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Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham

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To continue the discussion from the Mid-Atlantic board on So Mo stuffed ham. My parents, who live in St. Mary's Co, make it several times a year for holidays and such. The description of the dish posted on the Mid Atlantic board is correct except for the fact that we use a fresh ham. You make a mixture of very freshly sliced kale and cabbage mixed with hot pepper flakes to taste and stuff it into slits in the meat. It does require some muscle to do this. The ham is most properly served at the table already sliced so you see the green marbling effect from the kale and cabbage and on biscuits at parties.
If you want the exact recipe send me an email and I'll get it the next time I'm home.

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  1. I forgot to mention that it comes from, so I've been told, the Cornwall region of England, where the settlers came from who founded Saint Mary's Co. in 1634 which explains why it's not found elsewhere.

    6 Replies
    1. re: shellymck

      can anyone tell me if there is someplace to order the St Mary's Stuffed Ham and have it shipped to Ohio?

      1. re: Ohioian

        If you haven't found a ham, check out Raleys market in Ridge MD. They will also give you the recipe if you're up to it. My mom is from Chaptico, so I've been making it for years.

        Good luck

        1. re: teacupchef

          I live in North Carolina now but i know where Raley's is and I know where McKays FoodLand was when I was a kid but it is now on Great Mills rd. and they sell the seasonal delicious ham prepackaged. They are the only ones I know of in the county who prepackage it for you and take all the work away from it for you. I am making it (no I won't forget the cheese clothe) in a few days and I was able to find one at Food Lion in Virginia but it is only a 35 minute travel for me as appossed to Mckay's in St.Mary's where I was born and raised. We had it every holiday thet required large ammounts of food. So this year is the first time my hubby's side of the family will know what it tastes like but they have already requested no cracked red pepper so in it's place I will take a bottle of Texas Pete if they want it hot.It is the only way to make everyone happy and I know in my heart that this will come out great. I am taking my cracked red pepper in case they want to put a pice ot 2 in their greens on it. Everyone is expecting a huge layout and I am prepared to bring in 22 pounds of meat and I am only paying 33 bucks for it. Nice down here compared to there, cause the meat is not as expensive here as it is up in St.Mary'sCounty at present. Try the Texas Pete and tell me if it worked for you ! Thanks !

        2. re: Ohioian

          Ask your local grocer large food chain to order it for you so you can have it in Ohio. lots of out of state people love it ! Especial some Ohio friends of ours from Cinncinnati. Life long family friends and we miss them very much !!

          1. re: Ohioian

            All I know is that McKays on Great Mills road packages it, maybe if ya beg they will mail you an order or more !

          2. re: shellymck

            I will be sharing this on face book if you do not mind because I hail from 1600 Buckingham century ! Wishing to know more about the name Birch as well !

          3. I found some recipes online, which variously recommend "cured ham" or "corned ham." Your family uses *fresh* ham, like an uncured leg o' pork, or just a regular ham from the grocery store?

            I wonder if you could look at the linked recipes and see what you think. A couple of big obstacles for me: if I were to use a gnarly old country ham I don't see how I could get very much stuffing into it. That stuff is tough. Also, any tips on where and how to cut the slits to stuff, and does your family bone the ham, and what about tying it up? This sounds like a major pain in regions comparable to the ham-producing parts of a hog.

            My stepmother is friends with the family that runs Chaptico Market, maybe I could volunteer to help them get hams ready for a church dinner. There seems to be a lot to this.

            Link: http://www.baycooking.com/stuffed_ham...

            2 Replies
            1. re: john clark

              I checked with mom and it's a corned ham. Sorry, I guess that was shorthand for fresh corned ham, I'm not such a huge meat eater myself. You use a long knife to make slits about an inch wide and use your index finger to work the greens in. The recipes I saw look about right to me.

              1. re: john clark

                It MUST be a CORNED HAM and the hole slits MUST go with the grain ! Most Food Lions will order corned hams for you upon request at approx 3 weeks in advance ! Just playing it safe !

              2. Oh dang the page with the recipe has disappeared. Can anyone help me out with a recipe for this dish? I am thinking of making it for Thanksgiving this year.

                1 Reply
                1. re: antepiedmont

                  AND DON"T FORGET...traditionally So Md Stuffed Ham is made by the Men of the household...one of the few time-honored traditions of the Men cooking for the women!! woohoo...Gentlemen don your aprons!

                2. Yes, if you're patient. I lived in St. Mary's County for ten years and made several of these. Stand by -- tomorrow. Promise.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Sherri

                    For food that evolved in country homes, there is no "one" "correct" recipe. Variations abound - I'll tell you how we do a St. Marys County stuffed ham and suggest alternatives.

