Easter is right around the corner and do you know what you are serving? Ham is a traditional Easter food that dates back centuries. Before refrigeration fresh pork was butchered in the fall and whatever meat could not be eaten before Lentwas then cured. This curing process lasted several weeks making it ready just in time for Easter.
Today, there are many different varieties of ham which differ depending on the cut of meat and the curing process. Hams are sold as whole ham, butt end, shank end, and as center cut ham steaks. Hams are available fresh, cured, or smoked. This curing process is used to preserve the meat, add color and intensify the flavor.
Ham can be prepared in a variety of ways. Most hams purchased at the local grocery store are already fully or partially cooked and tend to cook well at lower temperatures for a long period of time. It is recommended that these hams be cooked at 300 degrees for approximately 18 minutes per pound for a whole bone-in ham. A ham is thoroughly cooked when an internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. To help prevent the ham from drying out during the long cooking process, add a liquid to the roasting pan, such as pineapple juice, apple juice, or cola and tightly wrap the ham with foil to help reduce evaporation as the meat slowly cooks. If glazing your ham, add the glaze during the last thirty minutes of cooking. Another great cooking method for a ham is cooking it in the slow cooker on low for approximately five to six hours. Ham steaks tend to do well pan fried or grilled.