The Different Types of Ham

Types of Ham

With Easter right around the corner, a lot of people are wondering what kind of Ham they are going to be cooking for their Easter Feast!

So what is the difference between them different types of Ham? Check out this list of all the types of Ham there are, and what makes each of them different, and tasty!

  • Wet Cured Ham- Wet cured Ham is what you will usually find available in stores. This type of ham is created by submerging the ham in a salty brine solution or injecting the brine into the ham. Sometimes different spices or sugars are added according to the company that makes it. Wet Cured Ham is usually less salty than other hams, and are usually packaged fully or partially cooked.
  • Dry Cured Ham- In this category, the ham is rubbed all over with salt and then left to cure.The salt acts as a preservative and helps ward off bacteria. Dry-cured hams often contain sugar and other seasonings to balance the saltiness and contribute flavor. Dry cured hams are usually saltier in taste than wet cured ham.
  • Smoked Ham- A Smoked Ham refers to hams that  have been smoked. Hickory-smoked ham is the favorite, but you can also buy hams that have been smoked over pecan, apple wood, maple, cherry, oak and other hardwoods. Most Smoked Hams come fully cooked and ready to eat.
  • Country Ham-  All country hams are dry-cured, and most are smoked and un-cooked. Country Ham is extremely salty due to the preserving process. To reduce saltiness, country hams must be soaked for at least 24 hours in cool water, changing the water three or four times.
  • Spiral-Cut Ham – These fully cooked, wet-cured, smoked hams have been sliced using a special spiral slicing machine that cuts the ham in a continuous motion from top to bottom. The result is a ham that retains its full shape, though the slices can be simply removed.

Here are some of the specialty type of Hams:

  • Prosciutto -These salty hams have been dry-cured and aged but not smoked or cooked. The curing process kills any harmful bacteria, so they can be eaten without cooking. This type of ham has also been pressed, so the texture is firm, making it easy to cut into small slices.
  • Tasso – This is a  Cajun specialty Ham that  is cured, spiced heavily and then  smoked. Unlike traditional Ham, pieces of this  ham are usually taken from the shoulder. and is sold in chunks instead of whole hams. Tasso is mostly chopped and used as a seasoning in gumbo, jambalaya, stuffing, and other cajun cuisine.
  • IbericoIberico Ham is made from pigs that live in the acorn forests  in South and South West Spain.It is Wet cured and left to mature from 1-3 years!

Hams also come in different Cuts, here are they are:

  • Whole Hams- Whole Hams refers to hams that include the butt and shank cuts of the legs and usually weighs between 10-20 pounds.
  • Butt End- The Butt End of the Ham refers to the upper cut of the Hog’s hind leg. The butt end is meatier and contains more fat than the shank end of the whole ham and can be harder to carve due to the pelvic and hip bone.
  • Shank End- The Shank end of the Ham refers to the low cut of the Hog’s hind leg. It is less fatty and less meaty than the Butt End of the Ham. It is easier to carve, and is considered sweeter in taste then the Butt End of the Ham.
  • Center Ham Slice- This is also called the “Center Cut Ham Steak”. The center ham slice is cut from 1/2″-1″ thick and is sliced from the center of the ham. It is available cured or smoked, and is considered the best cut of Ham.


There you have it, the different types and cuts of Ham. Now you are ready to go cook your family an awesome Ham meal!

Check out these Ham Recipes:

Ham Butt Recipe

Slow Cooker Ham