Holiday hams, ham-and-cheese sandwiches, ham croquettes, ham-and-cheese omelets. They’re all delicious dishes, and they all have one thing in common, of course: ham! It’s an incredibly versatile meat, and whether it’s sweet or savory, you’re going to have a tasty time. However, there’s one question that ham fans can’t help but ask: What cut of meat does ham usually come from?
Why Do We Call It Ham?
The word “ham” is one of those words that will stop sounding like English if you say it enough times. But in fact, the word does come from English origins. More specifically, it comes from the Old English word hom, which refers to the back part or “hollow” of the knee. It wasn’t until the 15th century that the word “ham” was used to describe the cut of meat, and it’s been all uphill from there!
What Part of the Pig Does Ham Come From?
If you’ve ever seen a whole ham hanging in a butcher shop, you may have noticed it looks kind of like a big wooden club. If the ham hasn’t been cut yet, you may have even seen a pair of trotters at the end! That’s because the cut of meat that ham usually comes from is the hind leg of the pig. Those leg muscles see a lot of action throughout the pig’s lifetime, which is where all that dense meatiness comes from.
What Is Cured and Uncured Ham?
The ham you get at the store has been preserved in one way or another, and unless the label specifically says “uncured,” you’re likely buying cured ham. “Cured” just means the meat has been preserved in man-made chemicals such as sodium nitrite. With uncured ham, the preservation process uses natural preservatives such as salt or celery powder.
Both types of preservatives are safe to consume, and which one you should choose depends on your dietary preferences. If you’re looking for “fresh” ham, simply ask your butcher for a leg of pork.
If you’re looking to whip up a delicious ham for your next Sunday dinner but you don’t know where to find quality meat, look no further! Here at Vincent’s Meat Market, we sell spiral-cut hickory-smoked ham, cooked and ready to eat with a sweet ham glaze. We’ll even ship it right to your door. We make it easy for people to put good food on their tables and bring family together.