Ham! Ham—unless you are a pig or a non-eater thereof—is a joyous meat, indeed, specifically in the morning. Bacon and sausage hog the mass of the breakfast glory, but ham is steadfast, wait in the wings until it’s trotted the end to beat its supporting function on a biscuit, alongside egg (green, ideally), chunked into a casserole or nestled right into a muffin believe to develop exceedingly Pinterest-friendly ham cups to be filled with cheese, eggs, grits, and whatnot. Hardly ever is the the star, yet don’t mistake the for dullness or unimportance. Think the American ham as a talented character actor that can show up in countless guises (country ham, Smithfield ham, spiral-cut ham), improve the scene without stepping everywhere everyone else’s lines, and also leave folks thirsty for just a little bit more.

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And just so we’re clear, here’s what ham is: meat from the upper component of a pig’s leg. Technically, the doesn’t have to be cured, however that’ll usually be referred to up front together “fresh ham” or “green ham”—or at the very least it must be, through all standards of decency. The smoky and/or salty, sometimes mold-covered stuff is what most folks are trying to find in the morning, therefore here’s simple guide to a few of the American ham terms and varieties you could encounter ~ above a breakfast food selection or your butcher’s cases. Go H.A.M. And shot ‘em all.


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Country Ham

These uncooked hams space dry-cured v salt and also spiced (sugar and also pepper are often in the mix), usually smoked (though no always), climate left to hang and age all over from a couple of months to several years. Throughout this time, a country ham might accumulate mold ~ above the outside, but that’s all component of the funk and magic (and it’s rinsed off prior to serving). The meat is vigorously salty—which is part of that is appeal. It could be sold totality or in slices, and also may it is in baked, fried, boiled, or simmered prior to eating. A tiny goes a very long way, however a really an excellent way.

This is usually nation ham, made in Virginia, by pigs the were raised in Virginia, generally on a diet that consists of peanuts. There’s no USDA statute the legally calls for a Virginia-style ham to it is in made in the state, therefore if that’s vital to you, check the brand or ask her server or butcher.

This isn’t simply ham that’s do by Smithfield Foods—though the Virginia-based, Chinese-owned firm does in reality sell hams. To be dubbed a “Smithfield,” by law (yes, through law) this country ham needs to be cured and processed (cold-smoked, spanned in pepper, and aged at least six months) in Smithfield, Virginia, and come from peanut-fed pigs.

We’ll permit some people from new Jersey explain this one. And also while we're talking local hams, Maryland ham is a prepared, stuffed dish, rather than a certain kind of ham, itself—but civilization might yell if the weren't included, so there.

These here hams space wet-cured, meaning that they’ve been soaked in or injected v brine to cure it—usually one made up of salt, sugar, seasonings and also some type of curing agent, regularly nitrates or nitrites. This is the most popular type of ham sold in the united States.

This is a large ol’ thick slice of steak native a ham roast—usually wet-cured—and might or might not save on computer a bone. Some people call this “breakfast ham,” and we salute them.


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Spiral-Cut Ham

The HoneyBaked Ham agency invented this cutting an approach more 보다 four decades ago, yet the patent expired in 1981, and anyone through the proper modern technology can have actually at it. Basically, stand a ham ~ above end and make cuts about the bone to type thin, even, elegant slices. It’s rill fancy.

In the europe Union, just ham that’s to be made by licensed butchers in the black Forest region of Germany can be dubbed Black forest ham or Schwarzwälder Schinken—and it’s obtained to be wet-brined in jars, “afterburned,” and also aged. However in the US, every bets are off. It’s normally smoky, boneless, and has a blackened skin, yet there’s no specifically-mandated an approach for obtaining it to the state.

Mmmmmm...canned ham. This is boneless ham—either entirety or pieces—mixed through gelatin and molded into a shape that fits right into the commonly teardrop-shaped tin. It can be shelf-stable or have to be refrigerated, yet it does should be cooked prior to consumption.

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In slang terms, this is someone’s bare hindquarters pressed up versus glass in an plot of “mooning.” You carry out not want this close to your eggs. In a culinary context, it’s scraps that meat that have actually been combined with a binder and also shaped or pressed into a loaf.