By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
from Fine Cooking #128, pp. 53-59
If Normal Rockwell had painted Easter dinner instead of Thanksgiving, he clearly would have nixed the turkey and gone with a ham. After all, a ham marks a celebration, a crowd, and good times. But there's no need to wait until the bunny hops along-a ham makes a terrific centerpiece anytime this spring. On the following pages, we'll explain how to shop for one, cook it, and deal with the leftovers, if you're lucky enough to have any.
Slideshow: 13 Ideas for Leftover Ham
If you're fortunate enough to have leftover ham, skip the sandwiches and use it to make these delicious meals.
What is a ham exactly?
Where it comes from: A ham is the hip and upper portion of the back leg of a pig, boar, or other porcine, four-legged animal.
Put simply: It's the rear end, the hindquarter, the tuchus of a pig, plus a bit more down the leg for good measure. It doesn't have to be cured; it needn't be smoked. It must never be garnished with maraschino cherries.
What it is not: The front shoulder of a pig (which is often mislabeled as ham). Nor is it the poorly named Boston butt (from the front of the animal). And it's certainly not the even-more-poorly named picnic ham (again, from the front).
More specifically: When it comes to the iconic, center-of-the-table ham, we're actually referring to a "city" ham, which is a ham that's been wet-cured and hot-smoked. (Country hams, which are dry-cured and often smoked, are an entirely different matter.)