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Feb 26, 2011 06:56 AM

storing and slicing a raw country ham

I would love to buy a good country ham and keep it on my counter, like a jamon serrano, using it for various recipes over the course of a few weeks. Has anybody done this? The purveyors I've researched recommend cooking the whole ham or else slicing it all at once and freezing the slices.

I'm also concerned about being able to slice it. Various websites suggest bringing the whole ham to a butcher for slicing, or else slicing it at home with a meat slicer or band saw. I don't need the ham carved into perfect steaks, but I don't want to buy it if it's going to be impossible to slice -- or at least hack -- into reasonable serving pieces without specialized equipment.

How do you store and handle a country ham if you don't want to eat it all at once?

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  1. Only bought a whole country ham once, and we froze what we hacked off. And I do mean hacked: we were poor students, with danged few kitchen tools. Hubby got a hacksaw and chunked that poor ham to bits (honestly--found a few bits on the ceiling)! All these years later, I buy country ham sliced and freeze it.

    1. I buy at least one per year....Slice off what I want, when I want. I refrigerate it for a week or two....then slice, vacuum seal, and freeze. It's a job...but for me... worth the effort.

      1. There is a funny old country saying, that eternity is two people and a country ham (the link I’ve added below contains a variation of it as well). It is certainly a lot of cured meat to have around, especially if you intend to eat it in thin slices. I have stored one in an extra refrigerator I keep in the garage, but frankly, I haven’t bought one in longer than I like because we can’t usually finish it without tiring and until recently I haven’t been able to get enough others to understand how delicious (and safe) it is to eat it properly. Personally, I can’t imagine ever (re)cooking one again. As for slicing, I have had success using my very sharp, very thin filet knife (plastic handled, purchased for $15 at my local bait & tackle shop).

        The following article might permit you some interesting reading as well as useful information about country hams in general. There’s a link to a related, older article by the author as well. Be warned, it will make you want to order one soon: