Is that a ham-glam shot or what?
Today I worked on cutting up one of our whole hams into manageable pieces. We took our hams to be cured and smoked by an good old guy down the road. Primarily he has done deer processing but he smokes a mean ham and has recently increased his pork and beef business. It cost $1/pound to get the hams cured and smoked and took a couple of weeks.
We had one of the hams cut into thick 1-inch or more steaks and wrapped for the freezer. The rest of the hams we asked for whole. Cutting and wrapping is the most labor intensive part of the process and can double your cost. Getting hams back whole saved us a ton of money and its not hard to part them up yourself.
We like thick steaks like these
To be fair, he did right by us by not charging extra for the ham he cut and wrapped. I think it was because we made him laugh when we dropped off our hams. When you walk into his shop you can see into his butchering room. A couple of his guys were working on parting up a side of pork. When he walked out to greet us we said, "Hey I recognize that pig! Isn't that Bob GoodNeighbor's hog?"
His eye's bugged out of his head and we nearly bust a gut laughing. In truth, we'd just talked to our Good Neighbors so we knew they'd dropped off their hog. I guess it made an impression tho - being able to identify a pig that was in the process of being disassembled.
Here is the whole ham. You can see the threads where he hung the ham in his smoke house.
You can cut a ham however you'd like but since there's just the two of us we like big ol' slabs of ham to easily fry up in a pan. We laughed that the 3 pound ham steaks in the grocery store were $13. We know the meat manager at that grocery store - that poor guy... I think my husband and I are giving him a complex by standing in the meat section hanging off each other, laughing, and asking each other.. "Hey do we need ham?" And yeah, we think we are hilarious.
My initial cut was to saw off the hock (the thinner, pointy end) to be used in beans, makes 'em nice and smokey. I used a very long chef's knife to cut slices down to the bone, and then cut the ham steak off the bone. You can see here that I've taken a couple steaks off the whole ham and left the bone.
Look at that layer of fat! Whoot!I try and cut the steaks so they will fit in a a freezer bag. I don't worry about trimming very closely around the bone because I'll use that meaty bone for soups and stews.
That's one lovely slab of ham
I left the roundy part at the top as a small ham roast. These can easily be popped into a crock pot for a super easy, hands free supper.
You'll end up with some odds and ends. I cut these into uniformly sized pieces and put in smaller bags to be used for stir fries, fried rice, mac n cheese, egg scrambles, and such.
How easy is that? If you don't have your own hogs, or can't find local pork like my pal D at Springhill Farms provides, you can always get a whole or half ham at the store when they are sale. Then cut it up like I just did. Its a great way to save money and eat great. Tell the meat manager I said "hi."
eta...I mean... SUNDAY is GW's birthday - go and wish her a happy one and see her beautiful crafts! Happy Birthday The Goodwife, on Sunday that is! Hope you have a wonderful day, baby!