What Is Ham Steak And How Is It Served?

When most people picture ham, they likely think of a massive leg of pork that is glazed and spiral-cut. Or maybe what springs to mind is slices of deli meat shaved razor thin, but ham is so much more. The world over, dry-cured and often thinly-sliced ham is a prized delicacy that often fetches a pretty penny, be it Spain's jamón ibérico, Italy's prosciutto di Parma, or even American-made country ham. There are also wet-cured — or brined — hams, as well as those that are smoked in addition to being cured.

An overlooked method for serving ham is as a steak. Ham steak is a versatile and delicious cut of pork that is perfect for those who crave the flavor of ham but don't want to commit to the whole thing. It's a thick slice of meat cut from the center of the pork leg, and is typically around an inch thick.Unlike a whole ham, which can weigh anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds, ham steak is a smaller portion that is perfect for a quick and easy meal. It is also much easier to prepare, taking just a few minutes to cook in a pan or on a grill.

Ham vs. ham steak

Ham is a type of cured meat that is made from the hind leg of a pig. The process of making ham typically involves curing the meat with a combination of salt, sugar, and other spices. The meat is then left to age, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. This process not only helps to preserve the meat but also infuses it with flavor. Ham may also be smoked at some point for added flavor and preservation.

For a ham steak, the process is the same, but after the whole ham is finished, it is thickly sliced with a portion of the leg bone remaining in the center. While dry-cured or country hams are sometimes used to make ham steaks, more commonly seen are wet-cured or brined ham steaks. Because of the curing process and any smoking done, ham steaks are considered fully cooked straight from the package. Despite this, there are numerous ways to prepare ham steak that are relatively simple and delicious.

How to cook ham steak

Like any other beef or pork steak, ham steak lends itself to grilling and pan-frying. For grilling, start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the ham steak with a glaze of your choice, such as a mixture of orange juice, bourbon, and dark brown sugar. Place the ham steak on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side until it is nicely browned and just heated through.

If you prefer to pan-fry your ham steak, start by heating a bit of oil in a sturdy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham steak and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until it is browned and heated through. You can also add a glaze or sauce to the pan during cooking, such as a mixture of cognac, honey, apple cider, and whole-grain mustard. If you are short on time or not inclined to whip up a homemade sauce or glaze, any number of bottled condiments can be used in their stead, such as a BBQ sauce or a fruit chutney.