Are you looking for a simple yet delicious way to cook your hardwood smoked shank portion ham? Look no further than your trusty crockpot! With minimal prep and a few key ingredients, you can have a mouthwatering ham dinner ready to serve in just a few hours. Follow our step-by-step guide below to get started.
Choosing the Right Cut of Ham for Your Crockpot
When it comes to cooking ham in a crockpot, the shank portion is an excellent choice. This cut is flavorful and tender, making it perfect for slow cooking. Be sure to choose a hardwood smoked ham for maximum flavor. You can typically find shank portion hams at your local grocery store or butcher shop.
Another great option for cooking ham in a crockpot is the butt portion. This cut is also flavorful and tender, but it has a higher fat content than the shank portion. This can result in a juicier and more succulent ham. However, if you prefer a leaner cut of meat, stick with the shank portion.
When preparing your ham for the crockpot, be sure to trim off any excess fat and score the surface of the meat. This will allow the flavors to penetrate the ham more deeply and create a delicious crust on the outside. You can also add a variety of seasonings and spices to the crockpot, such as brown sugar, honey, mustard, or cloves, to enhance the flavor of the ham even further.
Preparing Your Hardwood Smoked Shank Portion Ham for the Crockpot
Before placing your ham in the crockpot, you'll need to prepare it by removing any packaging and excess fat. If your ham has a rind, you can leave it on for added flavor and texture, or remove it if you prefer. Use a sharp knife to score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut too deeply into the meat.
Once you have scored the surface of the ham, you can add your desired seasonings and spices. Some popular options include brown sugar, honey, mustard, and cloves. Rub the seasonings onto the surface of the ham, making sure to get into the scored lines for maximum flavor. You can also add vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery to the crockpot for added flavor and nutrition. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Enjoy your delicious and easy-to-make crockpot ham!
Ingredients You'll Need for the Recipe
- Hardwood smoked shank portion ham
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Aside from the ingredients listed above, you may also want to prepare some additional spices to enhance the flavor of your ham. Some popular options include paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. You can experiment with different spice combinations to find the perfect blend for your taste buds.
When selecting your ham, it's important to consider the size and weight of the meat. A larger ham will require more cooking time, so plan accordingly. Additionally, you may want to trim off any excess fat before cooking to create a leaner dish.
Prepping Your Crockpot for Cooking
Begin by lining your crockpot with a slow cooker liner or coating it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the prepared ham in the crockpot, flat side down. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper until well combined. Pour the mixture over the ham, using a spoon or brush to evenly coat the surface.
Next, add in any additional ingredients you may want to include, such as chopped onions, garlic, or herbs. These will add extra flavor to your dish and complement the ham nicely. Be sure to distribute them evenly around the ham.
Finally, set your crockpot to the desired cooking time and temperature. For a ham, it is recommended to cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Once the cooking time is up, carefully remove the ham from the crockpot and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Setting Up the Perfect Cooking Conditions
Now it's time to cook your ham! Set your crockpot to low heat and cook for 6-8 hours, or until the ham is tender and fully cooked. Baste the ham with the cooking juices once or twice during the cooking process to keep it moist and flavorful. You can also add additional spices or seasonings if desired.
It's important to note that the size of your ham will affect the cooking time. A larger ham may require up to 10 hours of cooking time, while a smaller ham may only need 4-6 hours. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the ham with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe temperature of 145°F.
Once the ham is fully cooked, remove it from the crockpot and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender ham. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Cooked Hardwood Smoked Shank Portion Ham
- For a more caramelized glaze, remove the ham from the crockpot and place it on a baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
- For added flavor, use apple cider or apple juice instead of water when cooking your ham.
- If your ham is too large to fit in your crockpot, you can cut it in half or purchase a smaller ham.
- Make sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature should reach at least 145°F for safe consumption.
Another tip for cooking a perfectly smoked shank portion ham is to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful ham. Additionally, you can add herbs and spices to the cooking liquid for added flavor. Some popular options include bay leaves, thyme, and garlic. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavor profile.
How Long to Cook Hardwood Smoked Shank Portion Ham in a Crockpot
The cooking time will depend on the size of your ham and the heat of your crockpot. As a general rule, plan on cooking your shank portion ham on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145°F. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
It is important to note that adding liquid to the crockpot can help keep the ham moist during cooking. You can use water, broth, or even apple juice for added flavor. However, be careful not to add too much liquid as it can dilute the flavor of the ham.
Once the ham is cooked, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a more flavorful and tender ham. You can also use the leftover ham bone to make a delicious soup or broth.
Checking Doneness: How to Know When Your Ham is Ready
Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check for doneness. The internal temperature of your ham should reach at least 145°F for safe consumption. You can also check for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the ham - if it goes in easily and the meat is tender, it's likely fully cooked.
It's important to note that the cooking time for a ham can vary depending on its size and whether it's bone-in or boneless. As a general rule, plan for about 15-18 minutes of cooking time per pound of ham. However, it's always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your ham is fully cooked and safe to eat.
Serving Suggestions and Pairings with Hardwood Smoked Shank Portion Ham
Once your ham is fully cooked, it's time to serve! Slice it thinly and arrange on a platter, pouring the cooking juices over the top for added flavor. Pair your ham with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad. Leftover ham can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, or frozen for later use.
We hope this guide has been helpful in showing you how easy it is to cook a hardwood smoked shank portion ham in your crockpot. With a little prep and minimal effort, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that your whole family will love.
If you're looking to add some extra flavor to your ham, try glazing it with a mixture of honey, mustard, and brown sugar before cooking. This will give your ham a sweet and tangy taste that pairs well with the smoky flavor of the hardwood smoke.
For a more festive presentation, try scoring the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern and inserting whole cloves into the scored areas. This not only adds a decorative touch, but also infuses the ham with a warm, spicy flavor.