How to Cook Cottage Ham in the Oven: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cottage ham, also known as cottage butt or smoked pork shoulder, is a flavorful and inexpensive cut perfect for feeding a crowd. Learning how to cook cottage ham in the oven results in tender, juicy meat infused with a hint of smoky flavor

Cottage ham is the portion of the pig containing the femoral head and part of the leg bone. It’s cut from the leg above the hock and contains a good amount of fat interlaced through the lean meat, keeping it nice and moist during cooking. Follow this simple step-by-step guide for oven-baked cottage ham success.

Choosing and Preparing the Ham

When selecting a cottage ham for oven cooking, look for one that is unsliced and still has the bone in. The bone helps retain moisture and imparts more pork flavor. Plan on about 1/3 to 1/2 pound of ham per person.

Take the ham out of the packaging and rinse it under cool water. Pat dry completely with paper towels. Place it fat side up on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, trim off any dried edges or undesirable large pieces of fat, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat. Score the fat cap in a diamond pattern, making cuts about 1/4 inch deep.

Seasoning the Ham

At this point, you can season or glaze the ham as desired For a simple preparation, just rub it all over with olive oil or vegetable oil and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper Other seasoning blends like garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, or cayenne would also be tasty.

For a sweeter glaze, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and a pinch of cloves in a small bowl. Heat until blended and bubbling, then brush all over the ham, using about half of the glaze. Reserve the rest for basting while cooking.

Roasting in the Oven

To cook the cottage ham in the oven, first prepare a roasting pan by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with foil. Place the ham fat side up and insert a meat thermometer deep into the thickest part, taking care not to hit the bone.

Roast at 325°F, allowing about 18-20 minutes per pound. So for a 5 pound ham, cook for approximately 90-100 minutes. Baste the ham with the reserved glaze every 20 minutes while cooking. Remove once the thermometer reaches 140°F for medium doneness (or 155°F for well done).

Resting, Carving and Serving

When the cottage ham reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving to allow juices to be reabsorbed for a moister sliced meat.

Place the rested ham on a cutting board. Carefully slice across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the slices neatly on a serving platter. Pour the pan drippings into a gravy boat for pouring over the sliced ham. Serve alongside classic sides like scalloped potatoes, baked beans, cooked cabbage, corn pudding, biscuits, and a fresh salad.

Fall Classic Cottage Roll And Cabbage


Are cottage hams already cooked?

Cottage Ham is a boneless shoulder butt, cured in brine and sold raw and wrapped in netting, then in a plastic wrapper. The purpose of the netting is to hold it together while cooking.

What is the difference between cottage ham and regular ham?

Cottage “Ham”: A cut from the top end of the shoulder, known as the shoulder butt, which has been cured in brine. Because it is not from the hind leg of the hog, it doesn’t meet the definition of ham.

Why do they call it cottage ham?

“A reasonable theory on the name might be that a Cincinnati butcher in the 1800s dubbed them cottage hams because they are small, like a cottage home – just the perfect size for cooking beans.”

How long to cook a precooked ham in the oven?

The goal is to reheat the ham without drying it out. The best way to do this is to place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add water to the bottom of the pan and cover the whole thing tightly with foil. Bake at 325F for 16-20 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer registers 135F.

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