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  • Serves: 12 Servings

Southern Ham

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Category: Meat

 Ingredients List

  • 1 Cured Virginia ham


The hams that drip at you in the meat-market case in our time are not at
all like the hams of old days. The old-style hams are still available, but
they come from the South, to be more specific, Virginia. Western and
eastern hams, for the most part, are injected with water, salt, and
chemicals until they blow up like a balloon ... and shrink like a popped
balloon when you bake them. In Virginia the old way is still used. The ham
is cured with salt and pepper, smoked, and hung to dry, and I mean dry. The
weight loss is terrific since there is little water left in the meat. In
the food business, water is where the weight is and therefore the money is
in the water. You can understand why a Virginia ham will cost you around
fifty dollars. The most common name from the state is that of Smithfield.

Since the ham has been cured for so long, it must be highly salted.
Before cooking, place the ham in a sink full of hot water, and scrub hard
with a good bristle brush. I soak mine for 2 days in fresh water, changing
the water twice. The ham is then ready for use.

Fried Virginia ham is a wonder, but it is very salty. The ham is sliced
and then pan-fried. When the ham is put on the plate and water is then
added to the pan to dissolve the wonderful reddish-brown remains that stick
to the bottom ... you have red-eye gravy.

To bake a ham you need to boil it first. The instructions will be on the
package. In order to reduce the salt I put the ham in a big pot, cover with
water, and bring to a simmer. I then discard the water and follow the
directions on the ham package. I like to let mine cool in the water a bit
rather than take it out right away. It will remain moist if you do that.
The ham is then baked and glazed. Recipes for a fine glaze come on the
package, too. Remember that though these hams appear expensive, they are so
rich that one will feed half the neighborhood.

Try the Oyster Sauce on the ham, along with Cream of Peanut Soup, and
Ragoo of Onions (see recipes).



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