How to Cook Smithfield Ham in a Crock Pot for Maximum Flavor

Smithfield ham is a specialty kind of cured ham that originated in the town of Smithfield, Virginia It has a signature salty, smoky flavor and it’s definitely an indulgence! Many people only buy Smithfield ham for special occasions like Easter or Christmas But if you can get your hands on one, it’s delicious enough to cook up anytime.

Cooking your Smithfield ham in a crock pot is a fool proof way to get maximum flavor with very little effort on your part. The slow cooking process allows the ham to become incredibly tender and absorb all the flavors of your glaze or broth. Follow the tips below for crock pot success!

Selecting and Preparing Your Smithfield Ham

When shopping for a Smithfield ham you’ll have a choice between bone-in or boneless. Bone-in is more traditional, but boneless may fit more easily in your slow cooker. An 8 to 10 pound ham is typical.

Before cooking your ham, you’ll need to:

  • Remove it from any packaging, discarding the plastic cap on the bone if present. Also discard any glaze packet included.

  • Trim off any hardened skin or excess fat. Leave a thin layer of fat for flavor and moisture.

  • Score the fat in a diamond pattern. This helps the glaze seep down into the meat.

  • Consider soaking the ham overnight in water to help reduce saltiness. Drain well before cooking.

Delicious Glaze Ideas for Your Crock Pot Ham

One of the best parts of slow cooked ham is the glaze! You can get creative with sweet and savory flavor combinations.

Popular glaze ingredients include:

  • Brown sugar or maple syrup
  • Honey, molasses, or sorghum
  • Fruit juices like pineapple, apple, or orange
  • Spices like cloves, ginger, nutmeg
  • Mustards like yellow, Dijon, spicy brown
  • Vinegars like balsamic, cider, wine
  • Fruit preserves or jams

To make a glaze, simply mix ingredients into a paste and rub all over ham before cooking. Broth or water in the crock pot will thin it to a glaze.

How to Cook a Smithfield Ham in the Crock Pot

Cooking your Smithfield ham in the slow cooker is an easy process:

  1. Prepare the crock pot. Pour 1-2 cups of broth, fruit juice or water into the bottom. This will keep the meat moist.

  2. Coat with glaze. Apply your glaze mixture generously onto all surfaces.

  3. Place ham inside. Fit the ham into your slow cooker, ideally with the fattier side up.

  4. Cover and cook on low. Put the lid on and cook for 4-6 hours on the low setting until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

  5. Make glaze. Carefully transfer ham to a platter. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, simmer, and thicken with cornstarch for a glaze.

  6. Rest and serve! Allow the ham to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Spoon the glaze over top or serve it on the side.

That’s truly all there is to it! The long, slow cooking renders the Smithfield ham incredibly moist and tender.

Tips for Crock Pot Ham Success

To ensure your Smithfield ham turns out perfect, keep these tips in mind:

  • Cook time will vary based on size. Plan for about 5-6 hours low for a 10 pound ham. Or even overnight on warm.

  • Use a meat thermometer to check doneness rather than relying on time. Stop cooking at 140°F.

  • Baste the ham with pan juices every hour for maximum moisture.

  • Add more broth or water if liquid evaporates too quickly.

  • Let the ham rest at least 10-15 minutes before slicing for juiciness.

  • Carve across the grain for more tender slices.

  • Store leftovers in broth or glaze to prevent drying out. Reheat gently.

Alternative Flavor Ideas Beyond a Sweet Glaze

While a sweet glaze is traditional, Smithfield ham holds up well to other flavor profiles too. Consider cooking it in:

  • Pineapple juice – the classic! Sweet with a hint of tangy fruitiness.

  • Apple cider – for a fall flavors. Toss in cinnamon sticks or cloves.

  • Beer or Dr. Pepper – the carbonation amps up the tenderizing effect.

  • Wine or bourbon – choose flavors that complement the ham’s smokiness.

  • Coffee – strong brewed coffee makes a fabulous cooking liquid.

  • Tea – try an herbal tea like rosemary or mint.

  • Broth – chicken or ham broth work nicely for a savory ham.

So feel free to get creative with your crock pot ham! The slow cooking process allows it to take on big, bold flavors.

Ideas for Using Leftover Smithfield Ham

Like most hams, a Smithfield ham can provide leftovers for days. Here are some delicious ways to use them up:

  • Breakfast recipes like ham and cheese omelets or biscuits and ham gravy

  • Hearty dinner salads topped with diced ham

  • Sandwiches like ham and swiss paninis or ham salad wraps

  • Soups such as split pea and ham or ham and bean

  • Casseroles like ham and potato gratin or ham and rice

  • Snacks like ham roll ups with pickle and cream cheese

  • Frittatas, crustless quiches, and stratas

  • Pastas featuring ham like spaghetti carbonara or ravioli

  • Stir fry dishes with ham and veggies

  • Flatbreads or pizza topped with ham

  • Quiche, egg bakes, or stratas

  • Cuban sandwiches with ham, roast pork, Swiss, and pickles

So put those leftovers to good use in some fun new ways! Smithfield ham adds delicious smoky flavor to many dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Crock Pot Smithfield Ham

Q: Is it okay to cook a Smithfield ham from frozen?

A: For food safety, it’s best to thaw ham in the refrigerator before cooking. But if needed in a pinch, you can start with a frozen ham in the crock pot. Just be sure to increase cook time.

Q: How long does a Smithfield ham last in the fridge after cooking?

A: Cooked ham will last 3-4 days refrigerated. Store sliced ham in broth or glaze to prevent drying out. For longer storage, freeze ham for 2-3 months.

Q: My ham won’t fit in my crock pot. What should I do?

A: Try trimming off a small portion of the ham to make it fit. Or stack up the sides with foil to seal the cooker. Adding liquid is still important.

Q: Can I use a smoked Smithfield ham?

A: Yes, smoked Smithfield ham works beautifully in the crockpot! Its smoky flavor will only intensify.

Q: Do I need to boil the ham first before cooking it in the crock pot?

A: Nope, no pre-boiling required! Simply prepare and add to your slow cooker as directed. The long cook time makes it tender.

Q: How do I know when my Smithfield ham is done cooking in the crock pot?

A: Use a meat thermometer to test for 140°F at thickest part. Also check that meat is fork tender. Avoid overcooking or ham will be dry.

For Delicious Smithfield Ham, Turn to Your Crock Pot

There’s no better way to cook up a Smithfield ham than by letting your crock pot do all the work. The moist, low heat environment allows the flavors to develop slowly over time. Just set it and forget it! Then you’ll be rewarded with incredibly tender and juicy ham that makes for an easy and impressive meal any time of year.

An Easy Way To Cook Ham In A Slow Cooker

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