HOW TO SLICE AND STORE OUR BONE-IN HAMS
The leg consists of several different muscles, each with their own eating characteristics. The front muscle group is longer-fibered, lean, and intensely flavored. The rear muscle group is more tender and marbled with shorter fibers. The variation in flavor and texture as you make your way through the ham is all part of the special experience of meat cured on the bone!
NOTE: Be sure to remove the skin and the yellow colored sugna which is edible but not at all appetizing (made of lard, corn flour, salt and spices) from any area you will slice and eat.
Method 1: Hand-slice on a ham stand
a. You can begin slicing on either side of the bone. Trim away the skin and the sugna and begin slicing. The goal with hand slicing is to cut thin slices at an angle approximately parallel to the leg bone.
b. Once you’ve sliced your way down to the bone, you can go to point b in Method 2 and remove the femur to slice the remaining area by hand (with the grain). Or, you can just turn the ham over in your ham stand so that the uncut side is up, and proceed as you did in step a above. Slice away till you reach the bone.
Storage: Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, brush with olive oil and cover, or cover with a single-use paper towels soaked in olive oil and refrigerate. If mold develops, just trim it off.
Method 2: Section the ham for the slicer
This method separates the ham into two boneless pieces ( front and rear muscle groups) to make slicing on an electric or manual slicer possible.
a. Remove the knuckle (aka front muscle group): cut from the inside of the knee cap around the knee-end of the femur, keeping your knife tightly against the femur and down past the knob of the femur to the end of the ham—see green line in picture. Trim off sugna and skin and slice, or vacuum pack to hold it for future use.
b. Remove the femur: insert your knife into the knee joint and cut the tendons that hold it together—see arrow. Then cut along the other side of the femur (again keeping your knife tightly against the femur) until you can remove the femur—see black line in picture. You can trim off the meat above and below the femur for snacking or cooking.
c. Trim and slice the rear muscle group: Most people who use a slicer prefer to slice it across the grain (see dashed lines). We recommend slices of 1/16” (1 mm) thick or so.
Storage: For best flavor and texture preservation, we recommend vacuum packaging the sections. If that’s not an option, wrap tight in plastic wrap and refrigerate.