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A good ham is hard to find


Chris Amirault
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You may want to look at Burgers' Smokehouse online. They offer "city" style hams for those who want a traditional style ham and their "attic" aged country ham is for the adventurous, traditional Southern ham purists. I've had the country ham and it's delicious, but I doubt my family would welcome this salty beast at the Holiday table.

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Publix carries Cumberland Gap hams. I don't know if you can find them up there.

But, if you get a whole ham or even one of the semi-boneless ones, they are actually quite good. I'm not a fan of the spiral sliced, etc.

I also got one at Costco that was good. I can't remember what brand it was. It was not spiral and it was in a red foil package. I think it was a half, bone-in ham.

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You may want to look at Burgers' Smokehouse online. They offer "city" style hams for those who want a traditional style ham and their "attic" aged country ham is for the adventurous, traditional Southern ham purists. I've had the country ham and it's delicious, but I doubt my family would welcome this salty beast at the Holiday table.

You have to pre-treat the "country" or "attic" hams to lessen the salty flavor. It should be parboiled (simmered) in several changes of water, after stabbing it all over with an ice pick or chefs fork if you have one with long sharp tines.

I use a hollow larding "needle" to take interior samples to taste after three sessions in the water.

After that, I cook them in the oven partially immersed in maple syrup, turning the ham often.

I use the same procedure on inexpensive supermarket hams that are also quite salty.

My "recipe" for salty ham.

P.S. I received a hame from Nueske's last spring and it was excellent. Much better, in my opinion, than Burgers.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Although I am highly biased because I grew up eating them, my hometown has a company that produces award winning hams...

http://www.smithprovision.com/Semi-Boneless-Ham-0019.htm

They also make the best hotdogs I've ever had. Around the part of PA where I grew up, whenever someone is serving ham or hotdogs you automatically assume it came from Smith's, because serving anything else would be offensive to the guests.

edit: improved link

Edited by therippa (log)
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I didn't have a syringe to inject and I didn't get very full distribution of the cure as a result. Did you guys do bone-in?

I did bone-in, no syringe. As I remember, there was an under-cured spot, so that was sub-optimal but not a dealbreaker. Probably the thing to do would have been to buy a syringe; instead, this year I poked it with a skewer and am letting it cure for an extra day or two.

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//My attempts to cure my own ham...//

If you really want a whole (or portion of a whole) ham, I can't help-- I vaguely remember my mother curing one back in the 40s or 50s, but I've never tried it myself. But if you just want pork with the flavor of ham, I can suggest a couple of things to try. A couple of months ago I saw an idea on the Cowgirl's Country Life blog-- slap some cure on boneless pork chops the next time you're running your smoker. It only takes four hours or so for the curing cycle, and then several hours in hot smoke to get delightful smoked pork chops-- as good as any I've had in restaurants or from butcher shops.

For a little more meat at one time, get a "boneless pork roast", the kind that is about two inches thick and four or five inches wide (cut, I believe, from one end of the loin). Rub that with your favorite cure and refrigerate it for about a week, then hot smoke it. I was really trying for very lean "buckboard bacon", but didn't realize that that needed to be cold smoked. Serendipity-- the result after several hours of smoking tasted like, and had the texture of, ham.

I live in a suburb north of Chicago, where we're fortunate to have a good butcher shop, Schmeissers (Schmeissers Home Made Sausage), that does a wide variety of sausage and other smoked meat products. We love their hams. But that probably doesn't help you much unless you get into the north burbs of Chicago occasionally.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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Thanks for all these. I'm loaded for bear... er... ham now.

Any opinions about these non-cured "hams" at Whole Foods? Niman makes one. I have my suspicions but am curious.

In fit of stupidity, i purchased one of these hams at Whole Foods a few years ago. Nothing special and a lot of trouble to travel to a Whole Foods that had the ham and then to find a place to park on top of the store in Evansten Illinois.

Mail order from Nueske's is far simpler and much much better. Don't forget to try the bacon, it's also the best I have found.-Dick

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  • 1 month later...

Over the holidays, I bought a couple of smallish pieces of ham from Vermont Smoke & Cure at Whole Foods and liked it quite a bit. They ran out of it pretty quickly, however, so I wonder what their supply line is like....

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If one can find em, Jones Farm hams are, for non dry cured types, the best I have found, Hard to find, at least around here,however

(their web site ,when they say some store has em,dont believe it)

Bud

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We went from living in the SF Bay Area to Western Ky where we have a fine ham place 5 minutes away! I've had Burger's city ham and it is good. Harper's (the one down the road from us) offers a nice smoked city ham www.hamtastic.com and another good one that is a mild, somewhat cross between city and country ham is the Derby ham from Meachams www.meachamhams.com .

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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That Derby ham looks very interesting. Is $10-12/lb the going rate out there?

Most aren't that high, though I will say their Derby ham is really good.

As far as an everyday ham, years ago my cousin recommended Hormel Cure 81 as he had worked there. I've used that for my everyday ham for years and it is real good.

Another place for country ham which is outstanding is Scotts Hams in Greenville, Ky. They also have good sausage (with sage) that we like. We may not be able to get great seafood like we could when we lived in the bay area but when it comes to pork products (with the exception of pancetta) we're in hog heaven in Kentucky.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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Lancastermike,

I get my Tday smoked ham from Blooming Glen, off Rte 309.

It was delish. And as an added bonus, it had no added water, no antibiotics, no hormones.

You say yours comes from local hogs, but not where you find them.

Edited by Mottmott (log)

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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