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Boneless Leg Ham

Not everyone knows that there are actually two kinds of ham. There’s a bone-in ham and there is also a boneless leg ham. As the name suggests, bone-in ham is a big chunk of ham with the bone inside it. On the other hand, a boneless leg ham is a large leg ham without any bone in it.

What’s the difference? Why would anyone want the trouble of cutting ham made extra difficult by having to navigate around the bone inside it? Remember that if your knife is too sharp or you put too much pressure cutting a bone-in ham, you risk breaking off parts of the bone and someone might accidentally swallow these sharp splinters.

Meat experts believe that bone-in hams are more flavorful. They believe that the meat close to the bone is tasty. The argument against boneless leg ham is that it is less desirable because a boneless leg ham is made from pieces of ham put together by a machine. The advantage of a boneless leg ham is that it is easier to slice. Another advantage of a boneless leg ham is that it has more meat compared to a bone-in ham of the same size or weight. The bone in a bone-in ham takes up space, and unless you plan to use it later for broth or soup, why have a bone when it could have been meat?

This is why a boneless leg ham is highly recommended for a party or gathering. There are more meat for guests and the one who paid for it got his/her money’s worth.

Boneless Leg Ham Trivia

  • People during the 15th century started referring to the pork from the pig’s hind leg as ham.
  • An epicure – one with sensitive and discriminating tastes especially in food – will go to the extent of observing which hind leg the pig uses to scratch itself, and then buys the one it seldom uses because the leg used for scratching will have tougher meat.

Boneless Leg Ham Buying Guide

Where to buy a boneless leg ham? Your first stop should be the supermarket or grocery. If it is not available there, look for specialty stores, butcher shops, or delicatessen selling hams. Your last option is ordering online. Ordering online is convenient, but buying from the store is still better because you can inspect the product before you pay for it.

An entire boneless leg ham is big, around 7.5 pounds, so make sure that if you are buying this, there are enough people to eat it and the leftovers too. Otherwise, buy just enough boneless leg ham so that you don’t end up with leftovers you will eventually throw away over time. It is important not to be wasteful when it comes to the food we buy.

If this is your first time buying boneless leg ham and you don’t know which brand to buy, ask friends for recommendations or read online reviews.

Check the expiration date or best-before date. If you are planning to put the boneless leg ham in storage first and cook/consume it on a later day, it is good to know how long the boneless leg ham will remain safe to cook and eat.

Check the packaging for signs of tampering or product safety issues. The safety and quality of the product may have been compromised during transport and handling. In any case, do not buy boneless leg ham with damaged packaging. Report this to the store attendant so that it is checked, and if necessary, removed from the freezer or shelf to avoid having customers less attentive to details buy it.

Boneless Leg Ham Production & Farming in Texas

A boneless leg ham is made by mechanically combining and molding cut meat to produce a whole ham without any bone. This is subjected to either wet curing or dry curing. Wet curing is done using a curing solution. The meat is either submerged in the solution or is injected with it. Wet curing requires the use of brine, which is usually a mix of salt and water. To add flavor, others add sugar, thyme, rosemary, or garlic, depending on the flavor they want to achieve. Dry curing is a method that requires the use of salt and other non-liquid curing ingredients like sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. Dry curing can take as long as 30 days for larger boneless leg ham.

Another component of making ham is smoking. The primary goal of smoking is to infuse smoky flavor into the meat. Some hams are smoked, while there are hams that did not undergo smoking. Smoking requires the use of a kiln or smoker or a smokehouse. The smoky flavor of the ham depends on what kind of wood was used during smoking. It could be oak, hickory, maple, or other types of wood ideal for smoking. 

Many established commercial ham-producing businesses in Texas sell boneless leg ham, and because of the pork production in the state, many boneless leg ham sold here are locally produced. Kreuz Market, in Lockhart, sells the slow-cooked boneless pit ham flavored by the signature Schmidt family seasoning. There’s also Prasek’s Family Smokehouse selling smoked boneless ham, located in El Campo and Sealy. For a boneless, fully-cooked ham ready for hungry guests, contact New Braunfels Smokehouse located in New Braunfels, Texas. Even local supermarket H-E-B sells boneless hams. Here are other sources of boneless leg ham (and there’s more in Texas if you ask around) – Woody’s Smokehouse in Centerville, EDES custom meats in Amarillo, and Bear Creek Smokehouse in Marshall, to name a few.

Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:

Preservatives such as sodium nitrite (E-250) and sodium nitrate (E-252) are used in dry-curing ham. Nitrates and nitrites protect consumers from botulism. It is also used to make the meat appear redder, as well as to improve the aroma of the ham. However, the danger posed by these inorganic compounds found in ham is the potential to cause cancer.

