Pairing wine with food can be an art form. There are so many different foods that it is difficult to find the perfect wine pairing.
Luckily, there’s a lot of information out there about what wines go well with which foods. One example is ham!
Ham has so many varieties and flavors that it can be really hard to choose just one wine pairing for all types of ham. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best wines to pair with ham, including Iberico ham, serrano ham, baked ham, smoked ham, glazed ham, prosciutto, and even some tasty recipes for making your own at home!
History of Ham
Eating ham became popular in the United States in the early 1800s. Ham was seen as a luxurious food and it was only eaten by the wealthy. It was also considered to be very healthy meat because it is high in protein and low in fat. Today, ham is still a popular food and can be found in most grocery stores.
There are many different types of ham that you can choose from. Some of the most popular include:
– Iberico ham: This type of ham comes from Spain and is made with pork that has been cured for at least 36 months. It has a salty flavor and a smooth texture.
– Serrano ham: This type of ham also comes from Spain and it is made with pork that has been cured for at least 12 months. It has a slightly spicy flavor and a firm texture.
– Baked Ham: This is the most common type of ham that you will find in the United States. It is usually cooked in an oven or a slow cooker. It has a mild flavor and a soft texture.
– Smoked Ham: This type of ham is smoked for several hours, which gives it a smoky flavor. It is usually cooked in an oven or a slow cooker.
– Glazed Ham: This type of ham is coated with a sweet glaze before it is cooked. It has a sweet and salty flavor and a sticky texture.
– Prosciutto: This type of ham comes from Italy and it is made with pork that has been cured for at least two months. It has a salty flavor and a crispy texture.
– Ham Hock: This type of ham comes from the ankle joint of the pig’s leg. It has a smoky and salty flavor and a tough texture.
Wine That Pairs with Ham
When pairing wine with ham, it is important to consider the specific flavoring of the ham. Depending on how the pork is prepared, different wine styles will be better suited.
For example, red wine tends to pair best when served with Iberico ham or serrano ham. These hams are intensely flavored and tend to have a slightly salty taste that red wine can complement well.
White wine, on the other hand, is a good match for baked ham, smoked ham, and prosciutto. These types of wine pair best when the wine is fruity but not too strong or acidic.
There are many wine pairing possibilities that can be explored to find which wine works well with each type of ham served at your holiday meals this year.
Pairing Wine by Type of Ham
Baked ham is typically paired with white wine because of its delicate flavor profile. A dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer would be perfect for this type of pairing, as these wines have fruity notes that will complement the sweetness in the ham.
Smoked ham pairs surprisingly well with Zinfandel wine. The smokiness in the ham brings out the peppery flavors in the wine, making for a unique and delicious combination.
Glazed ham is often served at Christmas time and is commonly paired with sweet dessert wines like Port or Sherry. However, if you are looking to serve wine with this type of ham, try pairing it with an off-dry white wine. This will allow the glaze on the ham to shine without being overpowered by too sweet a wine.
Serrano ham pairs well with red wine because its flavor is so intense and saltier than other types of hams. A hearty red like an Italian Chianti would be perfect for drinking alongside your serrano ham at dinner this year!
Prosciutto can be paired both ways depending on how it was prepared prior to serving time. If you eat prosciutto cold right out of the package or sliced thickly onto bread, then pair it best with sparkling wine or even champagne these beverages cut through richness in the ham. However, if the prosciutto is served warm then it pairs better with a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio.
Iberico ham and Serrano ham are the most intense types of hams and should be paired with red wine to really bring out all the flavors in the meat. As mentioned before, an Italian Chianti would be perfect for this type of pairing!
Although not as commonly found on menus, ham hocks make a delicious southern dish when prepared correctly.
For wine pairings, try serving a Riesling or Gewürztraminer alongside your ham hock entrée – these wines will complement the smoky and sweet flavors in the pork perfectly.
Pairings at a Glance
Try these alternative pairings for a delectable dining experience:
– Iberico ham: dry red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec
– Serrano ham: white wine, preferably a Riesling or Chenin Blanc
– Baked ham: fruity red wine, like a Zinfandel or Merlot
– Smoked ham: dry white wine, such as an unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio
– Glazed ham: sweet wine, like Moscato d’Asti or Sherry
– Prosciutto: sparkling wine, Brut Champagne or Prosecco
Baked Ham Recipe
– One (15-pound) bone-in smoked ham with natural juices
– Two cups brown sugar, packed
– 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard
– One teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove all packaging material from ham. If the ham has a plastic disk in the center of it, remove that too. Place ham on its side in a large roasting pan.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, Dijon mustard, thyme, and cloves. Rub mixture all over the outside of the ham.
Bake for about two and one-half hours or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the ham.
– Serve with a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, along with fresh fruit and your choice of crusty bread for dipping in pan juices.
Wine to pair with Baked Ham recipe:
– Mehana Cloudforest Pinot Noir (Ecuador) – Roasted red meat, baked apples & pears + tangy mustard flavors all come together nicely on a silky palate w/ dark fruits that linger long into a clean finish
– Tenuta Luisa Gini Moscadello di Montalcino DOCG Rosé Brut Fermo – Aromas of strawberry, raspberry & cherry with a palate that is fruity, fresh, lively acidity w/ some light tannin structure + pairs well w/ smoked meats
– Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay (New Zealand) – Buttery notes mixed w/ tropical fruits such as pineapple & mango. A full-bodied wine with a long finish of toasty oak & hazelnuts
– La Gioiosa Chianti DOCG Riserva (Italy) – Aged for 18 months in French oak, this wine has flavors of red cherry, blackberry, plum. Medium-bodied with a velvety texture & balanced acidity
Serrano Ham Recipe
– One serrano ham (either bone-in or boneless)
– Two tablespoons olive oil
– Half a cup white wine vinegar
– One teaspoon of sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If the ham has skin on it, score the skin in a diamond pattern and prick the fat all over with a fork. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add ham and cook for about four minutes per side or until golden brown. Add white wine vinegar and sugar to the pan, bring to a boil and cook for about two minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
– Place ham in a baking dish and pour the sauce over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
– Serve with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or Riesling, along with fresh fruit and your choice of crusty bread for dipping in pan juices.
So, when you’re planning your next holiday feast, don’t forget about the wine! These suggested pairings are perfect for any type of ham, whether it’s baked, smoked, glazed, or even a ham hock. Cheers!