Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Amirault

Mail-Order Virginia Country Hams

Recommended Posts

Hi folks. 

 

Last year, I was very happy to buy a Virginia country ham from Edwards for the holidays, and I want to do so again. However, the price has jumped over 40% (from $90 to $130 for a 15-16 lb uncooked, bone-in ham) in the last year. I know pork prices are zooming up, but it prompts me to post here to see if anyone has had any good experiences with other mail-order Virginia hams. 

 

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Benton's is in TN, but some of the best pork we've ever eaten.  (We live in VA and love Edward's but they are incredibly expensive.)  Never gotten a whole Benton's ham, but the slices are outstanding.  14-17 lb. hams are $65.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to get Edwards, their ham was very good, their breakfast smoked sausages superb.

 

last year my sister send me a whole ham and two lbs of smoked cut bacon

 

bother were a good as Ive ever had, esp. the bacon  the bacon was reserved for the top of meat loafs, and I still have one in the freezer

 

http://shop.bentonscountryham.com/

 

they sell out early on the hams  BTW

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

consider some of that bacon.  its cut and vac's.  it is intensely smokey  for me thats a good thing

 

it is so intense Ive doubled my ( turkey ) meatloaf output.

 

its unfortunate they dont seem to have smoked breakfast sausage.

 

BTW they have smoked and unsmoked cure hams.


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We get the bacon.  In fact, my husband usually orders a couple of dozen pounds because he's converted lots of folks in his office.  Once every couple of months we get this huge box of smelly, smokey goodness on our porch.  I'm always surprised that the critters haven't dragged it away!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""    a couple of dozen pounds  ""

 

wow  good man   good taste

 

have you put it on top of your finest MeatLoaf ?

 

in the past w "good bacon"   say slabs from Edwards

 

I used to "shingle" the bacon on to of the ML

 

like the shingles and siding on your home

 

ie  1/2 of each piece was under the previous piece

 

this gave you 2 x bacon

 

bacon never hurt anyone

 

This bacon is so intense, I single layer, and take  Utmost Care it does not burn

 

more for ML # 2


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We lived in Virginia for 30+ years (my husband is a native).  For 9 years we lived in Culpeper and bought this man's wonderful ham.  It's the REAL deal.  I have never ordered from him online, but I highly recommend his ham and business practices; he is a true Virginia Gentleman.  

 

See what Patrick O'Connell of the Inn at Little Washington says about Calhoun's.  BTW...Calhoun was featured in a Saveur cover recipe.  

 

http://www.calhounhams.com/

 

And, why in the world would anyone order a real Virginia ham from anywhere outside of Virginia??


Edited by gulfporter (log)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I buy Broadbent ham from Kentucky fairly regularly, chiefly because I'm just buying for two (often for one, as the daughter gets really weird on eating) and they sell packages of pre-sliced ham, which is convenient for me. Yes, it should be refrigerated.

 

Be advised: It will be VERY salty. It should either be cooked in water, or soaked for a little while before frying. I'm of the soak first, then fry school. I think @Shelby has had success cooking hers in the Instant Pot.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@MetsFan5

 

if you have not had a Country Ham ,

 

why not consider a sampler pack ?

 

Edwards makes good products.

 

they are other places that are similar if not more Country-ish

 

consider ;

 

https://www.edwardsvaham.com/product/virginia-smokehouse-sampler/country-hams

 

similar price , but some bacon and sausage to boots

 

many people over look country sausage.  It is a remarkable item to try

 

sausage will be more variable from establishment to establishment.

 

Im a big fan of Benton's

 

they make ham and bacon

 

no sausage

 

:sad:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/31/2014 at 11:05 AM, Kim Shook said:

Benton's is in TN, but some of the best pork we've ever eaten.  (We live in VA and love Edward's but they are incredibly expensive.)  Never gotten a whole Benton's ham, but the slices are outstanding.  14-17 lb. hams are $65.  

 
 

I have not had their ham, but when I taught at ETSU medical school, the owner's son was one of my students. He brought in some bacon once and it was wonderful. Nice family, smart kid. 

 

Edited to add I guess he's not a kid anymore. This was about 8 or 9 years ago... Time flies.


Edited by tikidoc (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a bit of a shame Benton's doesn't make sausage

 

their bacon and ham are first rate

 

and they are a pleasure to deal with on the phone

 

even just before Christmas during their busiest  Rush !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you want to serve it?

