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What Should You Look for in a Ham?

Buying Tips

There’s a ham for every occasion, even if that occasion is just tonight’s dinner. But when it comes to satisfying appetites and putting smiles on faces, all hams are not created equal. We’re pleased to draw on more than a century in the meat business to offer a little inside info on what to look for when you hit the grocery store in search of the perfect ham.

What Should You Look for in a Ham?

In terms of ingredients, the fewer and simpler, the better. Our hams are cured with real brown sugar, where others use corn syrup or dextrose. Corn syrup and dextrose have only half the sweetness of sugar, and require more non-meat “filler” ingredients to help bind the extra water needed to dilute them.

Our hams are “natural juice hams,” as opposed to “ham and water” (containing up to 23% non-meat ingredients) or “water added” (containing up to 18% non-meat ingredients).

When it comes to flavor, fat is your friend — especially when you’re baking a fully cooked ham for several hours. Fat also absorbs more of the hardwood smoke we use during the smoking process, which adds to the flavor. Cooking tip: Cook your ham with the fat side up in a covered dish with a tight seal to keep the moisture in. This’ll make sure you get full flavor in every bite.

Make sure your ham has never been frozen. Freezing creates muscle separation and unwanted moisture in the package, which affects the texture. Frick’s hams have the best texture because we never freeze them.

Real hardwood makes all the difference. Our hams are hardwood smoked and slowly cooked to lock in the juiciness and flavor. Also, our hams are fully cooked, which is superior to partially cooked or “ready to cook” hams from a food safety standpoint. Don’t settle for a solely “liquid smoked” ham.

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