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Feb 6, 2008 04:41 AM

Rescuing a Smithfield ham

For the first time I cooked a Smithfield ham after soaking it overnight and following the oven recipe on the wrapping. Unfortunately it's so salty as to be inedible. Email response from Luter could only suggest slicing it extremely thin but it's still too salty.
Any ideas to rescue this ham especially without further cooking would be appreciated because I would hate to have to throw it out.

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  1. My favorite thing to do with a Smithfield ham (besides slice it thin and put it on biscuits...) is to make a big stew with ingredients that need a lot of seasoning. Especially Brunswick Stew (chicken, ham, corn, limas, potato, etc.). Takes a little while, but it's delicious and freezes very well.

    Ditto with a big pot of green beans or greens.

    On the other hand, you mentioned you didn't want to cook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wittlejosh

      Not that I didn't want to cook but I have already cooked the ham and I don't want to overcook it.

    2. You can rescue a large, round ham steak from it, cutting a .5" round across the grain. Re-soak the steak for 12-24 hrs., pat dry, and gently reheat with butter 10-15 minutes. (If you feel like cooking, a simple red eye gravy can be made.)
      If this works, you can repeat once a week until there is not much left except soupbone.
      The ham will keep well in the fridge.

      1. Without any further cooking or soaking, you don't have aa whole lot of options besides slicing thin. For future reference, no matter what the directions say, I always soak mine in clean fresh water several times, then put it in cold water, bring it to a simmer, change water and do it again. A Smithfield ham is not an inexpenisve thing, so I strongly encourage you to think about a little more cooking and/or soaking. And don't freeze it without working on salt reduction because freezing it will just make it taste saltier.

        Don't know how you cooked it, but I would try soaking it, then bringing it to a simmer a few times, tasting after each turn to see if it is reducing the saltiness.

        If that doesn't work, rather than throw it out, cut it into dice to use as seasoning. It should make great split pea soup, baked beans, cassoulet, all sorts of things. If you can slice it paper thin in it's present state of saltiness, then one thin slice along with a couple of cheeses and maybe some veggies should make a good panini.

        Good luck! Been there, done that, leanred a whoooole bunch of new swear words!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          I've been buying slices of Smithfield-type dry ham from my Asian grocery, and freezing chunks, for use when I need to add some salty, ham flavor to a soup or stew.

          The wiki article on country hams says
          "Whole country hams must be scrubbed and soaked for many hours prior to consumption in order to remove the salt cure and mold, otherwise they will be much too salty to eat. Even when soaked properly, they are still quite salty. There are several methods of cooking a country ham. They include slicing and pan-frying, baking whole, and simmering for several hours (in several changes of water), followed by baking whole."

          1. re: paulj

            There's really no way to get around the salt part. It is going to be salty, that's one of the characteristics (and flavor points) of a Smithfield/aged ham.

        2. I agree with those who say to use it as a seasoning -- split pea soup, fried rice, baked beans, with pasta and eggs, etc.

          1. That'd be a lot of ham to be used just as a seasoning, wouldn't it?
            I like the idea of cutting thick slices, and treating them. I've always had good success with a too-salty ham, by soaking it 24-48 hours in apple juice. It seems to pull out the salt a little better than just water.