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Uncured Ham – Understanding Pork Thighs – Robust Kitchen
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Whether it’s deli meat, full roasts, or big birds, the term “uncured” is getting thrown around a lot these days. But what does it actually mean?
In this article, we will discuss the differences between cured and uncured ham, as well as the health benefits of both.
What Does Uncured Mean?
Simply put, uncured means that the meat did not go through the normal curing process. So, it’s either “fresh” ham (meaning completely uncooked) or it’s been cured, but in the “uncured way.” Confusing, right?
Uncured ham is cut in the same way as cured ham, but it’s not brined or flavored, like bacon or prosciutto. It is usually a light pink or grey color, unlike the dark red or pink of cured ham.
Is Uncured Ham Safe to Eat?
Yes, in most situations.
Uncured ham is still technically cured. So, it’s not the most accurate name. However, it’s cured in a far more natural way than other meats.
If you’re buying fresh ham (aka uncured ham) that hasn’t been cooked, it’ll be safe to eat once you pop that roast in the oven and reach the proper internal temperature.
Cured vs Uncured Ham
Uncured ham is usually cured with celery, beets, and salt. The vitamin C in these veggies prevents the nitrates from transforming into nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are a known carcinogen, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs! Luckily, uncured ham will always have a label that says, “No nitrites or nitrates.”
Cured ham, on the other hand, is injected with seasonings, nitrites, and nitrates to prevent bacterial growth. It is then fully cooked or smoked, depending on the brand.
Uncured ham has a shorter shelf life than cured ham due to its lack of preservatives. However, there are plenty of other benefits to purchasing uncured ham that make up for its shorter shelf life.
Uncured ham is often seen as the healthier alternative because it’s far more natural. For example, there aren’t any nitrates, nitrosamines, or other preservatives. Also, it is less salty than cured ham, making it ideal for those watching their sodium intake.
Eating a significant portion of cured ham every day will increase your risk of cancer. The preservatives in cured ham turn nitrates into nitrosamines, a by-product of the curing process. Nitrosamines can cause cancer in the brain, liver, lung, bladder, kidney, stomach, nasal sinus, or esophagus. (1)
Since nitrates aren’t present in the curing process for uncured ham, the risk of cancer significantly decreases.
Uncured ham will lack most of the flavor that we know and love in cured ham. That impossibly sweet but salty flavor? Yeah, it’s not going to be there. Most people compare uncured ham to pork tenderloin rather than bacon.
Cured ham is often brined with other additions that introduce honey and maple flavors. So, you can always add a maple or honey glaze to your uncured ham to kick it up a notch.
Cured ham is often more expensive than uncured ham. Cured ham is usually smoked, flavored, and made all pretty, so it’s a little more work. Hence the price tag!
Cured ham is a lot easier to find at your local grocery store as it’s still more common than uncured ham, in spite of the health risks. However, uncured ham is becoming more and more popular. You can usually find it at more health-conscious stores, like Whole Foods, Aldi’s, or Trader Joe’s.
Another great way to source uncured ham is from your
Which is Better? Cured or Uncured Ham?
Taste-wise? Cured ham.
Health-wise? Uncured ham for sure. Eating a significant amount of deadly carcinogens every day in a ham sandwich is not worth it. At least, not for me.
Does Uncured Ham Need to be Cooked?
In some instances, yes. In others, no. Some uncured ham will already be cooked, so you just need to reheat it. Others, not so much.
This really depends on if you’re buying “fresh” ham (which is a form of uncured ham) or “uncured” ham. Please read the label before diving in.
How to Cook an Uncured Ham
Let’s say you’ve got a significant chunk of uncured ham. If you want to bake it, you’ll need to cook it at 325°F for 15-20 minutes per pound. So, if you have three pounds of meat, you’ll want to cook it for 45-60 minutes.
Before sticking it in the oven, cover that bad boy in foil and place it fat side up. Throw in some sprigs of rosemary or thyme, salt and pepper, lemon juice–you get the picture. You can also add on a glaze afterward for some extra flavor!
Uncured Ham Recipes
Here are a few uncured ham recipes to spice it up a little:
Sweet Slice Uncured Ham with Brown Sugar Spice Glaze
Fresh Ham with Maple-Balsamic Glaze
Grilled ‘Fresh’ Ham Steak
Best Uncured Ham Companies
There are plenty of uncured ham companies out there. But, after some extensive research, I have compiled a list of the best of the best. These brands will hopefully be in your local grocery store. If not, you can order from them online:
- Tender Belly
- Simply Nature Ham
- Member’s Mark Uncured Ham
- Castle Wood Reserve
Can You Smoke Uncured Ham?
