How to Carve a Pork Leg

Written by heather thomas
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How to Carve a Pork Leg
Pork leg is divided into shank and butt portions. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Pork leg is also called ham. Ham can be cured or uncured; when it's uncured it is called fresh ham as opposed to simply ham. When looking at a pig's leg, the top is the butt portion and the bottom half is the shank portion. Both hams traditionally come on the bone. On-the-bone hams are usually less expensive than meat that has already had the bone removed. However, the bone does present some difficulty when it's time to carve.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Shallow baking pan

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  1. 1

    Allow the ham to rest for 15 to 30 minutes. If you cut meat right out of the oven it will release too much juice and dry out. This also lets it cool slightly and makes it easier to handle.

  2. 2

    Place the ham on a cutting board inside of a shallow baking pan to catch any juices that are released during the carving process. Make sure the thickest portion of meat is facing up.

  3. 3

    Cut the ham in half lengthwise horizontally following the bone through the ham. This will allow you to remove the largest portion of meat in one cut and help you identify exactly where the bone is.

  4. 4

    Insert the knife into the ham alongside and parallel to the bone. Carefully work your way all the way around the bone. This takes patience. When you have freed the bottom half of the ham, separate it from the bone.

  5. 5

    Reserve the bone. The bone can be frozen to make stock at a later time. It will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

  6. 6

    Slice the bone-free portions to your desired thickness. Serve the ham immediately. Do not allow cooked meat to remain at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.

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