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country ham -- how long at room temp is safe?

john clark Dec 17, 2004 11:37 AM

I am planning an open-house day involving a country ham. My lizard-brain vaguely remembers a rule that foods become dangerous after forty minutes between forty and one hundred and forty degrees fahrenheit. But, surely this does not apply to something as salty as country ham!

I guess I should serve, carve some, and refrigerate the ham, then bring it out later to carve more, etc... what a pain.

So, how long should country ham, sliced or not, sit around in a cozy warm house? An hour or two? Forty minutes? All day?

  1. j
    Jim H. Dec 17, 2004 12:59 PM

    Country ham should be served at room temp...altho kept in the refrigerator. I think you are safe with 4-5 hours...probably longer. They ship cooked country ham and it takes days to get here.

    1. k
      Karl S. Dec 17, 2004 02:11 PM

      Country hams are one of the safest things to keep for good while at room temperature for a feast. That's why ham=feast.

      1. p
        Pork Butt Dec 17, 2004 04:29 PM

        Cooked country hams were originally meant to last _days_ at room temperature! After all, refrigeration is a relatively recent concept. The salt in the ham is primarily a preservative and not as a seasoning. That's why such hams are served sliced so thin.

        But if you keep your house very warm, it may not be a good idea to leave it out for more than half a day just to be safe, especially if people will be attacking the beast themselves. I have bought slices of jambon cru, raw cured ham similar to proscuitto, from charcuiteries in France that keep a leg out in the open all day, from which slices are taken by knife. The ham was behind a counter but even so I doubt that the food police would tolerate that practice in the US.

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