Ham cooked in a lard can.

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Went to picnic this last weekend and the meat served was a ham cooked in a lard can. No one could give me specifics but did say a quilt was involved! Has anyone prepared a ham this way? By the way, the ham was great.

-- Joan (egavasnok@email.com), August 12, 2001


Joan, I haven't used a lard can but we teach the boys how to cook in small garbage cans, the 15 and 20 gal metal ones. You can do it either of two ways. The first is to drive two metal stakes in the ground and stretch a wire between them to suspend the ham or turkey on, then put a pile of charcoal around the stakes, place four small stones around the edges so air can get in and then place an open can over the meat, stakes and charcoal. It takes about an hour and a half. The second way is to set the garbage can upright, place a wire to suspend the meat on across the diameter of the can, put the meat on the wire then place the lid on the can. Start a pile of charcoal on the ground once it has come to heat put enough in another spot on the ground to sit the garbage can on then place the rest on top of the can (enough to cover the top). This, also, takes about an hour. the first way is like a portable smoker and the second is like a dutch oven. We, also, teach them how to build a portable oven to cook bisquits, pizza or cake in out of cardboard and aluminum foil. hope you enjoy the ham and turkey. Gary in AL

-- Gary in AL (rgmattox@yahoo.com), August 12, 2001.

Sorry, I forgot to say that the boys we're teaching are Boy Scouts, you know the new bad guys. Also, this way you won't ruin a perfectly good quilt. Gary in AL

-- Gary in AL (rgmattox@yahoo.com), August 12, 2001.

Yes Joan, I have cooked ham that way and it does involve a quilt.LOL Many years ago large commericial type stock pots weren't readily available in many homes. So a lard can was the next best choice for cooking whole hams. I am assuming you want the recipe, so here it is:

Take a whole country ham. (Remove the paper and stockinette if you bought it in a store) Wash and scrub the ham well in cool water to remove any mold. Be sure to inspect it to be sure, it doesn't have any rotted spots on it. If I find any I return the ham but some people just cut it out and go on. You will be able to tell by the smell. It should have a wonderful "ham" smell. Put the ham in the lard can and cover with water. Boil 8 minutes per pound ( making sure the ham is always submerged in water.) At this point, remove the ham from the stove put lid on. Wrap the entire can in an old quilt or blanket. This allows the ham to continue cooking at a really low temp. Leave covered overnight and no peaking. LOL I have left it covered like 18 hours but 12 should do it.Next day, carefully remove the quilt and lid. I usually do this outside on a porch. The ham may still be pretty warm. Drain off all the liquid and place in a large roasting pan. Make a mixture of 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 tablespoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Coat the ham with this mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees til brown. You can change the spices if you like as some don't care for cloves. When brown, remove from oven and allow to cool for about an hour. Carve into really thin slices and serve on hot biscuits. If you live here in the mid -south, Clifty Farms is a good brand, also Cook Creek.I used to cook these a lot when I catered weddings and they are a mainstay at any holiday or special event here in Kentucky. Enjoy..

-- Ria in Ky (MinMin45@aol.com), August 13, 2001.

A lard stand can also be used to make a four course meal to serve 15 to 20. Put a wire rack in the bottom, stack ears of corn in the shuck with only the ends chopped off to eliminate any with worms, layer potatoes on top of the corn, layer whole small/medium onions on the potatoes, then top with browned off sausage or ham chunks. Fill halfway with water. Punch one hole in the center of the lid and put it on top of the lard stand and set the whole thing over your heat source ( I use a propane fish fry stand, but I have done it on a fire too) When the steam comes out the lid hole , let it cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. When its done all the veggies are steam and soaked in the meat juices and whoever eats the most corn does the most shucking and silk pulling from their teeth if the don't shuck too well :>) I like to call this my "poor boys' pressure cooker. Also, I found it wise to keep a big gargage can close for the shucking with a vegetable brush in a butter tub for the folks that don't like pulling silk from their teeth.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 13, 2001.

Forgot to add, the butter tub is filled with water for cleaning the brush.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 13, 2001.

Oh, by the way, I no longer use a lard can just a big old stock pot and I never could do such with my treasured quilts so I use an old acrylic blanket that my hubby keeps in the trunk of his car. It's like the story of the young women asking themselves why they needed to cut the ends off of a ham before cooking it. After asking Grandma, she said, "so it could fit in the roaster". LOL We sometimes learn how to do things the old way only to find out that the method is purely logic and common sense.

-- Ria in Ky (MinMin45@aol.com), August 15, 2001.

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