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Fresh Ham

Technically, ham is a body part: even people have "hams."

It's used, though, mostly to refer to the two hind legs of a pig, particularly after they have been turned into a cured, processed meat.

It can also be used to refer to fresh, unprocessed pork from the hind legs that you can cook as you would any other cut of fresh pork. It's a large, "primal" cut. "Primal" is a word butchers use to mean that secondary cuts are usually made from it. It has 3 bones in it: aitch, leg and hind shank bones. If it's cut into 3 -- top, middle and bottom -- the top part is called the "rump portion", the middle is called "centre slice", and the bottom is called "shank portion." The very, very bottom part of shank portion (though not as far down as the foot) is called the "ham hock" and is often sold separately.

Fresh ham from younger pigs will be a greyish-pink colour; from older pigs it will be a light rose colour. Both will turn pale grey after cooking.

Fresh ham may be sold bone-in or boneless.

Cooking Tips

Treat as you would any regular joint of pork. Basically, when you roast it, you have "roast leg of pork."

Storage Hints

Store fresh ham in refrigerator and use or freeze within 5 days (unless label indicates a best before date previous to that.)


Ardennes Dry Ham; Bradenham Ham; Brine-Cured Ham; Butt End Ham; Country Ham; Devilled Ham; Fresh Ham; Gammon; Ground Ham; Guijuelo Ham; Ham Steak; Ham; Irish Ham; Leoncini Roasted Ham; Limerick Ham; Los Pedroches Ham; Pannonia Ham; Spanish Ham; Suffolk Cure; Taylor Pork Roll; Virginia Ham; Wachholder Ham

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Also called:

Pork Leg


Oulton, Randal. "Fresh Ham." CooksInfo.com. Published 08 June 2005; revised 17 May 2007. Web. Accessed 04/24/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/fresh-ham>.

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