foods and cuisines

Smithfield-ham | The culinary treasure that has been enjoyed for centuries


A specialty ham known as a “country ham” with origins in Smithfield, Virginia. To be a Smithfield ham, it must be cured and processed in the Smithfield, Virginia city limits. It is a dry cured ham that is slowly smoked over oak, hickory and applewood. The process of smoking and aging adds a notably rich flavor. Most often the hams are salted heavily, seasoned in a coating of black pepper, smoked slowly, and kept in a controlled environment for aging. They are generally aged for 6 to 12 months but some are aged up to 2 years. The entire process results in a dark colored, dry, and salty, but richly flavored ham. The hams can be stored from one to two months without much moisture evaporation. When preparing to eat this type of ham, the chef must thoroughly cleanse the ham before cooking it in order to remove any mold that has formed due to the aging process. The ham can be eaten raw but is most often soaked to reduce the saltiness and then baked or boiled.

How To Eat Smithfield Ham

In Virginia, ham is good on everything. We put it in our Brunswick stew, our black-eyed peas and sometimes, we even add a slice to a piece of cake. Yet, my purist father believes ham is best served in a sandwich with two pieces of white bread and a healthy layer of mayonnaise. He also loves ham in rolls or biscuits. He even loves ham on its own. He does have some favorite Southern dishes that he loves to eat with ham specifically: “collard greens with watermelon rind pickle, mashed potatoes, green beans cooked with ham hock, fried chicken and hot rolls from the stump up,” which is his special way of saying from scratch. He also notes that on Christmas and Thanksgiving day, the fried chicken can be replaced with turkey, if you feel so inclined.

Spiral Sliced Ham (Bone-In and Boneless) Heating Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  • Remove all packaging materials and place ham on wire rack in shallow roasting pan, flat side down.
  • Add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan
  • Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes per pound, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F.
  • Do not overcook! Remove ham from oven and let stand 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

If glazing is desired, see additional glazing instructions. And to make sure your ham is baked perfectly, this handy chart will help with cooking times based on ham size and weight. It’s important that you don’t overheat it in the oven or your ham could end up dry instead of juicy. So follow along with the video, double check your chart, and serve up a tasty and delicious spiral sliced ham every time.

Glazing Instructions (for Smithfield Smoked Hams sold with glaze packet)

  • Remove ham from oven. Remove foil and turn ham on its side. CAUTION: Ham will be hot. Please use utensils to turn ham.
  • Place refrigerated glaze packet under warm tap water 1 minute or until glaze is softened. Cut off corner of packet and apply glaze evenly over ham surface. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes while glaze melts into ham.
  • If desired, glazed ham may be heated. Remove ham from oven 10 minutes before end of warming time and follow instructions for glazing ham. Heat glazed ham, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes in 275°F oven.

Can you boil a Smithfield ham?

Water Cooking (preferred method)

Place ham skin side down in vessel and cover with cool water. Bring water to 190˚F (simmering, not boiling). Cook approximately 25 minutes per pound or until 163˚F internal temperature

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