Smithfield ham is a renowned Southern ham that goes through a curing and drying process to give it a distinct, luscious flavor. It can be worked into many mouthwatering recipes, and cooking can also be fun.
If you’ve never made a Smithfield ham before, or perhaps you’re rusty from not making it in a while, our cooking guide should help you through the process. There are two cooking ways to choose from, so experiment with what works best for you. You could also carve up the ham by yourself, so there’s something else to savor.
Ham Nutrition Facts
Tips for the Best Smithfield Ham
The next time you plan to make an amazing Smithfield ham recipe, our advice is that you should adhere to the following tips for the best possible results:
Get A Ham That Fits – The size of the ham you plan to cook matters a lot. As such, you’ll need to select out your ham carefully or be ready to trim it down to fit inside your slow cooker. It is usually advised to go for a 6-7 pound ham in the proper form for any 6-8 quart slow cooker being used. If it is not possible to adhere to the exact size recommendation, wrap an aluminum foil around the outside of the lid to retain the heat if your ham is just a bit too big to get the lid on tight.
Be mindful of the temperature – Check the box of your ham to see if there are any specified temperatures your ham should be cooked at, according to the recommendations of the ham brand you bought. We recommend using a meat thermometer if a precise temperature is required. For example, the probe may be left inside the slow cooker with a meat thermometer and will sound an alarm when the ham reaches the proper temperature.
Be mindful of your dietary requirements – The number of carbs, calories, and nutritional information available varies substantially. As a result, the nutritional value of a Smithfield ham dish will be determined by the products you choose to prepare it. The auto-calculation is merely an estimate and should not be relied upon for precise dietary requirements. As such, that is something important to look out for.
Adjust the recommended cooking time if need be – Because all slow cookers cook differently, recommended cooking times should always be used as a general guideline. So always try recipes in your slow cooker first, and modify the cooking time as needed.
Cooking a Smithfield Ham
A Smithfield Country Ham can generally be prepared in two ways: the water cooking method and the oven cooking method.
The two methods are described below:
Water Cooking Method
The water cooking method is generally preferred over the oven cooking method of making a Smithfield ham. This approach preserves the moisture in the ham throughout cooking, resulting in a tender and juicy ham. Adding aromatic vegetables to the pot and other tastes like spices or juice gives the ham more flavor.
The following steps are involved in the water cooking process of making a Smithfield ham:
- Place the ham skin side down in the vessel and immerse in cool water.
- Preheat the water to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (simmering, not boiling).
- Cook for about 25 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 163 degrees Fahrenheit. As needed, add water to keep the ham covered.
- Remove the ham from the vessel when it’s done. Remove the skin and fat from the ham while it is still heated.
- Sprinkle the fat side with brown sugar and bread crumbs if a sweet coating is desired, and bake at 400°F until brown (approximately 15 minutes).
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Oven Cooking Method
Traditionally, the oven method is typically employed in making ham recipes. When cooking a Smithfield ham in the oven, these are the steps to follow:
- Wrap the ham with thick aluminum foil, gently connecting the edges and forming a vessel with the bottom layer. Fill the foil with four cups of water and place it in the oven with a tray or shallow pan below for support.
- Preheat the oven to 300 ℉.
- Bake the ham for three hours or 20 minutes per pound.
- Check for 163°F internal temperature in the thickest portion of the ham with a meat thermometer.
- Remove the ham from the oven and set it aside for one hour to cool to room temperature.
- Skin and fat can be removed as desired.
- If a sweet coating is desired, sprinkle the fat side with brown sugar and bread crumbs before baking at 400°F until brown (approximately 15 minutes).
Tips for Carving a Smithfield Ham
If you’re not sure how to carve up your ham before cooking it, these tips should help you get it done properly:
- Cut thin slices of the ham with a very sharp knife.
- Begin slicing about two inches from the hock or tiny end of the ham, fat side up, on a dish.
- Then, make a straight cut to the bone first. Then, for each subsequent cut, slant the knife. As the slices get bigger, reduce the tilt.
- Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Combine 1 cup chopped pecans, molasses, and pineapple juice in a small mixing basin.
- Place the ham in a pan with 1 cup of water, flat side down.
- ½ of the molasses mixture should be brushed or rubbed all over the ham’s exterior.
- Cover securely with aluminum foil or a lid and bake until the internal temperature reaches 120 ℉.
- Allow 10 minutes for the ham to rest. Before cutting, brush with the remaining molasses mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
The total cooking time for this recipe is 18 minutes per pound. For more ideas on making a Smithfield ham, see this video recipe.