Ah, so! Scrub that sucker with a stiff brush and
get most of the crud, mold and assorted mouse droppings off. Then go
to the basement and get the meat saw, surely you have a meat saw! It
should be about 70 years old with the patina only age and a certain
amount of salt and other chemicals can produce, it was once sharp.
Cut about 5-7 inches from the small end of the ham, so the lid on
the stockpot will go back on. (there is the germ of another story
there), Cover with water, (contrary to some notions, the water does
not need to dipped from a spring in the hills of WV or VA, nor does
it have to be Holy Water, although those things may marginally
improve the texture and allow the slices to be thinner,) That always
being good when one's brother-in-law is at the table, the stock pop
should also contain several medium sized potatoes and carrots to
absorb the excess salt of the ham!
Turn the heat up to get the water hot, (if using a wood stove, as
one is really supposed to do, just open the dampers a smidgin)!
Allow the ham to simmer 5-7 hours depending on the size of the ham.
Allow the ham to cool enough to handle and remove the skin at least
1/4 to 1/2 of fat to remain.
Now comes the art, with a sharp knife score the fat not quite to the
lean in a diamond pattern. Put a stick clove in each intersection.
Stick a few maraschino cherries and pineapples here and there,
sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 for about 4 hours. Now comes
the good part!
Use the sharpest knife you got. Cut down to the bone near the small
end several slices and then try to remove them, (the slices), as
neatly as possible, from here you're home free for a while, cut the
slices as thin as possible, (you can serve folks more than one
slice), even the brother in law!
Note: There as some clumsy folks who in their eagerness to get at
the ham just slice them longitudinally, brothers in law do such
We drove up on Muddy Creek Mountain an hour or
so ago to check on a friend. FOGGY really foggy, but the friend was
okay. Came home and Pearl decided it was time for us to start the
Ham. I had it hanging in the downstairs (Basement to some, but since
its nearly all above ground, I prefer downstairs), a second trip to
get the stock Pot and the saw. After scrubbing all the grit and
grime off, time to cut the shank off so it would fit in the stock
pot. The 2 or 3 year old, shiny stainless 24 inch meat saw was given
to us a few years by our youngest, I seem to recall he had borrowed
the old one to use in cutting up a deer ago and couldn't find it at
Xmas when we needed it. He just bought a new one as impulsive kids
do, then he found our old one and brought it here for us to store
like everything else he doesn't want to fool with.
The new saw would not cut the bone on the shank of the Country ham,
even with both of us holding the ham on the counter, too sharp and
the teeth grabbed. I finally, in exasperation, got Pearls lifting
contraption and managed to get the old saw from the nail in the
stairway from which I had hung it, expecting it to remain there for
eternity alongside the Coffee grinders and Butter molds. At least it
cut when I finally got it.
Pearl had decide to fill the stock pot in the sink, completely
forgetting anything about Archimedes and displacement. Thankfully I
stopped her before the pot was full to the brim, the mess on the
floor wasn't too hard to sop up. So now the Ham and the two potatoes
and the carrots are merrily simmering away on the stove.
Unfortunately I had already thrown away the label that gave the
weight, so we had to guess!
Just another day in Paradise!