Ham that has been dry-cured in a mixture of salt, sodium nitrate, sugar and other seasonings for a period of days (depending on the weight of the ham). The salt is then rinsed off and the ham is slowly smoked over hardwood fires before being aged 6 to 12 months. Most are sold uncooked, though fully cooked hams are now becoming more readily available. Country-cured ham is distinguished by its salty, well-seasoned, firm flesh. America's most famous country-cured hams come from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. See also ham.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.