Two bone in hams sit on a counter in the Pederson's Farms plant. Workers are seen in the background preparing the hams.

An Inside Look at Pederson’s Fully Cooked Hams

At Pederson’s, we are committed to transparency. We want you to have no doubts about what you’re getting when you buy one of our products. You’ve heard us say that our meats are all natural, vegetarian fed, never administered antibiotics, and humanely raised. 

And if you follow us on social media, you’ve heard us say that our hams are fully cooked and spiral sliced, so they’re stress-free. But have you ever wondered how we fully cook our hams? If you’re curious about it, you’ve come to the right place.

Ham Selection

We have a high set of standards that we measure each of our products against. To ensure that each ham meets those standards, our team sorts, hand selects, and trims each ham within exact specifications to reduce variations in size. This also helps to ensure that the flavor and quality of the hams are consistent. 

Once selected, our hams go in one of two directions. If the ham is going to be sold boneless, the next step is to de-bone the ham. The bone is cut out by hand which results in the meat being in loosely connected pieces. 

Brine Injection

The next step is to inject the hams with brine. We use an injection method to ensure the seasoning is distributed evenly throughout the meat. The brine we use contains water and spices. Our products are uncured, so our brine does not have any unnecessary nitrates or nitrites added. If you want more info about cured vs. uncured meats, you can find it in this post

Tumbling 

So, how do we get these loosely connected pieces of ham back into shape? Well, this is where our tumbling process comes in. The boneless hams are put into a tumbler that helps bind them back together. This tumbling also provides protein extraction, which aids in the binding as well. After being tumbled, the hams are put in nets to help further solidify their shape.  

Smoking

From here, the hams are sent to the smoker where they are smoked over natural hardwood chips for up to twelve hours. During the smoking, the boneless hams continue to bind together, and at the end of the process you’ve got a fully-cooked, uncured, boneless ham! 

Bone-In Hams

Our process for bone-in hams is a little different. Bone-in hams are not tumbled because they do not need to bind back together like boneless hams do. They’re also too big to be tumbled, and the weight of the bone would actually tear apart the meat, undoing the purpose of the tumbling.

Instead, after being handpicked and trimmed by our team, the bone-in hams are injected with the brine and sent straight to the smoker. They are smoked over natural hardwood chips for up to twelve hours just like our boneless hams. 

After that, our hams are ready to be the centerpiece for your next holiday meal! 

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