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How to Cook a Pork Leg

Also called fresh ham, pork leg is the large whole hind leg of a hog. It is this same cut of meat that manufacturers cure to sell as ham. You can expect a bone-in pork leg to weigh approximately 15 to 25 lbs., suitable for occasions when you are feeding larger groups of people. You can ask your butcher to provide a boneless pork leg, as well. Try not to let the size of the cut intimidate you. Cooking a pork leg requires just a few steps and is easier than you might think.

  1. Choose a pork leg sized appropriately for your occasion. If your butcher needs to order one, talk to him in advance.

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Remove the pork leg from the butcher's packaging, and pat the entire cut with clean paper towels until it is dry.

  4. Season all sides of the roast with salt and pepper, or you can experiment with any dry rub or marinade that you like.

  5. Place the pork leg in a large roasting pan.

  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the leg. If you are preparing a bone-in pork leg, take care to avoid locating the tip of the thermometer too close to the bone.

  7. Place your roasting pan and pork leg into the oven. Because of their size, pork legs can take several hours to cook; plan on about 24 minutes per pound.

  8. Monitor the meat thermometer closely toward the end of cooking time. When the thermometer reads 150 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the leg from the oven.

  9. Rest the pork until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This should take about 10 minutes.

  10. Slice the pork leg for serving.

    Tip

    In addition to salt and pepper, you can dress up pork leg using a dry rub of your favorite herbs and spices. You can also serve the meat with a glaze, if you prefer.

    Warning

    Bone-in pork leg will cook faster than boneless. Monitor your meat thermometer closely to avoid overcooking the meat.

    Cooking pork to 160 degrees Fahrenheit is essential. This will protect you, your family and your guests from contracting one of several foodborne pathogens associated with pork that can lead to food poisoning.

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Things Needed

  • Pork leg
  • Paper towels
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Large roasting pan
  • Oven-safe meat thermometer
  • Oven

About the Author

Based in Olathe, Kan., Erika Henritz began her writing/editing career in 1994. She specializes in health publications and has worked for ATI, where she served as editor for several nursing textbooks, including the company's R.N. and P.N. "Mental Health" and "Fundamentals of Nursing" reviews. Erika holds a Bachelor of Science in education and foreign language from the University of Kansas.

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