Types of ham: A complete guide highlighting all of the best and most popular kinds of ham and everything there is to know about them! From the smoky flavors of country ham to the delicate sweetness of prosciutto, ham is a food that offers a wide range of flavors and textures! Keep reading on to learn about each variety so that you can easily pick out which type you'll need for all of your ham recipes!
A Complete Guide To Ham
Ham is a delicious and versatile food that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways! From smoky and savory to sweet and nutty, there are many different types of ham available that offer unique flavor and texture!
In this ultimate guide, I will be covering some of the most popular types of hams, including Westphalian, York, and City ham, as well as some lesser-known varieties like Speck and Picnic ham! Whether you're looking for the perfect ham to make a show-stopping main course or a tasty sandwich, you're sure to find one to love among this list of delicious types of hams!
- A Complete Guide To Ham
- Ham Varieties
- 1. Bayonne Ham
- 2. Black Forest Ham
- 3. Boiled or Cooked Ham
- 4. Canadian Bacon
- 5. Capicola Ham
- 6. City Ham
- 7. Country Ham
- 8. Culatello Ham
- 9. Gammon Ham
- 10. Honey-Baked Ham
- 11. Irish Ham
- 12. Jamon Iberico Ham
- 13. Picnic Ham
- 14. Prosciutto Ham
- 15. Scotch Ham
- 16. Serrano Ham
- 17. Smithfield Ham
- 18. Speck Ham
- 19. Westphalian Ham
- 20. York Ham
- 😋 Tasty Ham Recipes To Try
- 📋 Recipe
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If you are looking for the best sides to pair with your ham dinner, check out my list of the easiest side dishes for ham! Also, when you have leftovers and want some unique and flavorful dishes to make, try these leftover ham recipes!
Ham is a type of pork meat that is enjoyed around the world in various forms! It can be eaten as a main course, added to sandwiches, or used as a flavoring in soups, stews, and salads.
There are many types of ham available, each with its unique flavor and preparation method. In this ultimate guide, we will explore the different types of ham and their characteristics!
1. Bayonne Ham
Bayonne ham is a variety of dry-cured ham that comes from the Southwestern region of France, particularly from the city of Bayonne! It is made from the hind legs of pigs that are fed on a diet of grains and acorns.
The curing process involves rubbing the ham with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, then allowing it to air dry for a few months. It has a distinctive nutty and slightly sweet flavor and is enjoyed both as a delicacy on its own and as an ingredient in various dishes!
2. Black Forest Ham
Black Forest ham is a type of German ham that is made from pork leg. It is dry-cured with a blend of spices, including juniper berries, and smoked over pine and fir wood!
The result is ham with a distinct smoky flavor and a tender texture! Black Forest ham is often served sliced thinly as sandwich meat or used as a topping for pizzas and salads.
3. Boiled or Cooked Ham
Boiled (or cooked) ham is a type of ham that can be cured or uncured! It is cooked by boiling or simmering in water, or another flavored liquid like stock or apple cider! The cooking process takes several hours depending on the size and thickness of the meat.
This delicious ham is often served as a main course or used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and ham casseroles! It's also a great ham to slice thin and use to make sandwiches with mustard and cheese.
4. Canadian Bacon
Canadian bacon is a type of cured pork that is typically prepared from the lean eye of a pork loin! It is also known as "back bacon" in some regions. Unlike traditional bacon, Canadian bacon is not smoked but is instead cured with salt and spices, then rolled in cornmeal.
It is then sliced and cooked in a similar fashion to ham! Canadian bacon is a popular ingredient in breakfast sandwiches and can be used as a pizza topping!
5. Capicola Ham
Capicola, also known as coppa or capocollo, is a type of Italian dry-cured ham made from the pork shoulder or neck of a pig! The meat is first rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, and various spices such as fennel, coriander, and paprika. It is then cured for several weeks and during the curing time it is hung to air-dry to develop its characteristic flavor and texture!
Capicola is typically sliced thin and served as an antipasto, often accompanied by cheese, olives, and other cured meats! It can also be used as sandwich meat, either cold or heated up, and is a popular addition to charcuterie boards!
6. City Ham
City ham is a popular type of cured ham that is sold pre-cooked and ready to eat! It is made by injecting a brine solution into the meat, which contains a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and other flavorings. The ham is then cooked, either by smoking or baking in the oven.
It is typically pink in color and has a salty, slightly sweet flavor! It is sliced thin and served cold as sandwich meat, or it can be heated and served as a main course. City ham is a popular ingredient in Southern cooking, often served with biscuits or as a part of a traditional holiday meal!
