Marquette – 09/28/2011- Smokehouse Glenn continues to amaze me with the product information he shares each week with me at the radio station as he prepares for our weekly Shopping Shop broadcast. This week, I learned the finer points of spiral sliced ham, which shed the light on many of my previously bad experiences with ham during family gatherings.
First, let me point out that, without sounding too cliche-ish, NOT all hams are the same. They may be the same cured section of meat but the similarity stops there. Hams are distinguished by the contend or percentage of water packaged with the ham itself. Hams, in their purest state, will be labeled, “ham”, but will state that there is no water added during curing process. This ham will be ready to eat and should be served at room temperature or slightly warmer. With the absence of water and the spiral cutting of the ham throughout its entire length, any attempt to place this product in the oven to “cook it”, even covered with foil, will result in severely drying the meat out. I like a little Guilden’s with my ham but to salvage a mistake like this would be overkill.
Next, there is the ham in natural juices, which constitutes hams containing between 0 – 3% water. Most Classic hams from Dearborn Sausage Co. of Dearborn, Michigan are packaged in this condition. Glenn shared with me that his 30 years working with Dearborn has yielded a special status that makes his ham handling unique. He has a special business relationship with Dearborn where he can purchase their Classic hams but he can add his own Smokehouse Signature touch. Glenn will take his spiral cut hams from Dearborn and give them his own application of glazing and spicing then ship them off to you. As you can see from the labeling, this ham was prepared by Northern Meats personally.
Hams with water added, between 3 – 10%, is generally what most consumers are used to purchasing in their local grocery stores. With the added water, we are accustomed to cooking these hams, covered in the oven and having lots of moisture in the meat and also at the bottom of the pan.
Our final type of ham is labeled “ham product”, containing more than 10% of water. The FDA set the limit of 10% for a true meat product, anything over 10% they give the meat a “product” terminology.
Ham is such a special holiday entree for most people but this ham is so delicious that it should be used for any occasion where a craving for this tasty pork item finds it way into your menu planning!!!