what to do with a ham?
November 7, 2017 11:54 AM   Subscribe

A kind soul gifted me a 8 lbs ham. Now what?

The skin has been removed and it has a bone. I want to make something for the weekend, so I can imagine prepping it would be worthwhile. Have no idea what to do. Something Mexican? Is soft or pulled pork possible? Chinese? Spanish? German? Anything goes as long as you try to avoid overly sweet or honey based recipes. I'm organising a family gathering around this, how many people will this feed? Even if you have simple curing recipes, please let me know, because this might not be the last time.
posted by ouke to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take your favorite chicken pot pie recipe, replace chicken with diced ham, that will get rid of a 1/4-1/2 a pound per person.
posted by French Fry at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

By "ham" you are referring to the cut of fresh meat and not a cured and/or cooked product, I take it? (Cause it's very different, and I think the default meaning for most people is the cured meat.)

You could roast it if it's fresh.
posted by Stewriffic at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Okay. Is it an already-cooked ham? It should say on the package. If it is, then pulled pork won't be anythign you can do.

However - you can do what I did when I was given a similar boon back in the day, at a time when I lived with only one roommate and was heading to my parents' for Christmas and still got a twelve-pound ham as a gift from my office. An aunt suggested I just pick a random day and cook it, and then have a DIY-sandwich open-house party. I did that - I cooked up the ham, and set it out on a table with a couple different loaves of bread and a couple different kinds of cheese, jars of mayo and mustard, and lettuce and tomato, and told my friends that anyone who showed up between noon and 6 pm would be fed a sandwich.

We collectively declared the day "Hamfest" and it was a well-beloved annual event for the next five years. About midway through the day I would hack off a hunk of it and make a pot of jambalaya as well, to use up some of the ham (then some people started waiting to show up until the jambalaya was being cooked, so beware).

but yeah, using it as the excuse for a really casual party could be way fun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2017 [16 favorites]

Roast that sucker!

You can make ham hash (chopped ham with potatoes, peppers, and onions), a plethora of casseroles, and pea soup (put the bone in while it simmers and add chopped ham last).
posted by ananci at 12:05 PM on November 7, 2017

Whatever you do ham freezes wonderfully. Chop up what's left into cubes to throw in soup or ham steaks or whatever cuts you'd use & freeze. I use the frozen bits all winter to throw into soups or add flavor to beans.
posted by wwax at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

The ham in case is a fresh piece of meat. :)
posted by ouke at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2017

Ham and great northern beans, but only if you announce it thusly: GREAT. NORTHERN .... BEEEEEANS!

Seriously, though: chopped ham, northern beans and a generous dash of hot sauce ... that's real eatin'.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2017

Ok, yes, most of the replies are for what you'd do if it were a "ham" in the American sense of buying a precooked precured piece of meat. Since it's not cured, suggestions involving cubing it and tossing into things, northern bean soup, sandwiches, etc are not what you're after.

There are recipes for curing a "fresh ham" or "green ham" haunch cut into that type of ham yourself, and they are reputed to be delicious, but take several days of brining. (example)

Websites that talk about using fresh ham cuts say that it's a bit too lean to be a delicious puled pork or Mexican carnitas type of disintegrated slow-roast. But there are recipes for a basic slicing roast that sound simple and tasty.
posted by aimedwander at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was gifted a cooked ham at Christmas last year-- I think I have about a pound left in the freezer. It's been marvelous on a hundred sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, most bean dishes. So, if it's cooked, slice it into 6-8 chunks and freeze them separately. If you're wondering how to slice it up, just think about hard or easy the shape of the chunk will make it to slice up later on. So it's less important to be perfectly portioning each section, as much as to have something you can slice up without much difficulty.

Uncooked, I'd say "City Ham."
posted by Sunburnt at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2017

Boiled dinner. Lots of variants possible, see e.g. here. I make it more like a soup with a very hearty but clear-ish broth.

It will work fine with "fresh" aka uncooked/uncured ham; I'd probably add at least a little salt to compensate.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:07 PM on November 7, 2017

I'd be inclined to do pernil with that. It's usually done with the shoulder stateside but I think traditionally it's the ham.

I've also done a sort of cross between per nil and cochinita pibil (replace the vinegar in the marinade with half orange/half lime juice, or sour orange juice if you can get it). People really dug it, the flavours work well together.
posted by Diablevert at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

OK, presumably the person who gave it to you is the type of person who thought you would really like it-- probably because they are the type of people who would really like to have one of their own.

Ask the gift giver! You can admit a little ignorance about it, and ask what makes this ham special (cured/uncured, where its from, regionally), how do they like to cook or use it themselves, what flavors it goes best with, and so on.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Coca-cola ham.
posted by cholly at 4:40 PM on November 7, 2017

A fresh ham is basically a giant pork roast with less fat than a shoulder. You can Google for "Fresh ham recipes" or "pork roast recipes" and use any variety of the suggested glazes. This isn't the kind of ha y you'd use for sandwiches, dicing, soup, or much of the above. It's like a nice pork roast, just very large, and takes longer to cook.
posted by Miko at 8:09 PM on November 7, 2017

One of my friends made their own prosciutto, it's tasting time soon, after a year of drying.

IMO, ham is quite dry and needs something like a sous-vide bath or a very slow bake. Or a brine. My mum used to make something like the slow bake linked, or something similar to this: Salt dough baked ham. Both were good. Like you, I am not a fan of the sweet glaze, but I think you can apply the principle of very slow cooking with other types of glaze/marinade, maybe something with chili and soya?
posted by mumimor at 5:58 AM on November 8, 2017

Fellow mefites, thanks so much. Will spend the rest of the evening pondering to brine or not. Wish there was something like mefi ham mail, so I could feed us all!
posted by ouke at 7:50 AM on November 8, 2017

OMG, 12-24 hours slow baking! This household will be ruffled (I'm living with 2 vegetarians). And I will have my personalised Proust sensation when I wake up in the morning. Beautiful!
posted by ouke at 8:05 AM on November 8, 2017

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