You may be wondering why I am posting a ham recipe AFTER the holidays… We make ham year round in our house because… well, my family absolutely loves it and it enables us to have so many awesome options for quick meals with the leftovers. You might also be a little skeptical about throwing a ham in the crock pot but let me tell you, after you do it this way, you will never put it in the oven again! The ham is so tender; it falls apart and is so full of flavor .You will want to eat the entire thing yourself. Try to control yourself because you are in for some wonderful leftovers…
1 Bone-in Ham
Here’s a little lesson on ham…At a regular grocery store, you will most likely have the option of a “Butt End/Portion” (the upper portion of the leg) or a “Shank End/Portion” (the lower portion of the leg). The “Butt ” cut generally has more meat than the “Shank ” cut, but also contains more fat and bone. The “Shank ” cut only has one large bone so it is a great choice if you will be carving your ham. We won’t be doing much carving folks; it’s going to be falling apart on its own. If you are curious what the difference between the “End” and the “Portion” cuts are, I will enlighten you. Have you ever bought the “Center Ham Slices” from the store? They are more like a ham steak, usually less than 1” thick. This is the prime cut from the ham that is sliced from between the “Butt” and the “Shank” portions of the ham. If you buy a ham labeled “Butt or Shank End,” you are buying a ham that still has that center slice attached. If you buy the “Butt or Shank Portion,” that center slice has been removed.
As far as our ham goes, I recommend the “Butt Portion” as our goal for this recipe in the crock pot is to find the shortest ham you can. We are good with bones and fat in a crock pot recipe because they are going to give us a ton of flavor. Also a note on spirals… they will work just fine but tend to dry out a little more and don’t give you the delicious hunks of shredded ham. You will just have a whole lot of tiny little pieces. Whew! Let’s move on!
3 cups light brown sugar (I never measure, so this is just an approximate amount).
Replace lid. If your ham is too tall to fit the lid on top, cover with a few pieces of foil. Try to get as tight a seal as possible.
Cook over high heat for 6-7 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours.
You know the ham is done when you can poke in a fork and easily shred the ham. The hams are already pre-cooked before they are packaged so if you happen to run short on time and have to pull it out before it starts falling apart, it will still be ok to eat.
Remove from crock pot and serve in chunks.
Don’t worry about cleaning off the bone too much because you can save the bone and scraps for a split pea and ham soup or ham and navy bean soup.
I usually save some of the ham chunks for leftovers and sandwiches but the rest I cube up and freeze for convenient additions to other meals. Use a handful for omelets, breakfast burritos, biscuits and ham gravy, baked macaroni and cheese with ham, etc. This is primarily why I make ham year-round. I love the convenience of having it in the freezer for go-to meals.
Stay tuned as I will be using some of my left-overs in other recipes.