Country Ham Slices Oven Recipe: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking to add a touch of southern charm to your breakfast or brunch, country ham slices might just be the perfect ingredient. With their intense, smoky flavor and mouthwatering aroma, these slices of cured ham can turn an ordinary meal into a delectable feast. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of cooking country ham slices in the oven. From the selection process to cleaning, preparation, and cooking techniques, we’ll leave no stone unturned. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to mastering this iconic dish!

The Art of Country Ham: Understanding the Food Science

Before delving into the specifics of cooking country ham slices in the oven, let’s take a moment to appreciate the science behind this culinary delight. Country ham is a type of ham that is dry-cured and typically aged for an extended period. This curing process involves salting the meat and allowing it to air-dry for several months, resulting in its distinctive flavor and texture.

The salt used in the curing process not only preserves the meat but also enhances the flavor by drawing out moisture and infusing it with a complex, savory taste. The aging process further develops the flavor profile, creating the rich, robust notes that country ham is known for.

Selecting the Perfect Country Ham Slices

When it comes to selecting country ham slices for oven cooking, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best slices for your recipe:

  1. Quality: Look for slices that have been produced by reputable suppliers who follow stringent curing and aging processes. This ensures that you get the best-tasting ham slices with the desired texture and flavor.

  2. Thickness: The thickness of the slices can impact the cooking time and overall tenderness. Opt for slices that are around ¼ to ½ inch thick, as they will cook more evenly.

  3. Bone-In or Boneless: Country ham slices are available in both bone-in and boneless options. While bone-in slices can add extra flavor, boneless slices are easier to handle and may be preferred by those who dislike dealing with bones.

Cleaning and Preparing the Country Ham Slices

country ham slices

Once you have chosen the perfect country ham slices, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. Follow these steps to clean and prepare the ham slices:

  1. Rinsing: Rinse the slices under cold water to remove any excess salt on the surface. This step helps to balance the overall saltiness of the ham.

  2. Soaking (Optional): Soaking the slices in water overnight is a popular process to further reduce the saltiness. This step is subjective and depends on personal preference. If you enjoy the intense saltiness, you may skip this step.

  3. Drying: Pat the slices dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step ensures that the ham crisps up nicely during the cooking process.

Tips and Tricks for Oven Cooking

country ham slices

Now that the ham slices are prepped and ready, it’s time to explore the techniques and tips for cooking them to perfection in the oven. Follow these recommendations for a mouthwatering outcome:

  1. Temperature: Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C) for optimal cooking. This temperature allows the slices to cook slowly and retain their tenderness.

  2. Cooking Vessel: Choose an oven-safe dish or roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate the ham slices without overcrowding. This allows for even cooking and browning.

  3. Basting: Basting the ham slices with a glaze or marinade throughout the cooking process adds extra flavor and helps prevent the meat from drying out. Consider using a combination of brown sugar, mustard, and spices for a traditional southern glaze.

  4. Covering: Covering the ham slices with foil during the initial portion of the cooking time helps to retain moisture and prevent excessive browning. Just remember to remove the foil during the last few minutes to allow the ham to develop a desirable crust.

Checking for Doneness: A Crucial Step

oven baked country ham slices

Ensuring that your country ham slices are cooked to perfection requires proper doneness checks. Here’s how you can determine if the ham is cooked through:

  1. Internal Temperature: Insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ham slice, making sure not to touch the bone if it’s bone-in. The ham is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

  2. Texture: The ham should be firm yet tender, with a slight give when gently pressed. Overcooked ham can become dry and tough, while undercooked ham may have a chewy texture.

Recipe: Oven-Baked Country Ham Slices

oven baked country ham slices

Now that you’re well-versed in the science and techniques of cooking country ham slices, let’s dive into a detailed recipe that will bring these flavors to life. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing mouthwatering oven-baked country ham slices:


  • 4 country ham slices (¼ to ½ inch thick)

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).

