Which Brand of Ham??

gardengal19April 20, 2011

Getting ready to buy a whole ham for Easter. Which brand do you think is the best? Choices are "Fleur de Lis" - "Kentucky Legend" - "Hormel Cure 81" or whatever.

I hardly ever buy a whole ham except at Easter. I think I had a spiral cut ham last year but, didn't care for it at all...even though I just barely warmed it.

The next question is - how do you prepare a whole ham?

I love all the ideas Thanks!


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I don't know any of those except Cure 81, which I personally would not buy. Around here, the choices are Hormel (from the grocery store), Holiday and Honeybaked Ham, which are precooked so you simply cut and heat. I think it depends on what you prefer, whether you like a less sweet ham, and/or lots of glaze. I'd suspect the Kentucky Legend is more of a rustic country style (without knowing anything about it of course!). I have a friend who swears by Aldi's brand of ham, and says it's very good. She always looks forward to them showing up in local stores around Easter.

I think it's hard to figure out which one you like best without doing a taste test. We were able to do that one year, which revealed the clear choice for me. Here, it's Holiday Ham All The Way, which I prefer for the sweet flavor which doesn't need anything added, with very little waste.

Good luck in finding your favorite!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:22PM
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Aldi's has ham advertised at a big reduction in price but my question is....butt or shank? Which is more desirable?And I guess it's obvious I'm not experienced at cooking ham.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Cook's Illustrated says their recommended ham is a Bone-In Ham with Natural Juices, Spiral Cut. (Most are already pre-cooked. Butt or Shank doesn't matter as much as those that have water added, as they say most hams are at least 15 pounds and cut into smaller pieces.) Those with water added are not desirable (which I believe are the Hormel Cure 81 hams.)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:42PM
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That would make the Aldi brand below, the one to buy.

Of course, I will say I've not tried these myself, but I'm tempted to!

Here is a link that might be useful: Aldi ham, natural juices, spiral cut

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:46PM
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The Aldi hams are very good. I bought three of them back before Christmas. Just plain hams, not the spiral cut which I don't care for (too dry).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:40PM
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Thanks, claire de luna and jude -
Aldi happens to be the closest store to me and I did notice their Appleton Farms hams - sold either as shank or butt portion. But, I was looking for a whole ham. It is hard to find a bone-in ham. All the ones I see advertised are boneless. How do they do that? A whole ham with no bone. Anyway, I guess the one with "natural juice" will be the one of choice.

I just thought of Costco. Maybe they have a whole ham. I know they have the spiral cut - but, I'm not crazy about spiral because the slices are too thick and it seems to dry out faster.

I like to braise a whole ham in a covered roaster with either ginger ale or a white wine and some aromatic veggies like onion, celery and carrots.
Then, remove the lid and drain off all liquid and veggies. Crank up the heat and finish with your favorite glaze. This year I might try brown sugar and pineapple.

Aldi and Trader Joes are both owned by brothers - that's why you'll never see an Aldi store near a Trader Joes. I was asking about organic products at Aldi and an employee told me I would find that at Trader Joes.
I guess I'll never see a TJ's around here. The brothers don't want to be in competition with each other.

Keep posting about your favorite way to cook ham.

LindaC - how do you fix ham? BTW, I just made a cream cheese pound cake and in my notes by the recipe it said - made for the Chgo. Garden Web 3rd Get-Together 7-10-99. Do you remember that one?
How many did you go to? I think I went to 5 from the very beginning. Do
they still have them?


    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Oh my Gardengal....I didn't know you were Gloria!!
I don't think there are GW Chicago get togethers any more....but they were fun.
the brand of ham I like best is Kretchmar......they are boneless, bavarian style.....and to me the perfect balance of sweet and smokey.....and because the bone has been removed....easy to slice and serve......and they are pre cooked! Just heat and serve!
I remove the wrapping and put into a covered roaster, score the top stud with cloves if presentation is going to be a thing....or sometimes I layer with pineapple slices held in place with tooth picks....cover the roaster and warm at 300 for about an hour or less....no need to add anything as the ham has already been cooked, hust want tow arm it to serving temperature....maybe 120 or so...

But I also like a whole Smithfield ham....bone in...likely will weigh about 16 to 20 pounds and be a pain to carve....but I sure have done it!!
Put it into a covered roaster with about 2 cups of a sweet white wine....like a reisling or a moscato. Cook at 325 until internal temp is about 125 to 130, them spread on a glaze made from brown sugar....about a cup, couple of tablespoons of dark grainy mustard and enough cider vinegar to make it about like syrup....pour that over the ham....turn the oven up to 400 and put it back for about 35 to 35 minutes until glazed....basting every 10 minutes.
Spiral cut hams have their place.....but agree that the slices are too thick.....and they can get "baconey"
if you heat to more than luke warm.
Good luck.....and nice to know who you are!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 6:06PM
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LindaC - I remember that photo but I'm not in there as shown. Maybe to the left a little more. Are you in the second row to the right in black?

