your whole ham, you can freeze and store slices for later use. Remember to wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing in an airtight container or freezer bag. This will help prevent freezer burn and keep your ham fresh for longer.
Slicing Techniques For Country Ham
To slice a country ham, it’s important to use the right technique to ensure that the ham remains tender and flavorful. Here are some tips to help you slice your country ham like a pro:
1. Start with thinly sliced country ham. You can use center cut slices or “biscuit” cuts, which are smaller. Keep the slices very thin – less than 1/4 inch thick if possible. If you prefer your ham less salty, you can soak it for a couple of hours before slicing.
2. Add coconut oil or another frying oil to your skillet. As the ham cooks, it will shrink, soften, and release a bit of liquid. Just keep frying and add more oil if needed.
3. After 8 to 10 minutes of frying, your country ham slices should be crispy and golden. If the pan looks dry or you want to encourage browning, add additional frying oil of your choice.
When slicing your country ham, it’s important to use a sharp knife and to slice against the grain. This will help to keep the ham tender and prevent it from becoming tough or chewy. Also, be sure to remove any excess fat or rind before slicing.
If you have a bone-in country ham, follow the steps outlined above for preparing the ham for cutting. Remember to slice parallel to the aitchbone for the most tender slices.
Once you’ve sliced your country ham, you can freeze and store the slices for later use. Whether you’re using your sliced ham for biscuits or as a breakfast side dish, these tips will help you achieve delicious and tender results every time.
Best Portions For Different Dishes
Now that you know how to properly slice a country ham, it’s important to know which portions are best for different dishes.
For baking and breakfast slices, we recommend using the butt portion of the ham. This portion is leaner and more tender than other parts of the ham, making it perfect for baking or frying up for breakfast.
If you’re looking to cube your ham for use in salads or other dishes, we recommend using the shank slices. These slices are perfect for cubing and adding to salads or other dishes that require small, bite-sized pieces of ham.
It’s also important to note that thinner slices of country ham are best for serving with biscuits. Soak your slices in warm water for 30 minutes to remove some of the saltiness, then fry them up in a skillet with a little butter or oil until crispy and golden. Serve with a hot biscuit and some gravy for a classic Southern breakfast.
No matter how you choose to use your country ham, following these guidelines for slicing and portioning will ensure that your ham remains tender and delicious.
Freezing And Storing Country Ham Slices
If you find yourself with leftover country ham slices, freezing them is a great way to ensure they don’t go to waste. To freeze country ham slices, start by coating each slice lightly on both sides with shortening or lard. Then, wrap the desired number of slices tightly in foil and put them in the refrigerator until needed.
If you plan on storing the ham slices for longer periods of time, it’s best to wrap them in individual or family-sized servings and freeze them. To do this, slice the entire ham and wrap the slices in foil or plastic wrap. Then, place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe container or bag and store them in the freezer.
When it’s time to thaw and prepare the ham slices, simply remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can reheat the ham slices in the oven or on the stove as desired.
It’s important to note that country ham should not be refrigerated until it has been cooked or sliced. Instead, hang your ham in a cool, dry place away from animals and insects. If you plan on storing your whole country ham for an extended period of time, it’s best to wrap it in a brown paper bag and hang it in a cool, dry place. Avoid wrapping it in plastic as this can cause the ham to spoil.
By following these simple steps for freezing and storing country ham slices, you can enjoy this delicious meat for months to come.
Recipe: Crispy Golden Country Ham Slices
If you’re looking for a delicious way to enjoy your country ham slices, try this recipe for crispy golden ham slices.
First, choose country ham slices that are shrink-wrapped and very thinly sliced. Soak the ham slices in cold water for up to 30 minutes before cooking to help remove some of the salty taste. Make sure the ham is very dry before you start cooking, and don’t add any salt until you taste it.
Heat a heavy skillet with cooking oil until it shimmers at about 400F. Place the ham slices in the pan and cook on one side for about 2 1/2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 1/2 minutes on the other side. Use your spatula to straighten and hold down the ham as it may curl while cooking. The ham will shrink while it’s cooking, so start with a large piece.
Once the ham slices are browned and cooked, remove them from the skillet and make red-eye gravy with the pan drippings. Add 3/4 cup cold black coffee to the skillet drippings and scrape loose any particles of ham from the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup water to the pan and bring to a low boil, uncovered. Simmer gravy about 8 minutes to let it reduce and thicken. Serve drizzled over ham slices, biscuits or dip ham biscuits in the gravy.
For an alternative frying method, try using Coca Cola instead of oil. Cover the bottom of the frying pan with coke and enough to cover ham slices. Add ham and bring to a low boil for about five minutes, uncovered. The coke adds a bit of sweetness to the ham.
Pro tip: We really love country ham with pimento cheese! Give it a try! Remember, country ham slices are so thin, make sure you have several to serve per person.