  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, paprika, and black pepper to make the glaze. Mix well until you achieve a smooth consistency.

  3. Rinse the ham slices under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

  4. Place the ham slices in an oven-safe dish or roasting pan, making sure they are not overcrowded.

  5. Brush the glaze generously over both sides of the ham slices, ensuring even coverage.

  6. Cover the dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

  7. Halfway through the cooking time, remove the pan from the oven and baste the ham slices with the drippings from the bottom of the dish.

  8. During the last few minutes of cooking, remove the foil to allow the glaze to caramelize and create a delicious crust.

  9. Once cooked, remove the ham slices from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

  10. Serve the oven-baked country ham slices warm with your favorite accompaniments, such as biscuits, eggs, or grits.

Exploring Variations and Customizations

While the traditional oven-baked country ham slices are a culinary delight on their own, there’s always room for experimentation and personalization. Here are some variations and customizations you can consider:

  1. Spice it up: Add a kick to your glaze by incorporating cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or red pepper flakes for those who enjoy a spicier flavor profile.

  2. Sweet and Savory: Experiment with combinations of sweet and savory ingredients in your glaze, such as maple syrup, honey, or even a splash of bourbon to create a uniquely delightful flavor.

  3. Herb Infusion: Infuse your ham slices with the aroma of fresh herbs by adding minced rosemary, thyme, or sage to the glaze.

  4. Fruit Accents: Enhance the natural sweetness of the ham by adding sliced pineapple, peaches, or apricots to the dish during the cooking process. The fruits will caramelize beautifully and provide a delectable contrast.

Avoiding Overcooking and Undercooking

While proper cooking is essential to achieving the perfect texture and flavor, it’s equally important to avoid the pitfalls of overcooking or undercooking your country ham slices. Here’s how you can sidestep these common mistakes:

  1. Overcooking: Keeping the ham slices in the oven for too long can result in dry and chewy meat. Monitor the internal temperature closely using a reliable meat thermometer and remove the ham from the oven as soon as it reaches 145°F (63°C).

  2. Undercooking: Failing to cook the ham slices sufficiently can lead to a chewy and potentially unsafe texture. Use the recommended cooking time and temperature guidelines while ensuring the internal temperature is reached for safe consumption.

In Conclusion

Cooking country ham slices in the oven is a culinary adventure that pays off in the form of tender, flavorful slices of ham. From understanding the food science behind the curing and aging process to selecting, cleaning, and preparing the slices, every step is crucial to achieving the desired outcome. With our comprehensive guide, you now possess the knowledge and techniques necessary to take on this culinary challenge with confidence. So go ahead, indulge in the true taste of the south and enjoy oven-baked country ham slices that will leave your taste buds craving more!

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  • FAQS On Country Ham Slices Oven Recipe

    What Is A Country Ham?

    A country ham is a type of dry-cured ham that is typically made from the hind leg of a pig. The meat is salted and then hung to dry for several months, resulting in a flavor that is salty, smoky, and savory.

    How Do I Prepare Country Ham Slices In The Oven?

    To prepare country ham slices in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. You can also add a glaze or other seasonings to the ham slices before baking for added flavor.

    Can I Cook Country Ham Slices In A Slow Cooker?

    Yes, you can cook country ham slices in a slow cooker by placing them in the slow cooker with some liquid and seasonings and cooking on low for several hours until heated through. However, be aware that the texture of the ham may be different than if it were baked in the oven.

    How Can I Use Leftover Country Ham Slices?

    Leftover country ham slices can be used in a variety of dishes, such as omelettes, quiches, sandwiches, and salads. The salty, savory flavor of the ham pairs well with a variety of ingredients and can add depth and richness to many dishes.

    Can I Freeze Country Ham Slices?

    Yes, country ham slices can be frozen for up to several months. To freeze, wrap the ham slices tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in an airtight container. Thaw the ham slices in the refrigerator before reheating.