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The Best Hams to Cook for Your Holiday Feast

The holidays are upon us and that means we can count on at least two overly gluttonous meals in back-to-back months. Whether it’s a turkey for Thanksgiving or a rib roast for Christmas, there always seems to be an accompanying ham. Sure, that seems like overkill, but as long as we’re not cooking it we’re not complaining.

If mom’s ham was a little dry last year, we’ve done a rundown of the best holiday hams that you can casually suggest for this year’s feast.

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Fermin Acorn-Fed Iberico Shoulder Ham

This is the Lamborghini of hams, and you can tell by the price tag. Fermin’s Iberico ham (or jamon as they call it) from the Sierra de Francia region of Spain, is among the best and most uniquely flavored hams you’ll find in the world. The company’s Iberico pigs are exclusive to Spain and get treated better than wagyu beef. They live a happy, free-range life dining on acorns in oak-covered meadows, giving the meat its buttery/nutty flavor. Once they are selected for the jamon, they go through a meticulous curing and aging process that has been perfected for over sixty years. When it’s all said and done, the Fermin ham-master puts each piece through a rigorous tasting process to see if it meets the standards.

Benton’s Country Ham

If you’ve been through the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Benton’s smokehouse. Famous for its hams and bacon for over seventy years, people travel a long way just to pick up some of the brand’s country cured meats. Fortunately for the rest of us, you can also get it online. Don’t forget to freeze that ham bone to make some top-notch black-eyed peas on New Years Day (it’s a Southern tradition if you weren’t aware).

Tender Belly Spiral Cut Uncured Holiday Ham

Southerners aren’t the only ones that know how to make a good ham. Tender Belly, out of Denver, is known for its love and devotion to pork. In fact, its slogan is; “If loving pork is crazy, we don’t want to be sane.” You’d be crazy not to try their uncured holiday ham from heritage-breed pigs. They use 100% natural pork without any antibiotics, nitrates or nitrites, gluten, or MSG. Bottom line — zero fake stuff. This is so moist, it’s almost better re-heated. The good news is, once you try it and become hooked, you can get a ham subscription on the website.

Snake River Farms Kurobuta Whole Bone-in Ham

Snake River Farm ham
Snake River Farm

Just one look at the picture-perfect coloring and marbling on its Kurobuta Ham and you’ll understand why Snake River Farms products are used in Michelin-star kitchens all over the globe. Made from heritage-breed Berkshire pigs, Snake River Farms’ ham is known for flavor so naturally delectable that it hardly even needs a pinch of salt. For the Easter holiday, pick up the Kurobuta Ham Starter Kit, which includes a bone-in, 8-plus-pound ham, a Snake River Farms apron, and a step-by-step guide for cooking a whole bone-in ham, which ranges from 14 pounds up to around 20 pounds.

Hickory Farms HoneyGold Spiral Sliced Ham

Hickory Farms

Hickory Farms needs no introduction. The company has been synonymous with tasty holiday meats for over 65 years. Sausage may come to mind at first, but don’t overlook the brand’s delicious hams for the holidays. The company’s HoneyGold ham is slow cured with a dash of honey for that signature succulent sweetness. It comes fully cooked and spiral sliced, so just pop it in the oven with the included glaze mix and it’s perfect to throw on a roll for a hearty holiday sandwich or for scooping up creamy mash at your holiday dinner table.

The Honey Baked Ham Company Bone-In Half

Honey Baked Ham - Bone-In Half
Honey Baked Ham

Honey glazed ham has become a phrase synonymous with the holidays. If you live in the U.S., you might think that all hams are honey glazed. This is not the case, obviously, but thanks to Honey Baked Ham’s delicious hams and excellent marketing they have become a household name. The fully cooked, spiral-sliced hams are roasted over hardwood chips for over 20 hours before being topped off with the irresistible crispy, syrupy glaze that helped them become a household name. The half-ham is available in 6- to 10-pound sizes that can serve up to 22 people, so everyone can indulge no matter the size of your holiday gathering.

D’Artagnan Berkshire Pork Bone-In Smoked Ham

If you’re looking to inject some Applewood-smoked deliciousness into your holiday feast, long-time gourmet meat specialist D’Artagnan has you covered. The Berkshire hogs used for the company’s beautiful hams are raised humanely and sustainably, with no antibiotics or hormones, so the meat you get is as clean as it is delicious. Before it reaches your holiday table, this ham gets smoked over real Applewood and topped off with the perfect elevating hit of salt and brown sugar. The result is a tender, hearty main course with just enough sweet smokiness to bring out the meat’s natural succulent flavor.

Edwards Virginia Smokehouse Boneless Petite Ham

Cooked, Boneless Petite Country Ham
Edwards Virginia Smokehouse

Curing meats is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. So we trust that third-generation cure-master Sam Edwards III knows his stuff. Edwards Virginia Smokehouse hams are dry-cured and aged for a minimum of 90 days. The brand’s country ham is the perfect size for a small family. Rubbed with salt, brown sugar, and black pepper, this ham has the perfect amount of seasoning on the outside, which combines with the full flavor of country ham for a more savory main course than you might find with a honey-baked ham. While it is only 2-3 pounds, the ham will still serve up to 20 people.

Logan Farms Honey Glazed Ham

If you’re watching your sodium intake this holiday season, Logan Farms Honey Glazed Ham is the way to go. The company has the best low-sodium hams on the market. The low-salt curing recipe, plus a delicious crispy glaze makes this ham perfect for any holiday occasion. You can order directly online from one of their multiple locations, so pick the one closest to you to get the lowest shipping costs. If you have a smaller gathering, the brand also offers half-hams.

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