Maple Syrup Fried Ham

Ham Frying in Maple Syrup

This is a super simple recipe:
1 Ham steak
Some Maple Syrup
1 Cast Iron Frying Pan

Super simple, just fry in medium low until the meat is hot throughout but don’t overcook. The USDA says 145°F. The temperature of the pan should be low enough so as not to cause the syrup to boil – you want to keep it liquid, not make candy.

I use a cast iron frying pan because that is how I have always done it, how my parents did it, etc. Tradition. A stainless steel pan might work fine. I would not use copper as it could flavor the food. Cast iron gives some iron into the food cooked in it, so I’ve read, and that is an added benefit. Hard to believe given that cast iron pans seem to last forever. I wouldn’t use teflon or one of those types of non-stick coated pans because they can emit toxic fumes which I would rather not breath.

I only use real Vermont maple syrup but, then, well, that’s where I live. You could probably substitute New Hampshire maple syrup in a pinch, or maybe some from New York, Canada or some other syrup… Molasses might be an interesting substitute – A lot of these sorts of flavor are very regional as determined by local flavors and resources.

You might notice that this is a rind on ham. That layer of skin and fat is delicious. Because our pigs are raised on pasture/hay and dairy the fat has a delicious slightly sweet flavor even without the maple syrup. Animals like our pigs who are raised on pasture eating green forages also have been shown to have higher levels of the heart healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids and CLAs in their fats. I was also told by a researcher from New York that their fats contain higher levels of vitamin D because they live outdoors and get so much exposure to the sun. Added bonuses of pasture raised pigs.

Outdoors: 10°F/-9°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 62°F/56°F

Daily Spark: “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” -Jack London

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Maple Syrup Fried Ham

  1. Ken House says:

    Is that ham steak from a cured ham? We had some ham steaks cut from an uncured ham and they don’t stay nice and pink like that one. Looks good.

    • Aye, that’s a cured and smoked ham steak. It was delicious and the fat was luscious. With store bought hams I used to trim the fat long ago before we had pigs but with ours I look forward to eating the fat. It is amazing how different it is.

      Fresh ham steaks, without the cure, would be more like a pork chop in flavor. I sometimes have them that way too. They are quite good in this very simple recipe. In fact, almost any cut of pork is good this way. Even trotters.

  2. Me too Walter. Cast iron skillets all the way! Just fried up some of our own 1.5 inch thick pork chops the other evening and so grateful for you and your family showing us the way in raising pastured hogs. And as far as the syrup goes. We get ours from a nearby Illinois farm. Can’t wait till their sap starts flowing again!

  3. S. Todd Stewart says:

    Thank you for posting this, Walter! We tried this recipe with ham steaks from one of our pastured pigs and it was a huge hit with our three boys.

  4. tammy says:

    just brought a hog and had it butchered.I have tried to fry and bake pork chops and they are coming out tough.there seems to be no fat, is there a difference in the way you have to cook afresh pig vs a store bought ?pls help

    • There shouldn’t be any particular difference. CAFO (factory farmed) pigs tend to be very lean. A pastured pig depending on the breed and feed as well as age might be lean or well marbled. If your pig was very lean then there won’t be much fat in the meat, called marbling, which would tend to make it tougher. This is one reason for raising pigs to larger sizes as they tend to start putting on marbling after about 200 lbs however there are a lot of factors.

      You might try using one of the slow cooking recipes which is a traditional way of handling leaner tougher meats. You can also wrap a roast in back fat to give it more moisture.

      I see from your IP address that you’re on WildBlue satellite internet. How do you like their service? See this post where I got a call from them and am thinking about their service.

  5. tammy says:

    Thank you Walter as far as the wildblue service,I live outside a very small town on Lake Texhoma and they are the only service thats offered so the only thing I can compare to is AT&T uverse when I lived in Dallas and of course uverse hands down alot faster.The only thing I dont care for is that they automaticlly draft their pmt out which may be fine for you, I just prefer no one in my money,and its drafted on like the middle to end of month which sometimes can be bad,If I could choose I would go with another service only because customer service is not willing to work with me.Good luck

    • Ick. I detest auto-drafting. Nobody else should have their fingers in my bank account and we have had multiple companies abuse this privilege in the past. To deal with this we have a special bank account setup just for this purpose for the few we have to do it with. We space them around the month and drop the money in at the right time so they can’t screw up too badly. Think of it as a firewall. Thanks for the report.

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