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Old 12-22-2007, 01:33 AM   #1
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Super Christmas Ham!

I have been talking and bugging Larry quite a bit about his Thanksgiving Ham because I want to do one for Christmas. I was originally going to just have 1 friend over but once word got out well, the guest list has reached 15 people now!

So I really slacked off on getting a Ready Cook ham.. Long story: I went out to a few grocery stores and all they had were some shotty fully cooked hams. I was losing my mind. I went home and started searching the internet for ready cook hams trying to find them locally, calling butchers whatever I could think of. Eventually I figured out they are "Country Hams" and (as Larry had cooked) Smithfield seemed to be the best.

I didn't think I had much of a chance of finding a Smithfield with so little notice so I set my sites on just *any* country ham (maybe 2 depending on the weight). I searched online more and more and found a thread somewhere w/ a guy looking for one in California (I am in Seattle Washington) so I figured I would see if any of the suggestions existed here as well since they were close..

The only place that was around here was Ranch 99 Market, an Asian grocery chain. The person said they sometimes have half Country Hams. Being desperate I was willing to settle for half hams. I drove out to the Ranch 99 Market (I didn't want to call I have a horrid time understanding foreign people on the phone, I did my last job interview w/ a Bosnian and I just said yes to everything, I have been working for them for almost a year and a half now hehe).

So I enter the store and I don't see a single ham in the place. I look on the counter and there are some picnic cuts in some fancy bags. Then I look all the way left and there she was, 19 lbs or sweet sweet pig. Not only did I find my country ham but it was a Smithfield! I bought it right away and took her home. I have been reading up on how to prepare and cook it.

So I am super excited for my biggest cook and to have such a great piece of meat to work with! More pics as she gets going. Sorry for such a long post!

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Old 12-22-2007, 04:41 AM   #2
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Greg....................don't panic................but.......................... ...um....................that's not the right kind of ham............but we can make it work. Country hams are delicious, a true Southern treat, however they are salt cured. Meaning, they are super salty and you WILL need to soak that ham for 24-36 hours (36 hours for less salty taste) in cold water in the refridgerator, changing the water every 12 hours or so. Otherwise it will be too salty to eat. Before soakin you will need to take a brush and scrub the mold off of the ham. This is perfectly normal for country hams and is not harmful whatsoever. If you do not want to go through the scrubbing/soaking process, there's another option. You can take the ham to the butcher and have him slice it up for you into ham steaks (he'll slice directly through the bone), which in the end will be much easier to soak the individual pieces when you are ready to cook them. These are great for breakfasts as well as seasoning beans and soups. And then you can search again for a "Ready Cook" ham.

I'm not suggesting you do the latter, YOU can make that country ham perfectly if you're willing to go through the scrubbing/soaking process. If you go ahead and do this after you have soaked and scrubbed, cook according to our plan. A ham that big is going to carry over a good amount of temperature once you pull it off. You want the internal temperature to be 160*, so pull it off the smoker around 153*. Good luck, that ham is gonna be good and worth the effort in the end!!!!
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:39 AM   #3
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Larry is right. What you have is the "gold standard" of country hams: old-style, long-shank, dry cured for a minimum of 6 months. Cooking it the right way is a little complicated, but the result will be worth it. After you cook it, slice it paper-thin and serve it with home-made biscuits... well, that's what I would do. :P And, like Larry said, don't worry about any mold on the ham. I once visited a small ham curing operation in Virginia where the owner showed me two hams his father had cured 50 years previously - still good, and I would have jumped at the chance for a sample. The owner told me one ham was his "show ham", and a few slices would be removed from time to time to enter into competitions. The other he was saving to serve at his daughter's wedding reception, if she ever got married. I was tempted to ask him for an early invitation...
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Old 12-22-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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Larrys:

Thanks a ton for the tips.

Larry Wolfe:
I had looked up the information about the soaking and the mold and I am damn ready to take it head on! I am really hoping to give everyone the best ham they have had. I honestly could not find any other ham that was not fully cooked and I am glad this seems perfect.
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Old 12-22-2007, 01:42 PM   #5
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Is this thread for real? I'm sorry, but, anything with mold on it goes in the trash...not my smoker! Just wondering...this whole thing sounds fishy to me...but maybe I'm a tad aloof!
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Old 12-22-2007, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Rempe
Is this thread for real? I'm sorry, but, anything with mold on it goes in the trash...not my smoker! Just wondering...this whole thing sounds fishy to me...but maybe I'm a tad aloof!

Kinda like when your Grandma used to just pinch off the mold
on the bread and then make you a sandwich anyways?? and truely
expect you to eat it?

Oh wait..... I hope that wasn't just my Grandma!!!
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Old 12-22-2007, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Rempe
Is this thread for real? I'm sorry, but, anything with mold on it goes in the trash...not my smoker! Just wondering...this whole thing sounds fishy to me...but maybe I'm a tad aloof!
Not aloof. Just too far north to have had any experience with country hams. Here's some enlightenment: http://www.vapeanuts.com/virginia-ham-faq.html

Just don't follow their advice about browning the ham in a 40-degree oven. I'm pretty sure they meant to say "400".

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Old 12-22-2007, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Rempe
Is this thread for real? I'm sorry, but, anything with mold on it goes in the trash...not my smoker! Just wondering...this whole thing sounds fishy to me...but maybe I'm a tad aloof!
Mold is a key ing in a lot of dry cured thing...parma ham, some salami
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Old 12-22-2007, 02:12 PM   #9
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Ok...just checking...
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Old 12-22-2007, 02:21 PM   #10
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while I'm still not sold on this being a real thread, yes
mold is normal.

I remember my fake uncle taking me out to the barn,
grabbing a machete and whacking salty mold off a ham
that was hanging from the rafters. I told him I would not
eat that, but the next morning I sure did...made fabulous
red eye gravy.
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