If cooking an entire ham sounds daunting, a ham steak dinner is a quick, simple alternative. Ideal for serving one or two people, ham steak is a smaller cut of ham sold as thick slices, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), and is typically cooked in a pan on the stovetop.
Video of the Day
Check the packaging of your ham steak to find out whether it's been processed and fully cooked. For raw ham that requires cooking, the package will typically have cooking and safe handling instructions.
With a few ham steak recipe ideas in your recipe box, you can find plenty of things to do with ham steak and whip up tasty, flavorful meals.
Cooking Raw Ham Steak: Safety Recommendations
Taking a few safety precautions when you handle food — and meat in particular — is important because it can help prevent foodborne diseases, according to the USDA. Approximately 525,000 cases of infections are caused by eating poorly handled pork in the United States every year, according to an October 2017 study in Epidemiology and Infection.
The USDA recommends keeping an eye out when buying your ham; Avoid buying meat in packaging that is torn or has leaks, and don't buy it if it's past its expiration date.
When you get home, refrigerate the ham immediately. Keeping it outside the fridge for more than two hours gives harmful bacteria a chance to multiply and contaminate the food.
Keep the ham wrapped up tight while it's in the fridge to help preserve quality and prevent the juices from coming in contact with other foods in the fridge. Known as cross-contamination, this can increase your chances of getting sick.
If you're freezing the ham, adding an extra layer of foil or plastic wrap on top of the original packaging can help maintain the quality of the meat.
The USDA also advises that you wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after you handle the food. Keep the ham away from the other ingredients you use, and wash your knives, cutting boards, utensils and countertops with hot water and soap after you finish cooking.
How to Cook Raw Ham Steak
Things You'll Need
1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
Heat Your Pan and Add Oil
Heat a frying pan to medium-high, and add a small amount of oil. The Cleveland Clinic recommends olive oil for cooking because it has the lowest oxidation rate of cooking oils. Oxidation increases free radicals in your cooking, which are linked to cell damage and increased cancer risk.
Add the Ham Steak
Add the ham steak to the pan and brown it on each side. Season the meat with your honey and favorite spices, if you're using them. Cook the meat uncovered at a moderate temperature, turning it frequently until it's done, per the North American Meat Institute.
Cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the ham, but it should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating, according to the USDA FSIS. Use a meat thermometer to check.
Let it Rest
Let the ham rest for at least three minutes before eating. If you have leftover ham, refrigerate it for up to five days or freeze for up to two months, says the USDA FSIS.
Ways to Eat Ham Steak
With so many types of ham available, you have many different options for what to do with ham. Be sure to read the label on your ham to determine whether it's ready-to-eat or must be cooked beforehand.
If you're looking for things to do with ham steak and want an easy meal, try experimenting with these recipes:
- Michigan State University Extension: "How to Identify Cooked and Uncooked Ham"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Ham and Food Safety"
- Food and Chemical Toxicology: "The Impact of Red and Processed Meat Consumption on Cancer and Other Health Outcomes: Epidemiological Evidences"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Pork Cured Ham Steak Boneless Extra Lean Unheated"
- PLOS One: "Gradual Reduction in Sodium Content in Cooked Ham, With Corresponding Change in Sensorial Properties Measured by Sensory Evaluation and a Multimodal Machine Vision System"
- Tufts University: "Processed Meats and Cancer: It’s Not Just Nitrates"
- Cleveland Clinic: "7 Things You Should Know About Cooking With Oil"
- North American Meat Institute: "Cooking Methods"
- Cleveland Clinic: How to Choose and Use Healthy Cooking Oils