The best reason historians can come up with for the popularity of eating ham on Easter Sunday is that pigs were a symbol of luck in a pre-Christian Europe. While there are many types of meat called hams, a true ham is described as coming from the back leg of a hog. If you’re looking for a unique take on this traditional dish, consider the following.
- Asian glazed ham incorporates flavor profiles specific to Asian cultures such as orange and soy.
- Spicy glazed ham can incorporate a sweet element like honey with a spicy element like sriracha for a memorable meal.
- Sweet glazed ham is more traditional in the U.S. and typically includes maple syrup and brown sugar.
- Savory glazed hams tend to have a mustard base.
- Smoked hams can be time consuming, but pack a lot of flavor. Using different types of wood for smoking will change the flavor profile.
- A fresh ham is one that is raw, uncured, uncooked, and still has the skin on.
- Dry-cured hams are preserved with salt then air dried for months.
- Wet-cured hams are the most popular type of ham in the U.S. and are cured by brine soaking.
- Canned ham is an acquired taste for most, either you’ve acquired it or you haven’t. Don’t discount this gelatinous meat yet, just look at the popularity of it’s cousin Spam!
- Corned ham is made in the same way as corned beef. Like a dry-cured ham it is preserved in salt, but only for a week and then it is roasted.
While guests may be expecting ham specials around Easter time, as a chef it is your job to expand and excite their palate. So,l grab your chef coat and give diners a ham dinner they’ll never forget.