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We understand the pressure. You have a houseful of guests who have been waiting for hours to dig in to your special feast. The pies have been baked, the side dishes prepared and the table is set with your finest silver. The centerpiece of your spread—a delicious Kentucky Legend ham—strikes instant hunger in anyone fortunate enough to be around when you open the oven.

What happens when you have a quick question or a major catastrophe? Since we know how important your ham is, we're here to help.

We've set up the Kentucky Legend Ham Headquarters to provide you with answers to all of your ham-related questions. You'll find great tips, tricks and preparation tips to save your day. If you still can't find the answer your looking for, just use the contact form below to send us your question.

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General Ham Information
Cooking or Reheating Instructions
Quantity to Purchase
USDA Facts
FAQs


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General Ham Information

"Ham" refers to the thigh and rump of any animal that is slaughtered for meat; the term usually refers to pork. Hams can be fresh, cook-before-eating, cooked, picnic, and country types. There are so many kinds, and their storage times and cooking times can be quite confusing. This background information serves to carve up the facts and make them easier to understand.

Definition:

Hams may be fresh, cured, or cured-and-smoked. Ham is the cured leg of pork. Fresh ham is an uncured leg of pork. Fresh ham will bear the term "fresh" as part of the product name and is an indication that the product is not cured. "Turkey" ham is a ready-to-eat product made from cured thigh meat of turkey. The term "turkey ham" is always followed by the statement "cured turkey thigh meat."

The usual color for cured ham is deep rose or pink; fresh ham (which is not cured) has the pale pink or beige color of a fresh pork roast; country hams and prosciutto (which are dry cured) range from pink to a mahogany color.

Hams are either ready to eat or not. Ready-to-eat hams include prosciutto and cooked hams; they can be eaten right out of the package. Fresh hams and hams that are only trichinae treated (which may include heating, freezing, or curing in the plant) must be cooked by the consumer before eating. Hams that must be cooked will bear cooking instructions and safe handling instructions.

Hams that are not ready to eat, but have the appearance of ready-to-eat products, will bear a prominent statement on the principal display panel indicating the product needs cooking, e.g., "cook thoroughly." In addition, the label must bear cooking directions.


Cooking or Reheating Instructions

Both whole or half, cooked, vacuum-packaged hams packaged in federally inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold just as they come from their packaging.

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.

Unpackaged, cooked ham is potentially contaminated with pathogens. For cooked hams that have been repackaged in any other location outside the plant or for leftover cooked ham, heat to 165 °F. One way to keep the ham from drying out when reheating in the oven is to place a pan of water in the oven to add humidity.


Quantity to Purchase

When buying a ham, estimate the size needed according to the number of servings the type of ham should yield:

1/4 - 1/3 lb. per serving of boneless ham
1/3 - 1/2 lb. of meat per serving of bone-in ham


USDA Facts

Both whole and half, cooked, vacuum-packaged hams packaged in federally inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold just as they come from their packaging.

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.

Unpackaged, cooked ham is potentially contaminated with pathogens. For cooked hams that have been repackaged in any other location outside the plant or for leftover cooked ham, heat to 165 °F. One way to keep the ham from drying out when reheating in the oven is to place a pan of water in the oven to add humidity.

Storing

Hot food can be placed directly in the refrigerator, or it can be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigerating. Cover food to retain moisture and prevent it from picking up odors from other food in the fridge, and use shallow containers for rapid cooling.
Divide a large pot of food, like soup or stew, into shallow containers before refrigerating.
A large cut of cooked meat or whole poultry should be divided into smaller pieces and wrapped separately or placed in covered, shallow containers before refrigerating.
Discard perishable food if it has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if it's above 90 °F). This includes leftovers that were mistakenly left out overnight.

Reheating

Heat leftovers to 165 °F —use a food thermometer to check!
Bring gravies and sauces to a rolling boil before serving.
Cover leftovers to reheat. This retains moisture and ensures that food will heat all the way through
In the microwave, use a lid or vented plastic, and rotate food for even heating. Beware of "cold spots"; use a food thermometer to check the temperature in several places.

