Scoring Ham

First off, what is scoring?
Scoring, in kitchen terms at least, is to make shallow cuts in a diamond shaped pattern.

Scoring is generally done on cuts of meat that have a thick outer layer of fat or fatty skin. This makes the basic bone-in ham, the one most often used for Easter dinner, a prime target for scoring.

score ham

Scoring Ham

How to Score a Ham

  1. To score a ham grab a very sharp knife and place the ham on a pan with the fatty side up.

  2. With the knife, carefully cut down through the fatty outside layer of the ham, stopping just before reaching the actual meat.

  3. Cut in clean even slices from one side of the ham toward the other.

  4. Once sliced from one side to the other, turn the ham clockwise a half turn and begin slicing again from one side to the other. A diamond pattern will begin to form on the top pf the ham.

  5. Reach the other side, and the ham has been scored – goal!

  6. score ham

There is no need to flip the ham over, only the fatty side of the ham is typically scored.

Scoring Ham

The Benefits of Scoring Other Foods

Although ham is a prime target for scoring, lots of different foods can benefit from scoring.

For fatty meats, scoring helps release some of the fat while the meat cooks.

Duck is known for being very fatty, scoring can help alleviate some grease.

For fish, scoring prevents the skin from curling when it hits the heat from the skillet or grill. Only the skin side(s) of a fish are scored.

For flat tougher cuts of red meats, like flank and hanger steaks, scoring helps to tenderize these tougher cuts.

Squid steaks are often found scored to better absorb some flavor and look prettier.

For larger vegetables with tougher skins, scoring allows seasonings and marinades to be more easily absorbed through the skin.

Any glaze or marinade will sink further into its subject and produce more intense flavor if it is scored first.

After scoring, try placing some bits of seasonings into the new crevices for even more flavor.
For instance, garlic and herbs into meats and cloves into hams.

Scoring Ham

Additional Information

To find out how long ham lasts, see our ham page.

For help cooking a ham, see our how to cook a ham post.

To find out how much ham to buy, see our ham per person post.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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