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Country Ham


M. Lucia
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"Eternity is two people and a ham."

I can't eat much country ham at once, but I do love its flavor. I've nibbled on plenty, cut some chunks off for the freezer, and thrown some into an incredible split-pea soup. What are some other dishes that are good with some country ham? (I didn't grow up eating the stuff, being from a Jewish Southern household, so I don't have deep reserves of knowledge on the subject...)

just about every green vegetable known to man, every single bean, pea, or legume and most soups can be made better by the addition of some country ham. I like to make a ham "gravy" (make a roux w/ bacon or ham fat and onion, then add some diced country ham, and a little milk and cracked pepper) for grits, biscuits, rice, or even roasted chicken or pork chops. I also make what I call a "Southern saltimbocca" and substitute country ham and rat trap cheese for the prosciutto/mozzarella then bread and fry the chicken. It is also a great addition to mac and cheese.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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"Eternity is two people and a ham."

I can't eat much country ham at once, but I do love its flavor. I've nibbled on plenty, cut some chunks off for the freezer, and thrown some into an incredible split-pea soup. What are some other dishes that are good with some country ham? (I didn't grow up eating the stuff, being from a Jewish Southern household, so I don't have deep reserves of knowledge on the subject...)

This is a wonderful use of country ham: Crab, Country Ham & Limas w/ Jalapeno Cream

Kim

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  • 4 weeks later...
"Eternity is two people and a ham."

I can't eat much country ham at once, but I do love its flavor. I've nibbled on plenty, cut some chunks off for the freezer, and thrown some into an incredible split-pea soup. What are some other dishes that are good with some country ham? (I didn't grow up eating the stuff, being from a Jewish Southern household, so I don't have deep reserves of knowledge on the subject...)

I use it as a flavoring in just about any dish that calls for bacon or pancetta or salt pork. The flavors a little different, but it works well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Speaking of country ham...

Went to Rice's Country Hams today, which is an old place in Mt. Juliet (a small town outside of Nashville) in Wilson County, Tennessee. The store was built in 1886, and the Rice family has had it as a store since 1910, curing hams for the last 60 years.

I've been meaning to go for a while, but never got around to it, until today.

Excuse the lousy iphone pics:

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Here's what we picked up: spiced tea, peach preserves, bacon, country ham, biscuit mix and some cheese ball from a place called Simonton's

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Looking forward to trying it all!

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Holly,

The lady i spoke with said they start the process on jan 1 and let them age until 10/1 at the earliest. Why 10/1? Because that's when they open the store.

If you happen to make a trip to Nashville next fall, I'll take you out there. Oh, and if you come back to update "eating the south: tennessee," you should definitely check out pat martin's bbq joint in nolensville. he posts here under the name big hoss, and has a blog.

Edited by carpetbagger, esq. (log)
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So... I'm a very lucky guy and I received a wonderful gift of my first-ever country ham this morning. I'm trying to figure out what I'll do with it. I'm thinking that I would like to cook most of it and use a bit raw as well. One of my concerns is that I don't have a big household, just two of us, and I don't know how it will keep in each of these states once I've cut into it. So... how will it keep, once cut, raw and cooked? Will it freeze well in either state? And can I cut a big chunk of it off with a hacksaw (for using raw), or will it be too unwieldy?

Thanks... I'm really looking forward to it!

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So... I'm a very lucky guy and I received a wonderful gift of my first-ever country ham this morning. I'm trying to figure out what I'll do with it. I'm thinking that I would like to cook most of it and use a bit raw as well. One of my concerns is that I don't have a big household, just two of us, and I don't know how it will keep in each of these states once I've cut into it. So... how will it keep, once cut, raw and cooked? Will it freeze well in either state? And can I cut a big chunk of it off with a hacksaw (for using raw), or will it be too unwieldy?

Thanks... I'm really looking forward to it!

Whoops, I found answers to my own questions, with a bit more searching. In case anyone else is curious, I'll share. From Newsom's web site:

When ham is to be fried or broiled it is best to have ham sliced on a power saw. Scrape the slices to remove bone dust before refrigeration. Since Col. Newsom's Kentucky Country Ham is cured and aged under federal inspection, your favorite supermarket or butcher may slice it for you. Take the cooking brochure with you to the market as the small, round seal on its front indicates a federal inspection number and without proof of inspection, slicing by a commercial store is forbidden under laws of storekeeping inspection.

3. To keep after slicing, coat each slice lightly on both sides with shortening or lard. Put the desired number of slices in foil, wrap tightly and put in refrigerator until needed.

4. Ham may be kept in deep freeze for several months after slicing, if properly wrapped.

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I have to cut the hock end off of a country ham in order for it to fit in my roasting pan. I use a well washed cross cut saw, but a hack saw works as well. I save the hock raw for cooking beans or bean soup. I cook the rest of the ham (the usual wash, soak, change water routine) in the turkey roaster on top of the stove for about 4 or 5 hours until internal temp hits 165 or so. I put the ham on a small wire rack to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the roaster and put about 2 inches of water in the roaster and cook it at a simmer.

I cut the cooked ham up into portion sized chunks and vacuum pack it, it keeps beautifully frozen.

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  • 4 weeks later...
is this aged ham too salty to have as a steak?  is that why it has to be sliced thin?  is it tender?  is it spongy juicy like the stuff from tins?

Most definitely not the spongy stuff from tins, and when I'm describing it too people I use that example to illustrate the difference. The canned item is pink, flabby, and waterlogged. Country ham is dark, firm, and fine-grained.

There are two ways to serve country ham: sliced (like a steak) and heated in a skillet (which will make it buckle and curl). You don't need to add any fat, of course, but I typically rinse the slices in water to remove surface salt crystals, and that moisture helps in the skillet. The resulting texture is quite firm, a bit like the meaty part of strip bacon, or Canadian/peameal bacon. The flavor is strong, and usually fairly salty. If you find it's too salty you can soak the slices in water for few minutes before cooking, but be careful you don't turn it into waterlogged mush.

Country hams may also be baked, resulting in a much more tender but still very highly flavored product.

The slicing thin aspect of serving it has to do with the fact that it is so highly flavored that a little goes a long way, and none of wants to waste something so lovely. It is also fairly salty, and I tend to undersalt whatever I'm serving with it, and make a point of serving contrasting flavors like bitter (greens), sour (pickles), and bland (grits).

Can you pee in the ocean?

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