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HOW TO CARVE A HAM

KNOWING THE RULES OF A FINE ART

Whole ham on the bone

HAND-SLICING WITH A KNIFE

WHAT YOU NEED

  • a special carving stand to hold it steady
  • a sturdy short-bladed knife for removing the rind
  • a carving knife, with a long, thin blade
  • a carving fork

Use the short knife to remove the rind, the “stucco” and the haunch bone. It is important to remove only as much rind as is strictly necessary, so that the remaining product will be preserved better. More of the rind can then be removed each time you start carving the ham again (progressive removal). Secure the ham into the carving stand, positioning it with the part from which you have already removed the rind upwards. Start carving, always using both hands, one to grasp the carving knife and the other the carving fork. This will enable you to balance your body correctly while carving. The movement of the cut must proceed from right to left (or in the opposite direction for the left-handed), applying a slight “sawing” movement and engaging the whole length of the knife blade, taking care not to press too hard. The thickness of the slices can vary depending on individual tastes. Continue carving until you reach the ham bone, removing the rind and stucco progressively. Once you reach the bone, turn the ham over so that the leaner side is facing upwards, secure it onto the stand again, then continue carving on this side.

MACHINE SLICING

WHAT YOU NEED

  • a hand or electric slicer
  • a sturdy short-bladed knife for removing the rind.

Use the short knife to remove the rind, the stucco and the haunch bone. If you wish, you can remove the trotter at this stage. If this proves difficult, you should enlist the help of your butcher. Position the ham on the slicer with the part from which the rind has already been removed against the blade and start to slice. Continue until you reach the head of the femur. Use a knife to cut away the flesh from around the bone, moving up as far as the head of the femur, so that you can remove the femur. Turn the ham round to the butt end and, after removing the rind and “stucco” on this end, resume slicing. When only the shank is left, remove the inner bone.

Whole deboned ham

MACHINE SLICING

WHAT YOU NEED

  • a hand or electric slicer
  • a sturdy short-bladed knife for removing the rind

After removing the ham from its vacuum pack, dry it (using paper or a clean cloth) to eliminate the thin greasy film from the surface. Remove the rind from the “fiocco”, which is the leanest and driest part, only in the area intended to be sliced. At this stage it is important not to remove too much of the fat below the rind. This is because in addition to protecting the ham, the fat enhances the way in which the typical flavours and aromas of San Daniele ham are released. Position the ham on the slicer in such a way that the fat surrounding the flesh is uppermost, while the pinkish-red muscle rests on the plate of the slicer. Start cutting. Each time the blade of the slicer reaches the part covered with rind, repeat the process. Slice the whole “fiocco”, then turn the ham round (back to front) and resume cutting from the butt end. The part covered by the surrounding fat must always face uppermost. It is advisable to machine-slice ham after cooling it for a suitable time, so as to make it easier for the slicer to cut the slices sharply.

Ham in sections

hand-slicing with a knife

WHAT YOU NEED

  • a cutting board
  • a sturdy short-bladed knife for removing the rind

After removing the section of ham from its vacuum pack, dry it with paper or a clean cloth in order to remove the thin greasy film from the surface. Remove the rind only in the area intended to be sliced and without removing too much of the fat underneath the rind.

Position the section of ham on the cutting board, always making sure that the part with the fat covering the flesh is facing uppermost and start carving. The thickness of the slices can vary depending on individual tastes. Follow the procedure described for whole deboned ham.

MACHINE SLICING

WHAT YOU NEED

  • a hand or electric slicer
  • a sturdy short-bladed knife for removing the rind

After removing the section of ham from its vacuum pack, dry it with paper or a clean cloth in order to remove the thin greasy film from the surface. Remove the rind. If it is a de-boned ham cut lengthwise, remove the rind from the butt end. If the sections are normal sections, remove the rind from the broadest part. This will mean that you can cut larger and more uniform slices. Position the section on the slicer, so that the part with the fat surrounding the flesh faces uppermost while the pinkish-red part is resting on the plate of the slicer. Start slicing.