Stuffed Ham a Southern Maryland Tradition

Tim mentioned the other night that he wanted to try a dish called Stuffed Ham. I had no clue as to what Stuffed Ham was so I began to investigate and find out just what Stuffed Ham was. I asked neighbors and people in the grocery store. Everyone had a different recipe and way of preparing this dish. I even went on the internet in search of the best ways to prepare a Stuffed Ham.

All the recipes used basically the same ingredients: ham, kale, cabbage,onions,celery, celery seed, and mustard seed, some included hot pepper flakes and tabasco sauce. All were boiled wrapped in cheese cloth or in a clean pillow case used just for making the Stuffed ham.

I was also curious as to where stuffed ham originated. So the search continued.

I discovered that the recipe probably came over on the Ark and the Dove in 1634. The Ark and the Dove were the two ships that brought the original settlers to Maryland from England.


1 12 pound ham cured

4Â pounds kale

4 pounds cabbage

1 bunch celery chopped fine

1 pound onions chopped fine

1 bunch spring onions chopped

6 tbsp salt

6 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp mustard seed

2 tbsp celery seed

3 tbsp peppercorns

1 hot red pepper optional

2 tbsp hot red pepper optional

2 tsp Tabasco sauce

Choose a plump, thick ham.Par boil the ham for 25 minutes. DO NOT remove the skin. Chop the greens and cabbage while the ham par boils into about 1 inch pieces. Blanch the kale,cabbage,onions and the pepper if using one till the greens are limp. Drain well,really well. Add the seasonings and mix well. Cool the ham till it is easy to handle. Starting at the small end of the ham cut slits 2 inches long all the way through. The second row should be 2 slits also 2 inches long and all the way through. the third and final row should also be 3 slits also 2 inches long and cut all the way through.Make sure that one slit does not cut in to another one. Now the ham is ready for stuffing. So this is where the fun begins. Using your fingers, push the seasoned greens into the slits first from the top, then flip the ham over carefully and stuff from the other side making sure not to push the stuffing out the other side. until you feel the space in every slit is full. Place any of the greens mixture that is left over over the top of the ham.

Now wrap the ham in cheese cloth skin side up. Fold the ends of the cheese cloth over the ham tightly and secure in place by either sewing it or using pins. Return the ham to the pot it was par boiled in and add water to cover. Simmer for 15 minutes per pound. Let cool in the poit likker for 2 hours. Chill in the refrigerator overnight still wrapped in the cheese cloth.

The Stuffed Ham may then be sliced and served. It may be served cold or warm.

I hope ya’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

See ya’ll soon.