Here's What Makes City Ham Different From Spiral Cut

Usually a dish that graces the table during holiday dinners, we all know that ham is pork. To get more specific, ham is a part of the rear leg of a pig and is typically cured first, according to Serious Eats. There are many different types of cuts and preparations, but the most common in the United States is referred to as "city ham". City hams can weigh up to 15 pounds, which is oftentimes more than the average household needs. Most families end up choosing between the "shank cut" or the "butt cut". The shank cut is slightly easier to carve and has more fat, making it juicy and richer in flavor. The butt cut is often leaner but is trickier to cut, thanks to the pelvic bone. The ham is either soaked in a saltwater brine for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or it's injected with brine for a juicy, salty, rich flavor. 

City hams can either be boneless or have the bone left in. The choice comes down to personal preference. So what's a "spiral cut", and how is it different from city ham? 

The difference comes down to slicing

The main difference between these two ham options is how they're sliced. A spiral ham has been prepared and cut with a machine at the butcher shop or at the processing plant, so that when you slice into it the meat will be cut into even slices, per Oureverydaylife. Spiral cut hams are convenient when it comes to preparation and cutting, especially if you're a bit rusty or haven't honed your meat carving skills. 

According to Serious Eats, "All you have to do is make one simple lateral cut, and the meat comes peeling off in thin layers." When you're ready to slice into the ham, here's a trick to ensure that everything goes smoothly: cut at a perpendicular angle from the bone for beautiful ham slices.

Per Chowhound, spiral hams are precooked so all you have to do is heat the ham in the oven and dinner is ready to go. You can choose between half hams and whole hams depending on how hungry your family or friends are during your gathering. You also choose if you want a glazed ham or not, and you can specify to have the glaze packaged separately so you can drizzle it yourself. Next time you order ham, you'll know the difference between a city ham and a spiral ham, and which will be better for your dinner.