                    First alternative is that I'm inordinately fond of the green (vegetable) stuffing, so I make lots. You can cut back on the amounts if you'd like. Also, I tend to make it spicy because that's also how I like it. Cut back on the red pepper and mustard seeds if you want a softer flavor.

                    My mouth is watering as I write. Looks like there will be a stuffed ham on our Thanksgiving table as well. There's nothing better than stuffed ham on a biscuit w/ sweet butter and some fresh oysters!!!

                    1 fresh ham, aka a corned ham. In the southwest, I cannot find this so I buy a leg of pork, remove the skin and brine it for several days. NB: the pork skin is delicious cooked with dried beans.

                    About two days before you want to eat this ham:
                    make 1 1/2 - 2 inch slits all over this ham, about 2-3 inches deep. This will be where you put the stuffing. The more slits you make, the more stuffing that you can stuff into the pockets. Try not to have the slits connect - they're too large that way and the ham doesn't slice as well.

                    Vegetable stuffing: 3-5 lbs fresh kale, 2 heads cabbage, 2 lbs fresh mustard greens or watercress, 2 bunches of celery, 6 onions. Chop all these rather finely and blanch. Chill immediately. Mix with: SPTT, 4 TBLS dried red pepper flakes, 2 TBLS each: mustard seeds & celery seeds. Combine the greens and seasonings well.

                    Using your hands, stuff each pocket quite full of the greens. There should be some left over. Pile them on top of the ham, packing tightly.

                    Many people today tie the ham into a 100% cotton pillowslip, I use muslin cloth. Whatever you choose, enclose the ham completely. Tie or sew it closed.

                    Using a very large stockpot or washtub, braise the ham slowly in water to cover for several hours - timing depends on size of the ham. General rule of thumb was about 15 min per lb. Allow to cool in the water and drain the ham. Refrigerate, still in the cloth, for 24 hours.

                    When ready to serve, remove cloth and slice very thinly. We always piled the first cuts on biscuits and eat them standing around this lovely pink & green masterpiece.

                    Stuffed ham freezes pretty well. I'll make approx 1 lb packets and keep this delicious reminder of St. Mary's County for nibbling.

                    The recipe looks daunting with all the chopping, but it is very straightforward. Most of us are not used to cooking in bedclothes either, but it is very convenient. BTW, you can kiss the pillowslip goodbye - it doesn't recover from this operation.

                    Note: when I yearn for stuffed ham, I'll make just the greens and moisten them with bacon fat to cook slowly for a taste memory. I used to cater at Sotterly Plantation and this was a sure-fire hit.

                    Good Luck.

                    1. re: Sherri

                      We were always disappointed with trying to freeze it, but perhaps it depends on your recipe. I've also done a substitute, cooking pork chops in a spiced greens mix.

                    2. re: Sherri

                      Sherri, I'm on the West Coast (moved from SO MD 5 yrs ago). Does your Mom give a substitute for "corned ham"? West Coast doesn't seem to know what that is!!! What does she recommend as a substitute? Really appreciate the info...we too are making one for Thanksgiving and plan to share with the neighbors. they've never even heard of stuffed ham before.

                      1. re: baygourmeter

                        1 fresh ham, aka a corned ham. In the southwest, I cannot find this so I buy a leg of pork, remove the skin and brine it for several days. NB: the pork skin is delicious cooked with dried beans.

                        Refer to the post "Sherri replied to Sherri". I answered the request for this recipe a day later and simply answered myself.

                        As you'll see, I live in the southwest and also cannot find a corned ham so I corn my own. It is a piece of cake requiring only some refrigerator space and extra time.

                        Good Luck!
                        Now if I could only get some of those oysters .........

                        P.S. You've confused me with another poster. My mother wouldn't have known a stuffed ham from a stuffed pork chop. As she liked to say, her mother instructed her daughters to excell in one room of the house - and she did not choose the kitchen!

                        1. re: Sherri

                          Sherri,
                          The one thing that I am trying to find is the corning recipe. What type of brine do you use and how long is several days? I live in TX now, originally from Charles County, MD. I knew from my brother living in NM that I couldn't get the corned ham here. In fact many around here look at you like you have 2 heads when it is brought up ( I always laugh, because I know they are missing out). Just trying to get different ideas. Found one recipe that just called for salt, so if you wouldn't mind sharing your brine recipe, I would appreciate it. =)

                          1. re: SOMDGIRL74

                            I was surprised to see this old thread resurrected. Corning a leg of pork is no different from corning a piece of beef. That shouldn't scare anyone; only the animal is different. This is a very old preservation technique and can be used for lamb, venison as well as beef and pork. I don't have a 'recipe' for my brine, I add as I go but will try to recreate as best as I can.

