You undoubtedly already know that ham and pork refer to meat from the domesticated pig, but you may not know the intricacies of their definitions.
According to Brittanica, pork refers to any pig flesh. Pork is primarily sourced from animals aged six months to one year and is frequently sold cured or processed into sausages.
Meanwhile, the term ham refers to a specific piece of pork. It's meat from the hog's back leg, which is frequently cured before consumption.
Not all "ham" items are ham. In the U.S., cured pork shoulders are called "shoulder ham" or "picnic ham," although they don't taste the same.
USDA defines "ham" as a hog leg cured with salt, brine, sodium nitrate, or other seasonings. Some cured hams are smoked to add taste and preserve the meat.
Most cured hams are ready to eat once you take them out of the packaging, but "fresh" hams, which have not been cured, need to be cooked before being served.
According to the USDA, fresh ham should be marked as "fresh" and come with cooking instructions to distinguish it from cured ham.
Britannica reports that the flavor of pork can be drastically altered over the animal's lifecycle and during the processing of the meat.