repackaging a ham

various dates

I like to buy a whole ham when the price is reasonably low.

At the regular price of about $2+/lb. this may only be slightly better priced than pre-packaged sliced ham, but there is a big difference in quality. Marielos and I both love the taste and texture of this thick-sliced ham. It is so much better than store-bought sliced ham. I find that so many ham products aren't much more than beautified spam nowadays.

There are also that big bone and some skin, fat and other waste, but at least I can see that this is the real thing, instead of chopped up and reshaped mystery meat.

Butt ham is nicer quality with larger muscle groups than shank ham. Since 2019, I have started deboning the ham before slicing it. I may not get the nice steaks that way, because the large muscles tend to separate from each other without the bone, but that is a minor issue, because I usually break up those big steaks anyway.

Once I have dissected the ham, I repackage it in smaller portions that will last the two of us a day or 2. The bags are vacuum-sealed and go in the freezer.


Peppers had a truck load of half-hams on sale for the holly days.
Butt ham $1.19/lb. and shank ham $0.99/lb. That really makes it worthwhile stocking up. Walmart was selling the same for more than double that price, now we know what that 'always the lowest price' promise is really worth.

Butt ham has nicer meat (larger muscles) that is a more tender than shank ham, hence the higher price. Still, it doesn't get any better than that.

I bought 4 shank hams and 2 butt hams.
Instead of always cutting ham steaks first, I started removing the bone first (Pic2) and then separated the big muscles.(pic3) It doesn’t look as nice as when I cut ham steaks, but it makes it easy to remove the white connective tissue between the muscles. I like to eat that soft white stuff, but Missy doesn't say no to it either.  

Compare: 10 lb. shank ham @ 99 cents / lbs. vs. sliced ham @ $6/2 lbs.


Pic1a: butt ham - 2017-12-18
Pic1b: shank ham - 2019-1215


This is what you need for many servings:




2019-10-12: shank ham, the big ham steaks first

Pic2: cut from the outside towards the center bone all around the ham
Pic3: cut around the bone to get the ham steak loose and remove it
Pic4: bone sticking out


Pic5: around the joint, the meat is all on one side
Pic6: below the joint, the pieces are small, fatty and tendinous
Pic7: beautiful vacuum-sealed ham steaks and 'leftovers'

2019-12-15: shank ham: debone first = no big steaks

Pic5: the knee joint and shin bone
Pic6: without the bone, the muscle groups tend to separate
Pic7: sliced and ready for repackaging

2017-12-18: butt ham

Pic8: ham steaks + thick slices
Pic9: the little pieces
Pic10: trim pieces for the dog