                            I use a clean plastic bucket and always refrigerate this for the brining period since I live in AZ and it isn't cold enough to leave outdoors. You'll need enough water to cover the fresh leg of pork completely and enough salt in the brine to float an egg.

                            What'd she say????? Add salt to the water, stirring to dissolve completely, it will take at least 4 cups, often more. Put an egg in the water. When it floats, that's enough salt. [You are not trying to preserve this meat for storage throughout the winter, the salt is for flavor.]
                            Proceed.

                            For flavor I add several cloves of garlic, peppercorns, red pepper pods or flakes, celery seed, mustard seed, bay leaves and a cup or two of brown sugar. The garlic is not traditional, I like garlic.

                            Brine the meat for a minimum of three days to a maximum of ten days. A week works nicely. Good luck; hope this helps.

                            1. re: Sherri

                              That sounds so much easier that other recipes I have found. Thank You. Looking forward to trying this. =)

                              1. re: SOMDGIRL74

                                Post and let us know how the ham worked out for you. It's still too hot here (triple digits) for me to think about a St. Mary's County Stuffed Ham, but it will appear on our holiday table. Promise.

                                The combination of my posts should result in a good product for you. I'm loosey-goosey about the brine flavorings; go with what you like best. If you want more punch, up the chiles and black peppercorns. I usually shoot for a week of brining, plus a day or two for the cooking/cooling process. Good luck - Happy Eating!

                              2. re: Sherri

                                This is one of my favorite treats, yet no one in my family actually makes it. My mother always does a Smithfield ham for the holidays but you've made me decide to make this instead. Did I say this is one of the best foods ever?!!!

                                Thank you for sharing your expertise!

                              3. re: StuffedHamFreak

                                So, just to clarify- The brining process should never include vinegar. I have never heard of such. And it is done to corn the ham. This is a prepartory step, see Sheri's above post, when only a fresh leg of pork is to be found. If you can find a corned ham you can omit this step. This will be my first year using fresh ham, as only smoked hams are to be found in western NC. I'll let you know how it turns out.

                        2. I'm so glad you posted this thread. We are making a stuffed ham for Christmas for the first time. I thought, for some reason, that the stuffed ham tradition actually developed from the slave communities in SoMD who would stuff the head of the pig?

                          I'd love to hear your recipe when you have a minute-- we were planning to use the recipe from the Maryland's Way cookbook.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Procrastibaker

                            I live in Bushwood Md., and am cooking a stuffed ham as we speak.It is the main dish in St. Mary's County. There are several variations for the stuffing recipe depending on which part of the county your from.I use a mixture of kale and cabbage.You can log on to So.Md.com and probably find some info.I could tell you a couple of ways but i type slow.As far as I know, you can only find stuffed ham in St. Mary's and parts of Charles counties.The stuffing of hams was started by slaves in this area.They would stuff the jowls of the hog[all the good parts of the hog went to the main house].The plantation masters began experimenting with hams instead. My sister lives on the west coast and also can't find corned hams.Her in-laws Fed-Ex hams to her.You can also bake the stuffed ham but it has to be done a certain way.I'v done it several times and it turns out perfect.Sometimes it's the only way because it's hard to find pots that will hold a 25lb ham jammed with 12lbs of stuffing.

                            1. re: bushwood joe

                              Hello Bushwood Joe. I would like to serve this in North Creek NY this Christmas season. Baking it sounds alot more appealing to me. Could you please let me know the certain way. Thanks and merry.

                              1. re: rlively

                                This is a way late reply, but it may help those interested in "Southern Maryland" stuffed ham. These hams are made with corned ham, Corning is an entirely different cure from "city", or "country", and is absolutely a cure, as opposed to a "fresh" ham. I have made several "stuffed" hams over the years. I live next to St. Mary's county, and purchase my ready-corned hams from McKays food stores. McKays is a local minni-chain with perhaps four stores. As such, they cater to local tastes. Around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, they carry whole, as well as butt or shank corned ham. Of course, you have to stuff the ham yourself. At one time, stuffed hams could be purchased at Thompsons Seafood Corner in Charlotte Hall Md. prepared by one of the local ladies, however I do not know if they still do this.

                                1. re: SMIB

                                  I am still interested in this topic. I'm glad to hear that there is a good source for whole hams (I live in NoVA but I often visit The County). I am still unclear on the actual stuffing process; "cut slits in the ham" does not make itself clear to my very literal mind. How deep and how long are these slits? How much dressing can you stuff in there? How many slits?

                                  I really want to master this distinctive rgional dis but I'm not even going to start until I have a clear idea of how to do it. That's just how I roll.

