Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ham-tastic! How to cut up a whole ham

Its ham-tastic.... isn't it just beautiful?  This is why I put up with them hateful pigz all summer.

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. 

Anyway.

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.

Behold. Ham.

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!

17 comments:

Chai Chai said...

Looks great. Sure, the humans get thick ham steaks, but how many bones do the farm dogs get? Who decides how they are divided?

the Goodwife said...

Aww, you are so sweet! You didn't miss it though, my actual birthday is on Sunday, I'm just doing my giveaway now!

That's a yummy lookin' ham. I'm afraid to tell you what we are doin', but expect a blog post soon.........hehehehehe!

The Gingerbread House said...

That ham looks delicious! Plus it's a nice lean ham, I buy a smoked country ham whole and I have it sliced 1/8 inch thick, then i put 2-4 slices in my new foodsaver before I put them in the freezer..they last pretty good (we eat one within a year). I usually fry the slices and the hock part I have them cut them up and I use them to season beans etc. I also use the "ugly" slices to do the same..it makes a difference in every meal I make..I even add a slice in my stock making. Ginny

Grandpa said...

You are hilarious OFG! Ham-tastic!

Good color and marbling, and juicy! I so want to be your neighbor!

Journey11 said...

Oh my, your pics have me drooling and dreaming of a big pot of brown beans, ham and cornbread. I've been thinking about getting a couple pigs this year (first timer). You've just about got me talked into it!

vrtlarica ana said...

Nice pictures! We ate half of our sausages already, so we are going to the butcher store today to buy some meat and make some more sausages...

When we took our ham for brining, we took the meat off the bone and just had meat brined. They are also charging based on the weight, so we just removed the heavy bone and saved some money.
Bones we saved for stew, like you did.

Veggie PAK said...

You should feel proud of yourselves, growing your own meat like that. Heck, I'm proud of you! I think it's a great accomplishment. Society today thinks that everything has to come from a store. I wish this country would turn around and go back to the way you guys are doing it! I really admire what you and others do raising animals for food.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

I miss real ham. We haven't bought a pig in awhile (and I have no interest in raising any), and the spongy, wet, bright pink "ham" at the grocery store is SO not appetizing to me.

I have ham envy.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

CC - the hard working farm dogs are on their best behavior waiting for a bone!

Sunday! Yikes, sorry GW! Has everyone seen' GW's beautiful give away? Be sure to wish her a happy birthday on SUNDAY
http://www.goodwifefarm.com/2011/01/someones-got-birthday-i-wonder-who.html

Thanks Ginny! I make pork stock, but hadn't thought about adding adding the odds and ends to other kinds. Great work getting a country ham cut up!

I wish you were my neighbor too, Grandpa! I'd make short work of those wild boars...it would be ham-tastic for sure.

Journey, if we can do it - anyone can. Go for it!

VRT: you can never have too much home grown pork! Hasn't it just changed the way you want to eat from now on?

Aw shucks, VPak, thanks. Really. I appreciate the support. Like I keep saying - we are just normal people who worked up the gumption to give this a try. I do believe is there was 'a flock for every yard' folks would learn to be more responsible, and mindful, of how they live.

Kristin, I'm trying to shove a slice of ham thru this interweb to you but it just wont go. "Real" ham is totally different than what you can get in the store. Try:

http://www.localharvest.org/

to see if someone near you is doing the dirty work.
:-)

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Oh, there are plenty of people near us with pigs. We just haven't had any freezer room, what with the cow and the lambs. We're getting another freezer though, from a friend who doesn't want it anymore, and that sucker is getting filled with pork, as God is my witness.

Mr. H. said...

That is a very fine cut of meat you have pictured above and even I, a so called "almost vegetarian", can be found hungering for a piece having yet to have any supper this evening.:) Congratulations on the wonderful end results of all your hard work.

Also, I found a little time to read through the first few chapters of "10 Acres is Enough" and must say that I am very much enjoying this read. What a great book, I love his writing style and totally relate to his thoughts...thank you!

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...

Spectacular! I'd be interested in the curing/smoking process. The steaks look really great, a nice stripe of fat for flavor! Nice Job!

vrtlarica ana said...

Ohio, It definitely changed the way I will eat from now, not only meat, but milk and bread too. No more supermarket stuff.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Kristin I wish you were closer so we could swap! We are also totally full! And we were just talking about getting another freezer too! ha!

Mr. H. - I wont tell if you wont tell... go a head.. get some pigs
;-) or I'll just enjoy some ham for you.

Thanks David! btw, I'll catch up with you later. I'll pop over to see what you are cooking.

VRT - isnt it funny? This morning I had ham and some homemade bread. Supermarket stuff? No thank you. Once you go farm you won't go back!

Nancy McKinnon said...

Thank you for posting about Spring Hill Farms. I will definitely try to make the trip up from down here in Scioto county and check them out.

Class factotum said...

I was amazed at the church potluck last year when someone came out after we were through eating, holding the hambone, asking if anyone wanted it, and nobody answered! I jumped in and said I WANTED IT! What was wrong with these ELCA Lutherans? We Catholics know that a meaty hambone is ingredient #1 for soup.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

No problem, Nancy! You'll love the Spring Hill products.
http://www.springhillfarms.us/

You said it, Classroom! I'm the first to go after a carcass or soupbone.. I'm always surprised when folks don't want them, either.

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