Prep 6 hrs
Cook 20 mins
To Major Todd, of the small town of Smithfield in the heart of the peanut section of eastern Virginia, goes the credit for the original of these delectable hams. The hogs fatten rapidly by foraging in the peanut fields after the crop is harvested. Special care is taken in curing and smoking, resulting in a world-wide reputation. From the Southern chapter of the United States Regional Cookbook, Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, 1947. Overnight soaking not included in preparation time.
- 1 (10 -12 lb) Smithfield Ham
- 2 tablespoons cracker crumbs or 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, finely crushed
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- pepper, to taste
- whole cloves
- 1⁄4 cup sherry wine (optional)
- Soak ham overnight in a cool place, then change water and simmer 4 to 5 hours or until tender.
- Cool in its own liquid.
- When cold, remove skin, place fat side up in a roasting pan and make criss-cross gashes in the fat with a sharp knife.
- Pour sherry over top of ham.
- Mix cracker crumbs with brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over top of ham; sprinkle lightly with pepper.
- Stud ham with whole cloves.
- Bake at 450F for 20 minutes or until brown.
- Garnish with watercress or parsley, if desired.
I am one of those people who rarely salts their food, so hams are usually extra salty to me. I had heard that "soaking" a ham prior to baking would help lessen the salty flavor. We loved the taste of this, and it was SO tender and juicy. I'm not quite sure how to rate this though, because I skipped the step that calls for boiling, because the Smithfield Ham that I purchased was labeled as "Fully Cooked-Ready to Heat." So I soaked the ham overnight, and proceeded with the remaining steps. I loved that the taste of the pork came thru, without the super-saltiness.