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Dec 22, 2009 06:02 AM

Xmas ham?

My SO likes a traditional Xmas dinner but I am not a fan of pink neoprene supermarket ham. I ordered a real smoked ham online once but it was too salty for her taste. ("real" in the sense it was clearly animal in origin, unlike the supermarket versions, which I think are synthesized in vats at Genzyme and then molded into vaguely ham-like shapes.) Any recommendations for a brand or store? Whole Foods maybe? We will be a small group so boneless would be preferable.

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  1. The Honey Baked Ham stores are quite good.

    1. Was it a country dry cured ham that was too salty? Boiling the ham can reduce the salt content. Harrington Ham (from Vermont) might be closer to what they are used to -- where you can use as is and the offer boneless, but better quality. The other alternative would be from a smaller local provider -- Lionette's, Blood Farm, some of the Meat CSAs, Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds but I would think these have a bone.

        1. re: paul balbin

          i do like Cooks too. but i do soak it over night in a 50/50 milk/water solution to change the texture up a bit and leach out some of the salt.

        2. There are supermarket "hams" and supermarket hams. The chopped, processed and re-formed boneless ones seem to be what you've tried in the past and are pretty awful.

          Not boneless, and not small (make soup with the leftovers) the Cooks brand bone-in spiral sliced hams are available at Star market and were pretty highly rated by the Cooks illustrated people (no relation) a couple of years ago. Throw away the hi-fructose glaze packet, bring the ham up to room temp by soaking it in hot water, and the cook the ham in a med-low oven in an oven bag with a couple of slits, and it will be very tasty. Make a glaze with good quality jam thinned with a little bourbon and depending on your preference, brown spices garlic, mustard, etc...
          If you remove the ham before it's completely up to temperature, you can crank up the oven, apply some of the glaze and caramelize it a bit.

          All that said, I agree with Bakerboyz that the honey baked ham stores are remarkably good- just too expensive and too far away for me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cpingenot

            You can also use a blow torch to caramelize the ham glaze. It works great and is fun for the pyro in you. Just go easy on the eggnog first, so you have a steady hand!

          2. Butcher Boy in North Andover makes a good ham.