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Nov 24, 2012 05:50 AM

Help -- my fresh ham isn't -- what to do? Pics included

My friend got a whole pig. Since she has so much in her freezer she offered me a fresh ham, which I gladly accepted. I found a recipe - - and was excited to cook it. Last night I mixed up the rub ingredients and unwrapped the ham which I had defrosted. My problem is that I don't think she gave me a fresh ham. It smells smokey or hammy like a cured ham.

I know nothing about ham. I've never cooked one. The fresh one would really be just a big piece of pork. But with an actual ham I am stumped. Can I still cook it the same way? Would the timing be the same?

Please help save dinner. Thanks!

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  1. You are right that a fresh ham is just a large piece of pork. It should cook up white. Ham has been cured and smoked, and will cook up reddish. It is fully cooked.

    It is possible the pork was cured but not cooked, with the smoky flavor coming from perhaps a brine injection. If you cut off a small slice, and it is cooked, it should look like supermarket ham.

    You don't cook them the same. A fresh ham is roasted much like any other large cut of meat. A cooked cured ham needs to be reheated. If you cook over a high heat, it will dry out. If this is a cooked cured ham, wrap in foil and bake at 325 for a few hours. If you have a probe thermometer, check for temperature (doesn't have to be much over 130.

    1. Cant you just ask her? It's possible her butcher processed/cured the ham for her and what she meant by "fresh" is the it was a fresh kill.

      1. I doubt it was cooked. Her husband bought it from a friend who keeps some animals so his land qualifies as a farm. I don't even know if she would know if it was cooked. She just got the stuff and put it in her freezer. It was all wrapped and labeled. This one said shank end ham.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Disneyfreak

          Well if it was labeled a shank end ham than chances are it has all ready been cooked and/or cured/smoked. Most butchers wouldn't label it as ham otherwise.

          The previous poster nailed it-just cut off a small slice and you should pretty much be able to tell right away. It it has been cured/smoked you can just reheat it slowly to avoid drying out. You can even glaze it if you prefer.

          If you find it is raw pork you can roast at 325 for aprox 20-25 minutes per pound. Internal temp should be 160 after resting so take out around 150-155.

          Lastly if you really want to know the answer call the butcher, We buy a half cow every year and have a local butcher dress our deer. Both places wrap and label them with their name.

        2. is the skin on the ham white.....or dark?

          5 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            The skin is brownish. Here are some pictures. It currently has a rub of olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and rosemary on it.

            1. re: Disneyfreak

              The ham looks like it is both cured and smoked to me.. As others have suggested, slice off a bit and give it a taste. You do not need to pan fry it..... If the cure has had some sugar in it, the rosemary & garlic may not be the best aromatics for all to compliment the taste of the ham. . Most hams like this will have a glaze applied, (but not necessary) the other ingredients of rosemary and garlic will not penetrate the meat any further......maybe best to scrape off and create a side sauce.

              I would reheat the ham at 225-275* for about 2.5-3.o hours. It does not need to be served hot....only warm.

              Most holiday hams would be heated to get the chill out, then glazed.. Many will serve the ham at room temperature as well.

              1. re: Disneyfreak

                Yup that look like a cured ham, fully cooked. Reheat slowly, covered at no more than 250-275 degree oven. Probably about 15 per lb.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  You are spot on with the low and slow.Stand time is a big player here because of the bone and quick,wet cure.
                  Most small scale operations with the partial cure never get the meat past 110*f or 115*f.
                  Nearly cooked but a long way from with the bone in.

                2. re: Disneyfreak

                  You are right it isn't a fresh ham.AND by your post it isn't a big bin grocery store,factory,holiday ham either.
                  Here goes with some info from another small farmer and trained chef.
                  MOST,not all lockers,butchers etc that work on a small scale use a PARTIAL WET CURE.Think something between a US supermarket wet ham and fresh.This ham is very like a ham the Brits cook,Jamie Oliver has 2 or 3 recipes that the family that orders mine SWEAR BY (here in Md).More work than I usually am willing to get involved with.Me,lazy and 50 years of ham cooking.
                  Yes it is some what "cooked" so it's best to reduce your oven temp and time.NOT FULL COOKED
                  Me,the cook...,ham,cut side down in a LARGE DEEP vessel,bowl,roaster cover pretty tight or even an oven bag 230*f to 300*f ,16 to 18 minutes per pound.Or better yet an internal temperature of 115*f to 125*f .Uncover,do not be surprised at the amount of liquid,it maybe a lot.Now it's STAND TIME 30 minutes or more with a loose cover,then to platter,board for carving.
                  Your aromatics or rub look great !!!! If you still have the lemon you zested throw it in with the roast.
                  The volume of liquid you may have is magnificent to cook dry beans in.Just chill,skim the fat add water and beans.