7. Country Ham
Country ham is a well-known type of dry-cured ham that is commonly found in the southern United States! It is made by rubbing the ham with a dry salt mixture and letting it hang to cure for a couple of months.
The result is a salty, smoky flavor that is perfect for breakfast, sandwiches, or as a complement to other dishes!
8. Culatello Ham
Culatello is a luxurious dry-cured ham that originates from the region of Emilia-Romagna. This type of ham is made from the center cut of the pork leg, which is cured with salt, pepper, and other spices for several weeks. It is then stuffed into a casing which helps to give it a unique flavor and aroma!
The resulting ham is highly prized for its delicate, complex flavor and is considered one of the most exclusive and expensive cured meats in Italy. It's typically served in thin slices as an antipasto, or as part of a charcuterie board. Also, culatello ham can be used as a flavoring agent in pasta dishes or risotto!
9. Gammon Ham
Gammon ham is a type of cured pork that comes from the hind leg of a pig. It is similar to bacon but is usually sold in a joint or a whole piece rather than slices. This ham has a rich, salty flavor that is also slightly sweet and smoky (if it has been smoked).
It is often enjoyed as a part of a traditional British Sunday roast, accompanied by roasted potatoes, vegetables, and gravy. Gammon can also be served in sandwiches, quiches, or salads!
10. Honey-Baked Ham
Honey-baked ham is a popular type of ham that is coated with a sweet honey glaze and baked to perfection! It is typically made from the leg of the pig and has a sweet, smoky flavor that is perfect for holiday dinners and special occasions!
Honey-baked ham is often served sliced thickly as a main course or used as a sandwich meat.
11. Irish Ham
Irish ham is a smoked and cured ham commonly eaten in Ireland made from the hind leg of a pig! It is first cured for several days in a brine solution and then smoked to give it a mouth-watering savory flavor!
It is often served as a part of a traditional Irish breakfast or as a main course for dinner! You can bake, boil, or roast this type of ham and pair it with tender vegetables and potatoes!
12. Jamon Iberico Ham
Jamon Iberico ham is a type of cured ham from Spain that is highly prized for its rich, nutty flavor and melting texture! It's made from the Iberian pig that is raised on a diet of acorns, grass, and herbs. The curing process can take up to 36 months and involves salting, washing, and air drying.
Jamon Iberico is served thinly sliced and at room temperature as a tapa or appetizer accompanied by bread or cheese! It is also used in a variety of dishes such as pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
13. Picnic Ham
This type of cured ham is made from the lower portion of the pig's shoulder! It's a relatively inexpensive ham that is also known as "pork shoulder picnic" or "picnic shoulder". The curing process takes several days and involves a combination of salt, sugar, and other seasonings.
Picnic ham is characterized by its darker meat and richer flavor, compared to other types of ham. It's a great lower-cost alternative to use in dishes such as stews, soups, and casseroles! Or you can make a delicious sandwich with it too!
14. Prosciutto Ham
Prosciutto is a type of Italian ham that is made from the hind leg of a pig. It is dry-cured and aged for several months, resulting in a delicate, buttery texture and a slightly sweet flavor! Prosciutto is often served thinly sliced as an appetizer or used as a topping for pizza, flatbreads, and pasta dishes.
15. Scotch Ham
Scotch ham is a type of ham that was originally made in Scotland! It is uncooked, boneless, and typically sold in casings. It is mildly cured to give it a slightly sweet taste.
This ham can be served cold, at room temperature, or warmed! It's a great ham to slice up and serve as a main course or in a ham sandwich with your favorite condiments, cheese, and pickles!
16. Serrano Ham
Serrano ham is a delicious type of Spanish ham that is made from the hind leg of a pig! It is dry-cured for several months, resulting in ham with a rich, savory flavor and a slightly sweet finish. Serrano ham is often served thinly sliced as an appetizer or used as a flavoring in soups and stews!
17. Smithfield Ham
Smithfield ham is a tasty cured ham that has a bold, rich flavor with a slightly sweet undertone! It is made from the hind legs of hogs and the curing process involves salting the ham and then smoking it over hickory wood for several months.
You will see Smithfield ham served thinly sliced as a centerpiece of a ham dinner or as part of a charcuterie board! This ham is also used in soups, stews, and casseroles. It's often paired with sweet or savory accompaniments such as honey, mustard, or figs!
18. Speck Ham
Speck ham is a wonderfully flavored Italian cured, smoked ham that is made from the hind legs of a pig! It's heavily seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices like bay leaves, juniper berries, and garlic.
