One of the most important things first-time home cooks should learn is that different cuts of meat should be treated differently.
But you delve into the specifics of those, it’s equally important to know the names of these cuts and which part of the pig it’s from.
Right now, let’s discuss the gammon joint.
This comes from the hind legs of the pig or the ham.
The only difference is that the ham, when prepared, is smoked and then cooked. Our featured ingredient is just smoked.
A favorite Sunday lunch fare in the UK, one can slice and fry a gammon joint. But extra care must be taken when cooking this because it can get slightly tough when overcooked.
Two minutes on each side will be enough to sear and heat the inside of a half-inch thick slice. As aforementioned, this has already been cooked so there is no need to let it stay in the pan for long.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of the words ‘gammon joint’, that’s expected.
It’s an old English term that is used today mainly by the British. As explained earlier, the US and the rest of the world call this the leg or ham.
Everything You Need to Know About This Cut
One basic fact which everyone should know about hog parts is that the cuts from the top part are usually the tenderest and the ones closest to the hocks are the toughest.
This is because the muscles near the hocks are often used for walking.
Here are others:
• A whole leg weighs over 20 pounds.
• Butchers often slice this into two main parts: the butt end which is nearer the tail and the shank end which is closer to the hock.
• Because the butt end is anatomically positioned higher, it is more tender. Also, there nice, fatty parts on this side. The presence of several bones makes this difficult to carve but those make this very flavorful.
• The shank end has a bit of a chew but the position of the bone makes it easier to carve.
• The part above the front hocks is often mislabeled as ‘ham’. It is not. This is called the Boston Butt or the Picnic (again, this is merely a misnomer) ham.
Gammon Joint – What You Need to Know
Again, ham undergoes several layers of preparation – cured and/or smoked then baked, boiled, or broiled.
It can be served straight on the dining table or stored in the fridge to be eaten in sandwiches or salads.
Gammon, on the other hand, is merely smoked just like bacon.
Here is a traditional step-by-step preparation:
• Prep your pork
Get rid of the skin, remove most of the fat cap to allow the brine to penetrate the meat, hack off bones that stick out, and wash the meat as well as you could.
Weigh it as well. This will help you set the time for curing, smoking, and cooking.
• Prepare your brine
In a food-grade container, mix in the following: water, salt, a bit of sugar, and Prague Powder then chill this in the fridge.
Try not to add anything else to this mix so it will penetrate the meat. You can always add your favorite seasoning in the baked ham as a glaze.
Place the meat inside, making sure it’s fully submerged. The length of curing depends on how large the slab is. A pound may take a day to cure.
You can also inject the meat with the curing solution. Do be careful when doing this so that you don’t leave uncured spots.
This ensures that the exterior won’t have too much salt.
This would be the time to add the other seasonings you like. But this is optional.
Set your grill at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (145 degrees Celcius). The rule of thumb is it takes 30 minutes to cook every inch of the meat.
And like bacon, it should be cooked before eating.
You have the option to cook the whole chunk in the oven, slathering the whole thing with your favorite glaze.
You may also cut a few slices then wrap the rest in plastic to be stored in the fridge or freezer.
A Simple Way to Cook
• Prep everything you need: half-inch thick slices, no-flavor oil, and a cast iron pan.
You can also prep your favorite sides.
• Put your pan over the stove and add the oil. Heat it until it’s starting to smoke.
• Carefully place the steaks on the pan. Cook this for a minute to two per side: checking now and then until you get a good sear before you turn it.
You can serve this as is or put it inside a pre-heated oven for another three minutes to ensure that the inside is warm.
• Let it rest for five minutes before you serve with your side dishes. Enjoy!!!