Steamship Ham: The Majestic Cut of Meat Steeped in Tradition

Imagine an impressive 20-30 pound cured ham served as the crowning glory of a holiday feast. The exposed ham bone spirals up like a stately ship’s mast, beckoning guests to carve into the tender meat. I’m describing the regal steamship ham, a time-honored showstopper perfect for momentous occasions.

This uniquely shaped cut of pork deserves its grandiose moniker In this article, we’ll explore what exactly steamship ham is, how it’s made, why it looks so distinct, and tips for cooking up these meaty masterpieces. All aboard for a journey into the world of steamship hams!

What is Steamship Ham?

Steamship ham refers to an extra large, bone-in cured and smoked ham shank. It gets its name from its signature shape – the exposed femur bone resembles a ship’s smokestack.

These hams range from 18-30 pounds and come from the hind leg of a hog. They are brined, smoked, and aged over time. The curing process transforms the fresh pork leg into a delicious ham bursting with flavor.

The Anatomy of a Steamship Ham

Steamship hams have a few anatomical elements that set them apart:

  • Exposed shank bone – The femur bone is left uncovered and frenched (cleaned of meat and fat). This creates the signature “mast” look.

  • Full leg – Contains the hip, thigh, and shank portions. Provides lots of meat.

  • Hearty size – Typically 20-30 lbs. Big enough to serve a crowd!

  • Teardrop shape – Wider at the top tapering down to the shank. Easier to carve.

  • Thick fat cap – A layer of fat helps keep the ham juicy.

  • Dark mahogany color – From hours of smoking over wood.

The Origins and Significance of Steamship Hams

References to steamship hams can be traced back centuries to Europe. The butchering process used enabled the whole ham to be cured and smoked with the bone intact.

During the 1800-1900s, larger hams became popular holiday centerpieces, like at Christmas feasts. The name “steamship” is said to have emerged in the 1920s when grand ocean liners evoked imagery of size and majesty.

Today, steamship hams are still considered special-occasion delicacies perfect for momentous gatherings like:

  • Christmas dinner
  • Easter Sunday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Weddings
  • Milestone birthdays
  • Anniversaries

Whole steamship hams impress guests with their enormity. They allow the host to carve up generous slices right at the table. Nothing says “feast” like a mammoth steamship ham!

Step-By-Step: How Steamship Hams Are Made

Creating these colossal cured hams is a time-honored process:

1. Selecting the hog legs – Legs between 18-30 lbs work best to yield ideal steamship cuts.

2. Removing the skin – The rind is taken off to allow seasoning penetration.

3. Trimming and boning – Excess fat and smaller bones are trimmed away. The main shank bone is left exposed.

4. Curing in a brine – The legs soak for days in a wet brine containing salt, sugar, spices and nitrites.

5. Smoking the ham – After curing, the hams are smoked over wood chips for 10-14 hours typically. This both cooks and flavors the meat.

6. Aging and drying – Hams are aged in climate-controlled rooms, developing texture and taste over weeks or months.

7. Packaging – Finally, the hams are vacuum-sealed to preserve freshness.

It’s remarkable how this age-old process transforms a simple hog leg into a magnificent steamship ham.

How to Cook a Steamship Ham

Be sure to allot ample time when tackling a steamship ham. A general guideline is 15-20 minutes per pound at 325°F. So a 20-lb ham may take 5-6 hours roasted in the oven.

Tips for cookin

How To Cook Full Steamship of Ham | Camp Chef


How to cook a steamship ham?

SMOKED STEAMSHIP STYLE ROAST Place ham fat-side up in roasting pan. Pour 1 cup water into bottom of pan; cover tightly with foil. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours until internal temperature reaches 130°F. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, 30 minutes before serving.

What is the really salty ham called?

Country hams are dry-cured and may also be smoked. Country hams are not as common as city hams in the U.S., especially in more urban areas. Country hams can be eaten just as they are since they are preserved. They have a very salty taste and a drier texture compared to city hams.

What is the difference between ham and smoked ham?

After curing, some hams are smoked. Smoking is a process by which ham is hung in a smokehouse and allowed to absorb smoke from smoldering fires, which gives added flavor and color to meat and slows the development of rancidity.

What is steamship Ham?

The Steamship Ham is ideal for special events, holiday’s or family styled meals. It is maple cured for several days before being double cob-smoked, slow and low, for about 12 hours. This exceptionally lean, full flavored Bone-In ham is delivered fully cooked and ready to gently warm and serve.

What is a steamed ham?

Though phrased as “steamed”, a steamed ham is typically grilled, and served on a platter often containing more than a quarter dozen of the aforementioned dish and various french fries. Not to be confused with “steamed clams”, a similarly phrased dish which can often be mistaken for steamed hams. Oh, no, I said, “ steamed hams .”

How much does a steamship round weigh?

Still, even with the Rump off, a Steamship Round will weigh in between 30 and 50 pounds (13.5 to 22.5 kg.) They are used in buffets at restaurants, institutions, in armed forces canteens, and by caterers to feed large groups at events such as weddings and conventions. You have to specially order Steamship Round from a butcher.

How do you cook a steamship round?

You have to specially order Steamship Round from a butcher. The official name for this cut is: “Beef Round, Rump and Shank Partially Off, Handle On.” If a Steamship Round is around or under 40 pounds (18 kg), you shouldn’t have any difficulty cooking one in a North American sized home oven. Allow about 5 hours at 300 degrees F (150 C).

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