Bone-in hams have a long, thick femur running through the entire cut of meat. The femur has a ball-and-socket joint on one end that attaches to the aitch bone, a long, flat bone that sits perpendicular to the leg bone. The bones are generally left in ham to add additional flavor to the meat while it cooks. However, you can remove the bones either before or after cooking the ham to make it easier to slice.
Things You'll Need
Cutting glove (optional)
Lay a towel on a flat, clean cutting surface, then lay the ham on top of it with the butt end facing you. The butt end is the wider end with the long, flat aitch bone visible on the surface. The towel prevents the ham from slipping. You can also wear a cutting glove on your non-knife hand to protect it from slips of the knife.
Make deep cut along the right side of the aitch bone, separating the ham from the bone on that side. Continue the cut around the top and along the left side of the bone. Pull the meat away from the bone as you slice, making sure the bone is as free as possible.
Follow the path of the cut with the knife again, deepening it so that the ball-and-socket joint that connects the aitch bone to the leg bone is visible. Grab the aitch bone and twist it. Cut through the cartilage attaching the aitch bone to the joint and pull out the bone.
Cut along the length of the ham, starting at the butt end and working away from your body. Make a slice deep enough to expose the leg bone.
Free the leg bone from the meat with the boning knife. Reach into the ham and pull up on the leg bone, tearing it gently from the ham.
If you are planning on cooking the ham after de-boning it, roll up the meat so that it resembles its original shape and secure it with twine.
Always set the ham on top of a clean towel to prevent it from slipping on the work surface during cutting. Wear a cutting glove on your non-knife hand to prevent it from slips of the knife.