One of the most important skills when you find yourself in front of a ham (no, not eating it) is carving it. Carving a ham can be a ritual filled with technique, dedication and even care to be able to emphasize all the flavour and aroma.
Here are a few (basic) tips on how to become an expert (without cutting yourself):
An appropriate place to carve: It may not seem that important, but the fact we’ve mentioned it first probably means something. You’ll need plenty of space allowing you freedom of movement without posing any danger to yourself or those around you. We all want ham, but not at any price
Adequate carving materials: Just as carpenters don’t use shoes to drive nails, ham carvers can’t use just any knife to carve. You’ll need a very sharp knife; it’ll take less effort to carve and there won’t be any unexpected sliding. The result? Thin and even rashers. In other words, exactly what we’re all looking for. And just like any other material, it all gets worn with use. So, you need to have a honing steel on hand (a tool used to straighten the burr along the edge of a blade or other elements of similar characteristics) and always keep your knife in tip top condition
A steady piece of meat: To prevent unexpected movements with unexpected consequences, you’ll need a ham stand to firmly secure your ham. Would you like a bit of advice? Start with the cushion, positioning the ham so the hoof is upwards.
A supportive hand: It’s important to focus on the ham, so who thinks about their hands? Always remember the direction in which you’re carving the ham and avoid getting your hands in the way. This would seem logical, but the fact that we’re saying it probably means something
Patience will lead to enjoyment: of course the most important thing is to enjoy the entire ritual. All good things take time and enjoyment doesn’t only come with eating it, but also carving it. Be patient and the ham will give you more than just good flavour.
Ready to start carving?