Serving Food Safely

Keep Hot Food Hot & Cold Food Cold. Whether you are in your kitchen or enjoying the great outdoors, there are some food safety principles that remain constant. The first is "Keep hot food hot and cold food cold" to keep foods out of the "Danger Zone. Keep Everything Clean. It's a fact that bacteria from raw meat and poultry products can easily spread to other foods by hands, utensils, or by juices dripping from packages.

When transporting raw meat or poultry, double-wrap or place the packages in plastic bags to prevent juices from the raw product from dripping on other foods.
Always wash your hands before and after handling food, and don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
Soap and water are essential to cleanliness, so if you are going somewhere that will not have running water, bring water with you or have disposable wipes on hand.
Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Perishable food should never be left in the "Danger Zone" for more than 2 hours. This includes both hot food and cold food. If it's been more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F) - discard the food.
Be Cool: If you are traveling with cold food, bring a cooler with a cold source. It is difficult to keep food hot without a heat source when traveling, so it's best to cook food before leaving home and refrigerate and transport cold.

Buffets…Cooking for Groups

Food sitting out for extended periods of time is a recipe for potential disaster. In addition to the basics for temperature and cleanliness, follow these guidelines when cooking for and/or serving groups:

Safe Advance Prep: If you're getting ready ahead of time, be sure to cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature. (See Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart.) Divide cooked food into shallow containers to store in the refrigerator or freezer until serving. This encourages rapid, even cooling.
Reheat hot food to 165 °F and maintain at a safe temperature of 140 °F or above.
Don't risk cross-contamination: place food on clean platters. Arrange on several small platters rather than on one large platter, and keep all platters cold in the refrigerator until serving time.
Remember the "Temperature Rules": Keep hot food hot (140 °F or above) with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Cold food should be held at 40 °F or below, so keep food cold by nesting dishes in beds of ice. Or use a series of small serving trays and replace them often.
Replace empty platters — don't refill them. Discard food that has been sitting out and may have been handled by many people.
2-Hour Rule: As always, perishable food should not be left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F). Be sure to keep this in mind as the party rocks on — and when in doubt, throw it out.

Source: USDA Website
For more information about food handling safety, visit the USDA Website at www.FSIS.USDA.gov


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where can I buy Kentucky Legend Hams?

A: Check out the "Where to Buy" section of this website for information on where to buy Kentucky Legend.

Q: How much ham should I purchase to feed my group?

A: 1/4 to 1/3 pound of boneless ham per person 1/3 to 1/2 pound of bone-in ham per person.

Q: How long should I cook the ham?

A: This depends on a lot of variables, such as the type of oven, what the temperature of the ham was when you put it in the oven, how big the ham is, and the shape. But below is a partial table from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service website that gives guidelines on how long to cook a smoked ham*:

*http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/ham/#9

Q: What kinds of variables will affect the cooking time of my ham?

A: Your ham's heating time could be affected by the type of oven you have, the size and shape of the ham, the temperature the ham was when you put it in the oven, and whether or not it is covered. For best results, use a probe style cooking thermometer to ensure that the inside of the ham is 140 degrees F before serving.

Q: Should I score the ham with a knife prior to cooking?

A: Some people like to score the ham at the end of the cook cycle prior to adding a glaze to help the glaze penetrate into the ham. You can do this by running a knife across the top of the ham and covering with glaze. Then cook uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Q: How do I keep my ham from drying out when I'm reheating it in the oven?

A: Try placing a pan of water in the oven to add humidity.

Q: Do you have any hams that are low-salt?

A: At this time we do not have any hams that are low-salt.

Q: Do Kentucky Legend hams contain MSG?

A: No, Kentucky Legend hams do not contain MSG.

Q: Do you have any recipes for leftover ham?

A: Yes! Check out our recipe page here.




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