Yes! You can absolutely smoke uncured ham. Get out that smoker and some charcoal. Then, let it smoke for approximately ten hours.
The smoking process, though lengthy, will add back in some of the bacon-like flavors to your uncured ham. And I have a hard time saying no to bacon…
What is Uncured Honey Ham?
Uncured honey ham has a honey glaze on it to make it taste real good. However, it’s still uncured, meaning there were no nitrates or preservatives used in the curing process. Safe and tasty!
How Long to Cook Uncured Ham
That all depends on the internal temperature. The center of the meat needs to be between 145°F and 160°F to make it safe to eat. It may be drier when cooked above 145°, so keep that in mind when roasting.
The differences between cured and uncured ham range from the curing process to their flavor.
However, keeping your health in mind, it wouldn’t hurt to sub out cured deli meat for uncured ham sandwiches. In fact, it’d only help!
And try not to worry about the flavor. There are plenty of recipes that will make uncured ham taste just as good.
Extra Information About does uncured ham need to be cooked That You May Find Interested
If the information we provide above is not enough, you may find more below here.
Cured vs Uncured Ham – Understanding Pork Thighs
What Is Uncured Ham? | Everything You Need To Know
Does uncured ham need to be cooked? – Daily Delish
Is it safe to eat uncured ham? – Daily Delish
Is uncured ham safe to eat without cooking?
Cured vs Uncured Ham: What's The Difference? – Miller's Cafe
Is Uncured Ham Cooked? – Foods Guy
How To Cook Uncured Ham – I Really Like Food
Frequently Asked Questions About does uncured ham need to be cooked
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic does uncured ham need to be cooked, then this section may help you solve it.
How long do you have to cook uncured ham?
Bake at 325 degrees (F) for 15-20 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven before it finishes baking and remove foil.
What does it mean when it says uncured ham?
Uncured ham is also called fresh ham. It’s the same cut as cured, but not embellished with any of the brine and smoke or other flavorings the more common city hams and gourmet country hams. It even has a light pink or grey color, as you would expect in uncooked meat
Can you eat uncured meat without cooking?
Since both cured and uncured salami are left to dry out, all the harmful bacteria are eliminated from the meat. Therefore, all salami is raw. People are often confused by the ‘uncured’ label and think they need to cook the salami before consuming it. However, this is not the case
What is the difference between cured and uncured ham?
Quite simply, it’s all a matter of how the meats are preserved: Cured meats use chemicals and additives while uncured meats rely on natural salts and flavorings. Cured meats have nitrates. Uncured don’t. Both methods are used to preserve meat
Is uncured ham safe to eat cold?
Both whole or half, cooked, vacuum-packaged hams packaged in federally inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold, right out of the package. However, if you want to reheat these cooked hams, set the oven no lower than 325 °F and heat to an internal temperature of 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Is uncured ham still processed meat?
Simply put? Yep. ?Processed meat? is any meat that’s preserved by salting, smoking or curing, or by adding chemical preservatives. That means sausage, bacon, cold cuts like pastrami and salami, hot dogs and, yes, ham.
Can you heat uncured ham?
Cover with tightly with foil. Reheat in a 325-degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 140 degrees. You can also place the ham in an oven bag. Figure no more than 10 minutes per pound for reheating.
Which is healthier cured or uncured ham?
Health. Uncured ham is often seen as the healthier alternative because it’s far more natural. For example, there aren’t any nitrates, nitrosamines, or other preservatives. Also, it is less salty than cured ham, making it ideal for those watching their sodium intake.
What is the advantage of an uncured ham?
Uncured ham has less sodium than traditional ham. This is because it’s not cured with salt or other preservatives. If you’re looking for a healthier option, uncured ham is a great choice. It has less sodium and calories, and it doesn’t contain any added nitrates or preservatives.
Why does uncured ham get slimy?
Slimy meat is a sign that the ham has been colonized by bacteria. These bacteria can cause food poisoning if they’re eaten, so it’s always safest to throw away a slimy ham. There may be other signs that your ham has gone off such as a sour or rotten smell or greenish, grayish, or other discolored parts.