Country Ham Secret

The Secret to Cooking Country Ham

I can remember cooking the first couple of hams for some people in the neighborhood back in 1975. It was for the Thanksgiving, and I had a few turkeys to prepare too.

At that time we didn’t have a kitchen in the back room yet. So I ham stove

While that worked great (for one or 2 maybe 3 hams), it tied up my only oven for a long time. By Christmas the orders started to get larger and more people were wanting the hams cooked, boned and sliced (CBS). That first year of doing that was pretty crazy!

Next year I built a kitchen with commercial ovens, and actually started do subs, lunch menu and rotisserie chicken. Now, you talk rotisserie_hamabout “jumping out of the skillet and into the fire”, that was nuts, but continued for a year maybe two.  Then I said good-bye to that for a couple of reason we will not get into.

Rotisserie Chicken NO More…

What to do with the rotisserie was a challenge, but soon decided to donate it the the church. However, before I did, I thought what if I boned the country ham and skewered them and put them in the rotisserie?

WOW, Great Country Ham

The country ham turned out fantastic! WHSV video taped the hams turning around for a TV commercial I was doing, and it really looked good. BUT…what a mess it made.

I gave away the rotisserie! I also kept boning the hams tough, soaking over night and cooking them in the oven the next morning. THAT was a GREAT idea. I could cook three times the amount of ham each day and eliminate the mess afterwards that you would normally have – (handling hot ham, de-boning, cutting away the hot excess fat, grease all over the place)…!@#$%

More Country Hams – In Less The Time

Now you have my “Country Ham Secret”! You see, but removing the country ham,sugar curedbone and trimming prior to soaking and cooking the hams solved a couple  problems with cooking country ham-

  1. cooking time – cooked more hams in less the time
  2. messy cleanup – handling hot ham ad clean up
  3. moister and better flavor

Recipe – Country Ham

  • Remove bone and trim outside skin and yellow fat
  • soak for 2-3 hours in warm water to loosen salt cure
  • change water and soak over-night
  • place in pan with 1#  of water
  • 450 degree oven for approximate 2-1/2 – 3 hours. or inside temperature of 160 degrees
  • take out cool, wrapped in film and refrigerate 9 (keeps for weeks not sliced and  wrapped)

Pretty simple huh!

Have a ham sandwich! Yum!

Alabama – Catfish Farming


Alabama Farmed Catfish

U.S. farm raised catfish is among the safest, healthiest and most sustainable fish available in the industry. When you see the U.S. Farmed seal or logo, such as the one we display you will know exactly what you are getting.


Fish Production

In other parts of the world, standards for fish production are nearly non-existent. Reports from the New York Times and the Chinese government indicate that the water in China is so contaminated with sewage, heavy metals and pesticides that tens of thousands of people are dying every year from polluted water.

Catfish Fish Farming

​Chinese fish farmers commonly use banned chemicals to keep from losing their fish to disease. These include carcinogens like crystal violet the malachite green which is illegally used during the processing has also been found in imported catfish.

Love Seafood? Then BEWARE

food from the sea

Are You A Seafood Lover?

If you are, as I am, you must beware of a few issues that seem to be causing a lot of problems. There are certain chemicals being used to promote freshness…they say.  However, you bottom line is there is another side to this practice that is deceptive and should be illegal to use.

The bottom line is using the chemical sodium tripolyphosphate, is will increase the weight of the product. I see this used is most seafood, such as scallops. I used to buy sea scallops packed in a cloth bag, iced down in a seafood box.

Then seafood processors started purging this bag a scallops, as well as most all seafood,  in a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate, supposedly to prevent dehydration (lose of weight), but it hydrated the product and had a dramatic weight gain. That my friend increase THEIR profit from the additional weight, and created real dangers for the consumer.

Labeling Problems for Seafood

In the U.S. it is not mandatory to provide labeling of this chemical, so consumer s are not aware the potentially toxic chemical is present on the seafood they are about to serve, whether at home or a favorite restaurant.

Why Should There Be A Label For This?

STPP, which is short for Sodium tripolyphosphate,, is used ti firm up the product and make it appear to be fresher. This is commonly used with products such as frozen fish fillet, fresh and frozen scallops, shrimp, and most all flaky fish, such as sole, hake, and also imitation crab meat.

This practice is a lot like the use of carbon monoxide on meats to help old meats appear fresher. Yuk!

All this means you are paying out of your pocket for the additional weight that this practice producing for their profit margin. Have you ever bought scallops in a container and it appeared milky, or cooked a fish fillet and saw some milkiness liquid coming out of the product?  or maybe you notice the scallop or product shrank quite a bit after a little cooking time. I’ll bet you have. Right?

Registered Pesticide – California

STPP in large amounts,  are a suspected neurotoxin. It is also a registered, and in California it is a known air contaminant. So, what’s next? You can not pay a bit of attention to this problem, or you can try to stay away from markets and restaurants who do not know if this chemical is present in their product, or will not tell you.

The seafood industry refers to this type of processing as “wet” pack. I have spoken to many in my market, and those who have listened know what I mean. It is not mandatory, as a previously mentioned, for companies and packers to label products with STPP as an ingredient, but you should at least check the labels ingredients to see if it is present.

Be Vocal About Your Seafood Concerns

Ask questions and find out where the fish and seafood you are about to purchase come, from when shopping at your favorite market or restaurant.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Maurice Smith