Country Ham, for my family, is a once a year treat.
And, this is what we call country ham.
Right out of the oven.
According to Wikipedia, Country ham is a variety of cured ham, typically very salty. Country ham is first mentioned in print in 1944, referring to a method of curing and smoking done in the rural parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and other nearby southern states.
I spent most of my life living in south Florida.
Every year my mother ordered a country ham
from North Carolina to be delivered to
my daddy as one of his gifts.
Now that we are living in North Carolina,
every December my husband and I drive to
our hometown to purchase a country ham
and a bag of sausage. We don't eat ham or sausage
often, and that is why it is a holiday only treat for us.
We purchase ours from Bear Pond Fresh Market in
Henderson, North Carolina.
When I was a young child visiting my grandmother, I
always rode with her to Frazier Brothers Grocery.
Frazier Brothers is now Bear Pond Fresh Market.
She always purchased bags of sausage there
every winter because "they kill the hogs
as soon as the first frost and make fresh sausage".
What did I know? I am a city girl,
but I can attest it is delicious sausage.
My daddy loved it so much that he would have his
mother freeze a bag which when visiting her
the two of them would wrap and put in his suitcase
for his flight home.
Can you imagine that in this day and time?
My daddy had his tried and true method
for cooking country ham,
and I thought I would share it with you today.
By the way, we still have some country ham left.
Why don't you come on over for a
cup of coffee and ham biscuit?
Scrub ham in warm water and cut off hock, if desired. (I soak the ham in a sink filled with cold water for about eight hours.)
Place in large roasting pan with skin side up with 8 to 10 cups of water. Cover pan tightly, and place in cold oven. Set temperature to 500 degrees. Never open door once ham has been placed in oven. Count cooking time when oven temperature reaches 500 degrees. Cook for 15 minutes, turn oven off and leave for 3 hours.
Turn oven on again and after reaching 500 degrees allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Turn off and leave ham in oven 6 to 8 hours.
After removing from oven, take off skin and excess fat.