Country ham’s large size makes it unwieldy to cook, especially because the ham should be simmered in a stockpot before being roasted. To get around this problem, use a hacksaw to remove the hock end of the ham. The ham should then fit into a large stockpot or roasting pan. Save the hock for cooking beans or greens or making soup.
At one time or another, many cooks face the task of seasoning a huge quantity of meat with salt and ground black pepper while preparing for a large dinner party or big outdoor barbecue. But before you break a sweat, try using a power drill: Unscrew the finial at the top of the pepper mill to reveal the tip of the square shaft that runs down the center, then insert the shaft into the chuck of a power drill—and off you go. Changing the tension in the connection between the shaft and the drill controls the grind size, from fine to coarse.
Crème brûlée aficionados use their kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar layer on their favorite dessert, but you can get more from your torch by using it to brown already-baked meringues-topped pies, tartlets, and cakes.
A vise-grip, also known as curved-jaw locking pliers, is perfect for cracking hard-shelled nuts (especially walnuts). The adjustable rounded jaws can accommodate nuts of almost any shape or size, and the grip is strong enough to break through the hardest shell, leaving the tender flesh intact.
Cleaning a grill’s hot grate is recommended to keep foods from sticking. A welder’s brush, which can be purchased for a mere $2 at a hardware store, has a long wooden handle attached to a wire brush, just like those grill brushes that cost 10 times as much. Its long wires and narrow design allow for deep scrubbing between the bars on the cooking grate.