We get a lot of questions about our Pasture Raised Heritage Ham, especially since the holidays are in full swing. Here are three simple points to remember when preparing your Farmer Girl Meats ham.
1. Farmer Girl Meats ham is cured and smoked, so it’s already cooked
Ham can either be fresh (straight from the pig) or cured and smoked. Farmer Girl Hams are cured and smoked with traditional methods. The smoking process slow cooks the meat and keeps it tender. The smoke also seals the outer layer of the food being cured?preventing bacteria from entering. This form of cooking and preservation is not only traditional, but time-tested; dating back to the primitive Neanderthal era. Those were some crafty cave folks!
2. Oven roasting is always a good call
Even though your Farmer Girl ham will be fully cooked with rustic, smoky flavors, do go ahead and give it a roast. Here’s why: the USDA requires the temperature probe of our butcher’s oven/smoker read 148 to 152 degrees when the ham is taken out of the smoker. Reaching this temperature means the ham is fully cooked.
However, our butcher’s smoker may have five to ten hams of varying sizes. The final temperature of each ham will vary within a given batch, especially if they differ in size. Not only do you want to make sure to bring your ham to the appropriate temperature, but roasting it will result in a nice crust on the outside, fill the house with the scent of smoked, heritage pork, and warm the bellies of your family or guests.
3. Preparation is simple, but produces a classy dish
We’ve had success with a simple glaze of brown sugar or maple syrup before throwing the ham into the oven. Contrary to our grass-fed beef, Farmer Girl pasture-raised pork has a fat cap–this is due to the traditional heritage breeding. So you don’t need to be so worried about your ham drying out, it is naturally more moist and juicy.
Here are some guidelines to cooking your pasture-raised ham:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Do not trim off any fat until after the ham is warmed and at serving temperature. Let any existing fat serve as a moisture conserver during the warming-up process.
- Check your ham often. The middle of the ham may not warm up at the same rate as the outside. You may have to slice off outer layers as they warm up to your desired temperature, and put the remaining ham back in the oven to continue warming.
- Bake 4.5 to 5 hours or until center temperature is 160 degrees.
Enjoy your Farmer Girl Ham and please share any photos or recipes with us!