Baked Country Ham is the centerpiece of a proper holiday meal in the South—which now includes the Southern diaspora that can be found almost everywhere.
A Baked Country Ham is an artisanal culinary achievement comparable to the finest cuisines of any country, region, or establishment. The flavor is deep, deliciously robust, with an almost mineral quality.
Should the destiny of your Rays Country Ham be the oven, here are a few tried and true suggestions.
1. Scrub Ham. Don’t be surprised to find a benign mold found on your ham. This is typical and to be expected. You should remove the mold by using a brush and vigorously scrubbing the entire ham which will remove the mold and also any residual curing mixture.
2. Soaking. A country ham should be soaked for 24 to 48 hours before cooking, depending on the saltiness of taste desired. Change the water every 4-6 hours. Soaking will restore some of the moisture lost in the curing process in addition to reducing saltines
3. Prepare Roasting Pan. You will need a roasting pan large enough for the ham. It also needs a cover in order to retain the moisture. Aluminum foil can be used to tightly tent the ham if a lid in not available. A rack can be used if feasible but it is not essential.
Place the ham in a roasting pan with the skin side up and add 4 cups of water or apple cider cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 300° F or 150° C for 20 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 162° F or 72° C. To confirm use an internal meat thermometer.
4. Glazing. After cooking and while still warm, remove the skin and about half of the fat layer on the outside of the ham. Score to decorate, and apply your favorite ham glaze recipe. Then return to the oven at 400°F for 200°C 15 minutes until golden brown.
6. Carving a Baked Country Ham.
Start at the Shank end of the Center Cuts and make the first cut into the ham until you hit the Femur bone. Then move the blade toward the Shank End again, and make a second cut on an angle down to the point where the first cut hit the bone. Remove the wedge of ham created by the first two cuts.
Then proceed to cut prime center slices of desired thickness forward to the Butt End. After slicing down, go back to find bone at the wedge, and slice forward against the bone to free the prime center slices!