This type of ham is cured with a mixture of salt and other seasonings for several weeks, and then smoked over beech wood or juniper branches to give it an amazing smoky flavor! It's often served in thin slices as a cold cut and can be used in pasta dishes or as a topping for pizza!
19. Westphalian Ham
This type of German ham is made from the hind legs of a pig and is typically dry-cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices for several weeks! It's characterized by its lean meat, delicate texture, and savory, smoky flavor!
Westphalian ham is served in thin slices as a cold cut and is usually paired with bread or crackers, a variety of cheeses, and pickles! You can also use this ham in various soups, salads, and pasta dishes too!
20. York Ham
York ham is a cured ham that is named after the city of York in England! It comes from the hind leg of a pig and is cured with salt, sugar, and other seasonings for several days. After the curing process, the ham is lightly smoked to give it a mild and subtle smoky flavor.
York ham is characterized by its pink color, delicate texture, and mild flavor. You'll see it served in thin slices often with bread or crackers, or in sandwiches and salads. It can also be used in quiches and other savory dishes to add a hint of ham flavor!
In conclusion, ham is a versatile meat that comes in many different types and flavors! Whether you prefer a dry-cured ham or a sweet, glazed ham, there is a type of ham out there that will suit your tastes! So next time you are in the market for ham, consider trying a new type and expand your culinary horizons!
Now that you know all of the different types of ham, which one are you most excited to try? Have you prepared any of them before? Leave a comment down below to let me know!
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😋 Tasty Ham Recipes To Try
- Smoked Ham Hocks - Smoked ham hocks are amazingly tender and can be used in stews, soups, beans, and cabbage!
- Leftover Ham Ramen - When you have leftover holiday ham, try transforming it into a quick and flavorful ham ramen!
- Cauliflower Ham Pasta Casserole - This tasty casserole features bow tie pasta, tender cauliflower, salty ham, and a cheese sauce topped with breadcrumbs!
- Ham Loaf - Ham loaf is a tasty retro-inspired family dinner that's filled with sweet and savory flavors!
- Ham & Pea Pasta - If you are a fan of fettuccine, you must try this easy pasta recipe with ham, peas, and a creamy cheese sauce!
- Ham Chowder - This ham chowder recipe is a wonderful and simple way to use up your leftover ham!
Types Of Ham: Gingersnap Crusted Ham (+Many More Tasty Varieties!)
- 5 lb ham (bone-in, Berkshire pork)
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup Gingersnap cookies (crushed)
- 2 tablespoon Bourbon (optional, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- Get started by rinsing your ham and patting it dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).5 lb ham
- Score the outside of the ham using a sharp knife. To do this, place the knife at the top of the ham and spiral it around as you rotate the meat, working your way to the bottom. Repeat this going in the opposite direction in order to make a crisscross pattern.
- Transfer your ham to a baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake it in the preheated oven at 325°F (165°C) until the internal temperature of the ham reads 130°F (54°C). This will take about 1-3 hours, depending on the weight of your ham.
- Remove the ham from the oven and take off the aluminum foil. Use tongs to carefully remove the rind from the ham if needed. Then, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Pat the ham dry with paper towels and then brush on the Dijon mustard. Sprinkle the entire ham with brown sugar and lightly spritz it with Bourbon (or vanilla extract), if using. Finally, press the crushed Gingersnap cookies onto the exterior of the ham.2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cup Gingersnap cookies, 2 tablespoon Bourbon
- Place the ham back into the oven and bake it at 350°F (175°C) until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C), about 30-60 minutes.
- Once baked, remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Equipment You May Need
- The Bourbon is completely optional. Feel free to swap it out for some vanilla extract or omit it altogether. Use a spritz bottle to easily add this decadent touch in an even layer over the gingersnap crust.
- I used a heritage Berkshire pork ham for this recipe and strongly recommend it. The quality was amazing and literally melts in your mouth!
- Most hams take 22-25 minutes per pound to heat thoroughly at 325°F (165°C).
- Make sure to give your ham 30 minutes to rest. If you slice the ham before it has rested, the juices will run out of the meat and cause it to dry out.
- To store: This tasty ham will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Let it cool completely and then place it into an airtight container before storing.
- To freeze: Slice your ham into pieces and then place the pieces into a storage bag for freezing.
- To reheat: You can easily enjoy these leftovers cold. However, you can reheat your ham in a baking dish that is covered with aluminum foil. Bake it in the oven at 275°F (135°C) until heated all the way through.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
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