I see Toni sitting in the front to the left in navy. She's the one who took care of all the flowers at Blackberry Farm and was in charge of the place.
Lived there too. Then, behind her in the third row going to the left was the group from NW IN. Going to the right in the third row was someone from MI and then Ruthann. In the first row sitting next to Toni is someone from
Iowa but I can't remember her name. I think her husband is the one who took the pic. He was the photographer who brought all his albums of flowers from their yard. I don't see Spike there either.
Do you have a date for that photo?
My pics are in the basement somewhere. Oh dear- that's a whole new project - going through old photos. So much easier now with digital cameras.

Take care, lindaC

Easter Blessings to all!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 7:41PM
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That was I believe 1997....
Yeah Ruthann in the dark glasses, Cora Lea in the olive green....the lady just in front of me in the tie die made the MOST amazing chocolate cake!!!!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 9:35PM
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SMITHFIELD is the best for us!!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 11:25AM
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we like ky legend but they are small, 3-4 lbs and are great for sandwiches. we found them once that were larger and came with a glaze mixture. probably not what you have in mind for easter but nice to have for everyday ham sandwich that has a great taste.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:31PM
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I baked a Smithfield ham (butt) just two weeks ago. It was very good, nicely trimmed, very little waste. It is in the freezer along with the ham bone for when I want to make soup or a pot of beans.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 1:57PM
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I go to a Latin butcher shop or market with a good meat counter to buy ham, and I cook it at home. I've never bought the pre-cooked ones, and the prices at the Latin markets are much better. Make sure you do not go to a Halal market by mistake like I did or you will get funny looks - it was next door to the Latin market, and I went in the wrong door!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:38PM
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Lars - Do you mean a Mexican market? We have a "super mercado" in town. They do have good pork and even beef that I've bought. I've never seen a ham but, I could check it out again.

Otherwise, I'll look for a Smithfield.

Thanks everyone for your input.

I guess I've never officially introduced myself because I've been posting with the GW since 1996 when things were much simpler. Then, I became a Master Gardener in 2000 and that occupied most of my time. Now, I'm retired from MG having Emeritus status. I have 5 grandkids now with two more on the way - one in July and another in Sept. And they all live close,

one next door! Comes over for breakfast most mornings with her two since she's still on maternity leave

I met lindaC. at some of the Chgo. GW get-togethers and often wonder if any of the others are still around. If they are - they are probably in flowers somewhere. There are just too many forums nowadays.

lindaC - do you know if Cora Lea or any of the others are still around?

I like Cooking, Veg.,Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs and Harvest Forums so I could pop up anywhere there.

Hope everyone has a Blessed Easter!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:02PM
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Here is a video from Cook's Illustrated, showing exactly how to cook a glazed spiral sliced ham, to keep it from drying out. They chose a ham shank, because it's easier to carve.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video from Cook's Illustrated re:spiral sliced ham

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Smithfield only in this household.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:06AM
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Claire-de-Luna -- Thanks for the link which I'm sure others will find useful. I'm not able to view it because it requires adobe flash and that's not available for iPad or iPod yet.

Rusty, lyndaluu, lindac and Teresa nc - I've been looking for a Smithfield. The only ones I've seen so far have Paula Deen's name on them, are half hams and spiral cut. Looks like I'll have to settle for second best if I still want a whole ham.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Cora Lea is still living in the same house....or at least was a year ago.....she has sort of dropped off my radar. Andie still posts here and there now and then. Ruthann has an adorably grand baby and her mother Jean ( right behind me in that picture) died just a couple of months ago.
Robert ( Big Foot) and....what's her name! LOL! post on the kitchen Table.
And Louise from Michigan has a new husband and posts on facebook as does Mary Collins who has a new last name and Diane....AKA Princess Di, as do several others....and Rebecca and her husband stopped in to see me last summer!!
I think marie still keeps touch with Rebecca but not with me....
So....there 14 years in a nut shell!!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Gloria, the Latin butcher shop that I go to is Cuban, but it could be Mexican, Salvadorean, Puerto Rican, Columbian, etc. and still have similar meat choices. You can call the market ahead of time to find out what they have in stock. I've been in Mexico for Easter (I don't recommend it because everyone travels during Semana Santa), but I don't remember ham being a traditional dish for Easter there. Still, you can buy hams in most Mexican markets. I usually turn it into Carne Asada or Ropa Vieja.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:58PM
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