Back in July I was lamenting about my inability to get a holiday ham from Col. Bill Newsom’s Aged Kentucky Country Hams (www.newsomscountryham.com or Newsom’s Old Mill Store, 208 East Main Street, Princeton, Kentucky 42445, 270-365-2482). The late Col. Bill was a nephew of my uncle by marriage (a friend was teasing me the other day saying “you always say, he/she is a cousin, a cousin by marriage, a second cousin once removed – in other words, everyone you know is a relative). When Col. Bill’s daughter, Nancy Mahaffey, got wind of my lamenting, I was put on the list for a Christmas ham.
Came the week before Christmas and, as promised, the UPS guy delivered my ham. Let me tell you when I opened the package, I was floored. The ham weighed in at 13.74 pounds but it looked like it weighed 50! I had no idea what container I had that would hold the bugger completely covered in cold water for the 12 to 18 hour soak required. I ended up scrubbing my kitchen garbage can which served very nicely, thank you.
The cooking procedure began a couple of days before the 24th. I did just as I was told, soaked the ham in cold water for 12 hours, washed the soaked ham with a mixture of warm water and white vinegar, scrubbed it with a wire brush, and then placed it a large roasting pan along with some water, vinegar, and brown sugar, covered it with foil, and baked it for almost 6 hours (25 minutes per pound said the directions). Then, I cut off the skin, glazed it with a mustard/honey/orange zest mix, covered the glaze with bread crumbs, and then baked it again to a nice golden crust. When all was said and done, I had a beautiful ham that could feed a multitude. It’s quite salty and must be very, very thinly sliced (think prosciutto) so only a wee portion was consumed on Christmas Eve. I’ve shared the leftovers with many and we will still be eating ham and red eye gravy breakfasts, ham salad, ham sandwiches, omelets, and Hot Browns (when I make them I will write more about these classic Kentucky sandwiches) for weeks.
Next on our list is Nancy’s prosciutto, country bacon and/or sausage although the smoked, peppered pork and “Preacher Ham” sound pretty good, too.