country ham -- how long at room temp is safe?
- john clark
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?
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.
Country hams are one of the safest things to keep for good while at room temperature for a feast. That's why ham=feast.
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.