Other additives include the antioxidant sodium ascorbate (E-301), which is used to reduce the adverse effects produced by preservatives, and the acidulants trisodium citrate (E-331-iii), which is used to regulate the meat’s pH (acidity) and reinforce the role of antioxidants.

Geography

There is no clear history to attribute where the first boneless leg ham was made. Boneless leg ham is made and sold in many parts of the world although it is difficult to find boneless leg ham in places where the majority does not eat pork. Because of e-commerce, ordering boneless leg ham is possible, making this product available to anyone in the world. 

Packaging:

Boneless leg ham is sold in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging. It is also common to buy boneless leg ham wrapped in butcher paper or a stockinette. The label is important in the packaging of the boneless leg ham. It indicates what preservatives or additives are present in the food. It also contains other important information like the name of the manufacturer, best before date, etc.

Enjoying Boneless Leg Hams

Slices of boneless leg ham are cooked meat, so you can eat it already. Boneless leg ham is delicious and versatile. Use slices of boneless leg ham to make a ham sandwich or grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

You can eat it alongside sides like rice, bread, corn, etc. You can use cut slices of boneless leg ham as filling for tacos or quesadillas, or as a topping for arepas or pizzas. You can use it as an ingredient when making meat pies. You can use it as a meat ingredient for any pasta dish.

You can use boneless leg ham for occasions where ham is traditionally on the table, like Christmas.

Because of the carcinogenic nature of ham preservatives used in curing, eating hams in excess can cause cancer.

Storage:

Make sure that the temperature where the boneless leg ham is stored is not in the 40°F and 140°F range because this is the temperature where bacteria grows quickly. You can store fresh ham and cured ham in the refrigerator. How long it will keep depends on what type of ham it is, and how fresh the ham was when you bought it, as well as other factors. Leftover ham should be refrigerated immediately. Wrap it in butcher paper. If you are not cooking ham in the next four days, it is best to put it in the freezer. For more specific instructions, refer to the details below:

  • Uncooked ham will keep in the refrigerator for 7 days or until the best-before date. In the freezer, this will keep for 3 to 4 months. Uncooked ham that you’ve already cooked will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator and 1-2 months in the freezer.
  • For unopened fully-cooked vacuum-sealed at the plant, this will keep in the refrigerator until the expiration date. In the freezer, this will keep for 2 months. If opened, this will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days and 1-2 months in the freezer.
  • For fully-cooked store-wrapped ham, refrigerate for no more than 7 days, while half ham and ham slices will keep for 5 days max. All three types will keep for 1-2 months in the freezer.

Make your own glazed boneless leg ham

Improve the taste of a plain, store-bought frozen boneless leg ham by adding a glaze. The ingredients used in making a glaze guarantee that the flavor of the boneless leg ham will dramatically improve. This is recommended especially if you plan to eat the ham as it is, and not as an ingredient of a dish.

Yield: 

This boneless leg ham serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless ham, which is between 5 to 6 pounds
  • 1 cup water

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch salt 

Method

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2. Remove the ham from the packaging. Make sure the entire packaging is removed. If there is any plastic sticking to the ham, the oven will burn it and render the ham unpalatable, possibly even inedible because the burnt plastic is toxic.

Step 3. Put the ham on the dish, and then put the water on the dish as well.

Step 4. Cover the dish with aluminum. If you have an oven-safe lid big enough to cover the dish, that will do as well.

Step 5. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

Step 6. Prepare the glaze. Mix the rest of the ingredients.

Step 7. Pull the ham out of the oven. Remove the water and brush the glaze on the ham. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Apply glaze and repeat until all the glaze you prepared has been applied to the ham.

Step 8. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 290 15%
  • Carbs: 0g 0%
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 38.1g 76%
  • Fat: 14.2g 22%
  • Saturated Fat: 4.9g 25%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 124mg 41%
  • Sodium 86.4mg 4%
  • Vitamin C 0.5mg 1%
  • Vitamin A 10.8IU 0%
  • Calcium 9.5mg 1%
  • Iron 1.5mg 8%
  • Potassium 486mg 14%
  • Vitamin E 0.4mg 2%
  • Vitamin B6 0.6mg 31%
  • Vitamin B12 1mcg 16%
  • Folate 8.1mcg 2%
  • Magnesium 33.7mg 8%
  • Phosphorus 375mg 38%
  • Manganese 0mg 2%
  • Copper 0.1mg 7%
  • Zinc 4.7mg 31%

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