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What kind of ham is "deli style ham":?

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Hello - in Cook's Illustrated "The Best Light Recipe", they refer to an ingredient as "deli style ham" (it's an add on to macaroni and cheese). What kind of ham is deli style ham? Cooked? Black Forest?


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  1. bland-ish cooked ham from the deli is how i'd read it. i like the black forest ham, though -- if it doesn't have an aftertaste. frankly, i'd use some country ham from over in the meat department -- or get a ham slice and cube it.....

    1. in my experience, "deli-style ham" has always been the term for the cooked sliced stuff you get at the deli counter. alkapal is right, us a better product - something that you like or would normally use if cooking a dish with ham.

      1. Deli ham refers to boiled or baked ham at the deli...you could use whatever you like at the deli counter.

        1. My speculation would be that "deli style" is used to distinguish a city ham (cured in brine - what you typically get in a deli) from a country ham (dry-cured and smoked) or a Danish ham (usually sold in cans).

          ETA: Most ham sold is city ham. Virginia ham, honey-baked ham, black forest ham, etc. are all brine-cured. Country ham and Danish / pressed ham are exceptions to this general rule.

          1. I think "deli style" refers more to the way it is sliced (its form) rather than the specific variety of ham. The deli at my local grocer usually has boiled ham, black forest, virginia baked, honey ham, etc. I think any of these, sliced relatively thin, as if for a sandwich, would fit the bill. Choose the one that you feel adds the best flavor... or get the one that's on special!

            1. but thin slice doesn't make sense for the dish of mac n' cheese..
              anyway, i have ordered the ham (if it's a good deal, and tastes good) at the deli to be in 1/2" slices sometimes, when i do want to make it with grits, or make cubes for adding to something. i always taste, though. many of the deli hams have a bad "aftertaste."

              1. There are two styles of deli ham, one has 5% water added and the cheaper stuff has 35%. Most delis will carry both, you can tell by the price, my preference would be the more expensive one . But in general a watery type boiled ham, as opposed to a baked ham which is drier. Personally, I would use any kind of ham I had around,I always freeze leftovers and if I didn't have any, I'd go to the deli and just ask for a big chunk off one of their loaves. I almost think they are telling you the quality isn't all that important.

                1. I don't know what Cook's Illustrated has in mind here (and frankly very seldom care), but I'd say a really fine ham would be wasted in a dish such as this, but a lunchmeat sort of ham would be wimpy and ineffectual. A wet-cured ham in a block (such as Cure 81) or in a slice (such as Cook's or Farmer John) would be my choice, preferably the slice. One of those, typically retailing at around $3.50, would give enough ham to make a fine addition to your mac. It's nice in scrambled eggs, too, if you have some extra...