How to cook a country ham

Oh, what to say about country ham? I imagine it’s something that people either love or can’t quite stomach (because it’s pretty salty.) So different from a typical baked ham in both taste and texture it is definitely a treat. It is salty, that is for sure….but in a completely addictive way. The texture is more like a hard prosciutto than the softer textured baked ham that most of us are used to.

I had never had county before I met Jim. His grandmother prepares it occasionally and at Christmas this year his mom made it and told me the steps in the process. (Martha if you would like to add anything to this, please do!)

If you decide to prepare one, give yourself a couple of days because it needs to soak to get some of the salt out (which is hard to imagine because it is still really salty once it’s cooked.) We usually have it with another meat because you will probably only want a small portion of this.

If you want a true taste of southern cuisine, give this country ham a try. If you live in the south you should be able to find it in your local grocery store. If not, you can surely order one online. Smithfield has them available. I believe the ones that Jim’s family gets come in the cloth sack which I think is how they are cured.

Also, if you have tried the pre-sliced country ham from the grocery store, this is sooooo very different. The real deal is so much better. Enjoy!


How to cook a country ham
Recipe type: Main
  • Ham
  • 2 c. white vinegar
  • 1 qt. apple cider
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • Pineapple juice
  • Mustard
  1. Scrub outside of ham to get rid of mold that has formed. Soak ham in cold water for 24 hours changing water several times during this time period. After this period, add water again to cover and this time include the vinegar. Simmer ham for 25 minutes per pound. During the last two hours add the brown sugar and cider. Place ham in a baking dish and remove some of the layer of fat. Set oven to 300 degrees and bake for another hour. Baste with Pineapple juice and mustard.
  2. Allow the ham to cool and then slice very thin.
  3. If your ham comes with a hock sticking out you will want to ask your butcher to cut it off. I believe the ones you buy at the supermarkets do not have the hock attached.



  1. I don’t think I have ever tried country ham, Becki. Our local hams are very mild and we usually glaze them with a brown sugar, mustard preparation. Either way, ham is one of our favorite meals.

  2. I’ve had baked ham (and love it) but never heard of country ham – is this an American meal?

    • Hey Ellie, that is a good question! I’m not sure if you can get it outside of the US..probably…but it’s a southern thing here in the states. I grew up in NY and didn’t have it until I met my husband who is from Maryland/Virginia.

  3. Words Of Deliciousness says:

    This ham looks delicious and sound even more delicious. I have never had a country ham before.

  4. mmm, mustard. mmm, pineapple. this is all kinds of tasty, becki! i pity the city schmucks who’ve never had a proper country ham. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh Grace, you crack me up! I know…seriously, I just love it….my life didn’t start until I had my first country ham.

  5. I totally love the honesty here. “Scrub outside of ham to get rid of mold” I appreciate the warning. Just writing that sentence would have made me totally nervous to post. I need to try this now. We LOVE ham and now I feel like I’m missing out!

    • Ha….that is too funny…yes this is completely uncensored:-). When I was researching some of the methods that people used I think Alton Brown actually said something like “you would be moldy too if you were hanging in a cloth sack for 6 months” I think one of the things I like about eating country ham is that you feel like you are back in the good old days:-)

  6. i’ve never had country ham before… sounds veerrry intriguing. i might just have to try it

  7. I’ve never heard of country ham. I wonder if any restaurants in my neck of the woods serve it. It would be fun to try.


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