Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 15, 2012 11:53 PM

thanksgiving pork shoulder roast? or ham?

I've got access to some local pork, bred by friends of mine. Bred to be yummy.
Thinking I'll do that instead of turkey, but I really don't know that much about anything besides pulled pork or chops or bacon or sausage.
Ham or shoulder roast?
How would you prepare it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ham,a tad less work to roast and much easier to carve and serve.By your wording I can't tell if you are opting for fresh or cured ham.Cooking,roasting is about the same for both,low temperature,300*f to 325*f.Fresh ham takes longer to cook per pound than wet or partial cure.

    Thanksgiving here is 3 spit roasted geese and one ass cheek of pig,AKA "fresh ham",oven roast rather than ham,cured.This pig was also bred to be yummy.A pasture and woods pig on the farm we call home.

    The size and how your ham is trimmed makes a difference.Mine will come home with all the skin and fat on,not trimmed for a consumer that "I don't want to pay for the trim I don't eat" now the norm.
    I begin in the oven cut edge down,trotter end up with three or four complete long slits through the skin,not into the fat.When the internal temperature is 100*f - 110*f I get it out to trim,a lot of the fat has cooked off and the skin is curling.With a pair of tongs and sharp knife remove the skin with some fat,salt the fat cap generously,lay on its side and return to oven with the loose fatty skin,just as good to eat as the roast when crispy.
    Me,I do not cook good pig to the USDA 160*f - 165*f ,I pull for stand time at 120*f -130*f for a finished temp of ? 145*f.
    Size and type of ham?How prepped by the butcher?Age of pig?Percentage of fat? your friend,farmer and butcher are your best source of information for starters.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lcool

      Yep, a good fresh ham is a fine thing - and not too tough to cook. Even if the OP left out your intermediate "trim" step it would still be fine. I tend to pull at 135 or so and agree that 145 is where you want to end up. In fact, the USDA has agreed with us for a couple years now. As you said, all of this assumes that the ham has not been cured (which seems quite unlikely).

      One other, basic point for the OP. The "ham" is the hind leg of the pig. The shoulder is cut from the front. There is also a cut that is sometimes referred to as a "picnic ham" which is the lower portion of the front leg.

      1. re: MGZ

        The reaction here to leaving out "intermediate trim" would be mutinous.Crispy skin brings out the worst of manners in all while I snip it into EQUITABLE pieces.
        We are a big group and do Thanksgiving twice,Thursday and Saturday or Sunday with traditional turkey,rotating three houses year in and year out.The geese and ass of the pig are eaten to the bone,all that's left is an oil slick and fumes.NO SKIN would likely get me disowned or lynched.

        1. re: lcool

          Hey, I agree with you it's a step that will reward the effort. However, if the OP is timid about the cook, the ham will still be awfully tasty if she leaves the fat on.

          1. re: MGZ

            amen to that,and we have no idea what her local butcher may have already done

    2. "Local pork....bred to be yummy"! My choice, if possible, would be a crown roast of pork, but a juicy, porky, fresh ham with a mantle of crispy fat sounds wonderful, too.

      5 Replies
      1. re: grampart

        Thank you! Ham it is!
        Who is OP?
        Ham has been cured and smoked and butcher is suggesting I just put it in a brown paper grocery bag at 200.
        Any comments on that?
        I had visions of a crackling, diamond scored skin, but that may be for another time.
        the ham is frozen (sigh).

        1. re: kristenmarthabrown

          Original Poster...that would be you...:)

          1. re: Cherylptw

            oooohhh. see, I'm usually referred to as OG, so....:- )

          2. re: kristenmarthabrown

            Ham has been cured and smoked and butcher is suggesting I just put it in a brown paper grocery bag at 200.

            I suspect this is not a fresh ham or shoulder and does not need to be cooked, only warmed for serving. Scoring it and covering with a glaze would probably give you the presentation you are looking for.

            1. re: kristenmarthabrown

              the partial cure ham,you can still score and glaze

              I would get some time in oven info from the butcher,in my area,5 or 6 butchers with two or more "wet" partial cures each is a big variable.