You must be careful not to dry out a relatively thin cut ham. Wrap the ham in foil to help hold in moisture. Check with a meat thermometer after an hour in the oven. When the ham reaches 140 degrees internal temperature, the ham is done.
Sometimes you find a thin cut ham that is very large in diamter. For example, the ham is much bigger around than a dinner plate, but only an inch or so in thickness. The reason for this is that the ham was cut from high on the back leg, where the diameter is greatest. However, to keep the total weight of the ham to less than five pounds (and so to keep the overall cost down), the cut must be very thin. This cut of fresh ham is great to “stuff”, where the ham is folded over a stuffing recipe, wrapped with twine, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked in the oven.
You do not need to marinade or cure a fresh ham roast before cooking. Fresh ham has a wonderful flavor and texture on its own. In fact, a cure or marinade will often diminish the taste of a fresh ham. We tried a marinade from a box in the grocery store, and felt like it ruined our wonderful ham. We tried another very high quality marinade given to us by a chef, and felt like the ham was good, but still not as good our regular ham without marinade. Try this recipe on a fresh ham first without a marinade, and see what you think. If you use a bbq sauce or other dressing, simply add it on the plate.
However, brining your ham may give you very good results. Brine is a mixture of salt and water-you soak the ham in the brine for a specified period. Brining seasons the pork while enhancing the natural flavor and improving the texture of the ham. Brining “unwinds” the protien strands, causing water to be trapped in the muscle and making the meat juicier, more tender, and more flavorful. For a bigger ham, you should use less salt and a longer soak time. The reason for this is to let the solution penetrate the ham evenly all the way to the bone without making the outside too salty. Smaller hams require more salt and a shorter soak time.
Brining is more art than exact science; various roasts need different amounts of salt and soak time. For a 3 pound fresh ham, dissolve about 1/2 to 3/4 cup salt in a large pot filled with enough water to completely cover the ham. Let the ham soak covered in the fridge for up to 6 hours. Remove from fridge, rinse completely, pat dry with a napkin, and then cook with this recipe. (Note: Don’t be afraid of the salt and soak time, but try not to brine the ham overnight, or it may be too salty, and possibly dry out in the oven.) Experiment with salt and soaking time, adding salt to the mixure next time, or soaking longer, until it is perfect.
Our pork is state inspected in Texas and we can’t sell it across state lines. But I am sure a local farmer would love to have your business, and your family would certainly benefit from a good relationship with a local farmer. Thanks for your nice comments! Happy eating!
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