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Jun 19, 2011 06:08 PM

Buy a ham on the Eastern Shore?

Years ago driving from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge up the Eastern Shores of Virginia and Maryland to Annapolis I recall seeing signs for hams for sale. I wish we'd stopped.

I'm going to be in Chincoteague, VA in August and don't want to miss this chance again.

Please help a Californian understand the variety of hams that will be available and the best place to buy one.

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  1. Are you referring to "Country Hams?" Hams that are salt cured and hung to dry for several months? Sometimes they are also smoked in a smokehouse. What they all have in common is that they are salty.

    Country hams can be found in many supermarkets/butcher shops in the Delmarva Peninsula. You can also mail order them from many companies throughout the south.

    One name you will hear often is Smithfield Ham. These are hams that are grown/produced in the Smithfield, Va area. You will pay a premium for a Smithfield. Another brand is Edwards. I can't tell you what brands you will see in Chincoteague, but from my experience, they are all about the same.

    If you are going to cook the ham while on vacation, have them cut off the "hock" so that it will fit in your pot or roaster pan. You can use the hock for collards or beans.

    When you get the ham home, don't be alarmed if there is mold on it. This is quite common. Either cut the mold off or scrub it off with a stiff brush and some water. It looks green/black.

    You can either boil or bake the ham. I usually boil my hams. I have listed a websie with cooking instructions for both baking and boiling.

    Make sure you soak your ham in water before cooking it! I usually soak my ham a couple of days before I cook it, changing the water every 6 to 8 hours. You want to get as much salt out of the ham as possible before cooking it.

    Cooking instructions:

    This is a good website. Take a look at the HAM FACTS section. Also in the NEWS section, there is a good write-up and recipe.

    Hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: genevapics

      Genevapics...thanks for the response.

      Which do you prefer, ham that is preserved just by salt or the one that is also smoked? (I guess this is like asking if one prefers corned beef, which is salted, over pastrami, which is salted and smoked).

      Is there a particular brand that you like best?

      1. re: Discerning1

        That's good info from genevapics above.

        I prefer the smoked ones. One of my favorite brands is R.M. Felts Southampton country hams (from Ivor, Va. on Rt. 460).

        1. re: Discerning1

          I apologize for not responding sooner. You know, it really doesn't matter to me. Either one if cooked properly will be delicious.