What Does Sugar-Cured or Honey-Cured Mean?

The difference between sugar-cured and honey-cured.

Sugar and honey are both popularly used in food preservation to cure a ham. While the sugar or honey doesn’t provide much flavor to the ham, it does cut down on the salt, and gives the ham a definite sweetness that is appealing to eat. There are specific guidelines that the USDA has created to ensure you are truly getting a ‘sugar-cured’ or ‘honey-cured’ ham.

Honey Cured

Honey Cured may be shown on the labeling of a cured product if:

  1. The honey used contains at least 80 percent solids or is U.S. grade C or above.
  2. The honey is the only sweetening ingredient or when other sweetening ingredients are used in combination with honey, they do not exceed one-half the amount of honey used.
  3.  Honey is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.

Sugar Cured

Sugar Cured may be used on the labeling of a cured product if:

  1. The sugar used is cane sugar or beet sugar.
  2. Sugar is the only sweetening ingredient or when other sweetening ingredients are used in combination with sugar, they do not exceed one-half the amount of sugar used.
  3. Sugar is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.

Honey/Sugar or Sugar/Honey Cured

“Honey and sugar cured” or “sugar and honey cured” may also be used on labeling if:

  1. The honey and sugar are of the nature described above.
  2. The honey and sugar are the only sweetening agents or when other sweetening ingredients are used in combination with the honey and sugar, they do not individually exceed either the amount of honey or sugar used and collectively do not exceed one-half the total amount of honey and sugar.
  3. The honey and sugar are used in amounts sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.
Renee Shelton’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. When she’s not tasting BBQ, she can be found at Pastry Sampler.
Dedicated to the art of grilling, smoking, and barbecuing.