                                  1. re: antepiedmont

                                    OK. With a knife you slice a large enough hole to several in the same length of where the length of the meat goes and opposite the way the ham had grown. So if the meat is going left to right you cut the holes from top to bottom. When placing these holes make sure you do not make a single hole that would go all the way to the bottom or you loose your greens thru the hole. You need several holes but there cannot be a single hole placed all the way thru any part of the ham. Make sure the holes are wide enough for you to place your 3 middle fingers in so about a two inch slice is fine and about two and a half inches deep depending on the width of the ham. Hope this helps. Oh use a food processor to chop and dice the veggies and mix them all together in a very large pan, largest you can find. If you have too many greens left over it is ok. Just smother the top of the ham with the greens as a covered layer of greens. It will slice just fine in the opposite direction as what you sliced the holes for. Don't ever, ever doubt yourself or it will come out crappy ! best of luck !!

                          2. Hi,

                            Sending this on the off chance you are still replying. I'm going to a church Stuffed Ham and Oyster dinner tomorrow in Valley Lee. I'd loved to see the recipe for your parents version of Stuffed Ham.

                            Thanks, Kate

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: katemcven

                              Kate was that at the firehouse? I have not fried oysters in forever and just love them ! Were they big this year or medium or small? How was the stuffed ham? This recipe not only goes back to england but it started before the settlers left England to settle here. Loads of fun on this recipe and if you google it you will find lots more on the subject. Thanks.

                            2. So delighted to find this thread. Nothing smells more like Christmas to me than the smell of this ham! I've introduced many here in Asheville to our family tradition. My mom's family is from Piney Point MD, I've been to many dinners in Valley Lea, especially the Famous Crabcake dinner in August at the Catholic church. My aunt Mary Gale Adams wrote a book called Who's who of St. George Island and it includes a recipe for stuffed ham written by Great Aunt "Baby Lena".

                              "Stuffed Ham"
                              Ingredients-
                              HAM. (I use a corned ham, but you can also use a smoked ham or a cooked ham, But avoid a fresh ham because it doesn't have enough flavor. It's too fresh!)
                              If you use a 20 lb. ham cook for 4 1/2 or 5 hours. A smaller ham, say about 13 #s, cook for 3 1/2 hours.
                              MY TEST FOR DONENESS: I buy a corned ham with the big bone (ham bone) sticking out the end, and I make sure this bone is sticking up in the pot. When I think the ham should be done, I very carefully push on this bone. If it breaks, the ham is done. If it doesn't break, I cook the ham until it does! REMEMBER, you are working with a scalding pot of water-BE CAREFUL!!...or don't even try it. (I stand in a chair when I do it.)

                              The Ham Stuffing (or dressing)
                              CHOP FINE AND MIX:
                              CABBAGE, 2 heads
                              KALE, pound
                              ONIONS, 2 pounds
                              CELERY, 1 bunch
                              MUSTARD SEED, 1 box
                              RED PEPPER, crushed--as much as you like-, or fresh pods chopped fine.
                              We like it hot.
                              salt and pepper to taste.
                              Cut the skin from the ham, leaving some fat on the ham. (Fry a little of this skin fat, and taste to see how salty the ham is, then you will know how much salt to add to the dressing, or how much not to add.)
                              PUNCH THE HAM FULL OF HOLES, ABOUT THE SIZE OF A LARGE BUTCHER KNIFE'S THINKNESS. Off-set the holes, so they won't run into each other. Stuff the holes full, and pack the remainder on the outside of the ham. Put the whole ham in a pillow cae, and tie securely, or sew it up in cheesecloth. Put the ham in a large pot, or lard can with the large huck bone pointing to the top. Cover with water and boil.
                              Don't start timing the ham until the water is boiling, thn you can turn it down some. Boil Gently til done.
                              Let it get good and cold before cutting!
                              DELICIOUS!
                              * on this note, When I asked how much red pepper to use because my ham's have never been as hot as I remember my relatives making them, my aunt Patty said the stuffing should make your hands burn when you're mixing it.

                              1. I grew up in St.Mary's Co and if you have not had the Ridge vesion of Stuffed Ham, then you are being mislead. The Wood family in Ridge, and the "Scheibles" crowd are the only ones who an deliver true St. Mary's Co style stuffed ham.

                                I have memeories of the kale, onions, and abbae stuffing with my boyfriend - red pepper burning our fingers, cooling with egg nog and punch later. We were rich in tradition, and you must follow 6he tradition as well as the receipe to achieve results.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mickeynorris

                                  Hi mickeynorris my momm Emma Jane Haa And I grew up every easter having stuffed ham but I cannot find a corned ham anywhere. I live in PA not my family is in NJ and I would love to make this if anyone knows how I could get a corned ham.

                                  1. re: Jlcupolo

                                    If you read this entire post, you will see that I have posted a recipe for corning your own ham. I live in the SW and cannot buy corned ham. It is dead simple to do but takes some time and refrigerator space.