 

If you're going to eat it raw, I'd spend a few extra bucks for the Edwards boneless quarter Surryano. It's some tasty business, even if it is like $30 a pound. But it can hold its own with European hams in the same price range. A slightly cheaper, pre-sliced, but just-as-delicious option in that regard is Father's proscuitto. This, along with the Surryano, are my two favorite American hams (that I've tasted thus far).

 

If you're wanting to serve classic cooked country ham "family style" (and not just fried slices or something), the Edwards petite cooked ham is a good option, in large part because of how it's been trimmed. And it's pre-cooked and ready to go. It's probably the easiest, high-quality introduction to cooked country ham.

 

I will say that if you're a fan of smoke and funk, Father's makes about the best ham I can imagine in those regards. The Father's ham hocks are worth their weight in gold, but you can get 6 for $15.

 

Vacuum sealed country hams do not require refrigeration prior to being opened, but you should probably do it anyway if you're going to store for extended periods.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some of the best purveyors of country ham that I know of. Most have been mentioned already, but let's keep the list growing. I'd love to discover more producers.

 

Benton's Country Hams (TN)

Broadbent Hams (KY)

Calhoun Country Hams (VA)

S. Wallace Edwards and Sons (VA)

Father's Country Hams (KY) 

Johnson County Hams (NC)

Col. Bill Newsom's Country Hams (KY)

 

 


Edited by btbyrd (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@btbyrd  I’m thinking the petite ham to start with because it is precooked. So I wonder how to best store it. 

 

  I will look into the raw ham as well, my husband lived in Spain for 9 years and would love it if I ordered some. 

 

Thanks! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be biased since I'm a VA girl, but I adore Edwards' products.  The Surryano is truly fantastic.  Like @rotuts, I also really love Bentons.

 

ETA: Mr. Kim received one of the petit hams for Father's day last year and we loved it.  It was plenty big - we even froze some.  A picture:

edwards.jpg.f3f3cb7dae7305bcdab7b558c1391743.jpg


Edited by Kim Shook (log)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kim Shook how did you store it? It looks delicious and a good starting point. Did you reheat it? Just slice and eat? 

Thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

@Kim Shook how did you store it? It looks delicious and a good starting point. Did you reheat it? Just slice and eat? 

Thanks! 

We froze some in manageable chunks.  The rest we just wrapped and refrigerated and sliced off what we needed.  The petite ham does not need any boiling to get rid of excess salt.  It is ready to eat as is.  You don't even need to heat it.  We did biscuits with paper thin slices, omelets with little chunks that were sauteed first, added it (unheated) to a charcuterie board,  and sliced it fairly thick (almost 1/2") and fried in a iron skillet.  You won't be sorry.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, weinoo said:

Y'all do know that this happened at Edwards, right?

 

More.

 

Yep. I was waiting a long time for them to recover from that tragedy. But as soon as they were back... it was Surryano time!

 

9391B775-2526-4351-B775-BFE3E5647E0A.thumb.jpeg.b19be0127b883fb639696a36f5011cfd.jpeg

 

I tried a lot of knives to get thin slices. You want a blade that’s long and thin. My sujihiki (above) was too thick to do a great job; I ended up going with a granton edged carving knife, which performed the best out of all my knives. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fathers  intrigued me

 

I called  and ended up ordering

 

2 sets of Hocks   the fellow I spoke to will actually pick out big ones !

 

and a believe him.  very polite.

 

( he was across the street ) 

 

and a 6 bacon seasoning sampler.

 

I got the second Hock order as 

 

shipping is on par for Food , and it was minimal to get the second set of Hocks.

 

Ill freeze them and

 

That's That !

 

 

money-mouth.gif

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Their hocks are legend. At least in my house. I pressure cook them to death in some water and then pull them apart by hand once they’re cool. Throw those tasty bits in anything. Even after more than an hour in the pressure cooker, the shredded hock meat is still intensely flavored. I use Father’s ham stock sort of like David Chang used Benton’s bacon dashi at Momofuku; a mother stock that can season just about anything. It makes fantastic greens, beans, grits, gravy... it’s a great poaching medium too. A great addition to soups and stews. 

 

I use their “bacon seasoning” to make bacon dashi, actually. It’s basically the fattier trim from the belly before they portion and slice the bacon. That’s the best use I’ve found for it. And beans. And if you ever need to render a bunch of bacon fat (grind or blend it first). Father’s bacon is reliably the smokiest I’ve found, so even the trimmings bring a lot of flavor.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×