RECOMMENDATIONS needed for a good, aged COUNTRY HAM

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mikelm, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. mikelm

    mikelm

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    For decades, we've ordered our Christmas ham from Esicar's Smokehouse in Cape Girardeau MO, but a few years ago they retired and closed after only 73 years in business, We found Colonel Newsome's Hams in Princeton, KY and have been pretty well pleased, but some negative reviews have cropped up recently, and I thought we might benefit from some others' experience.

    We want a whole country ham-  salt-cured, smoked, and peppered and hung at least one year. We'll need to have them cook it, since we no longer have the huge pot required to cook a whole ham properly. For whatever reason, the ham people are emphatic that the ham must be completely  submerged as you simmer it for five or six hours.

    We've had them from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia (think Smithfield which is an industrial-scale product, but good), Kentucky, and Missouri, and would consider any of these. Just don't suggest Vermont where, I've read, they smoke them over corncobs. We're just not up for that; we're too used to hickory

    We're just fine with "Tough as a drill Sergeant's boot" the motto of Lambert's Cafe,  a nice restaurant in Sikeston, MO which features country ham on their menu. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif  

    Thanks in advance as always for your help.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  2. maryb

    maryb

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  3. alaminute

    alaminute

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    I've used Benton's on numerous occasions and it is truly a superior product. It's like soft prosciutto.
     
  4. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Mary and 'minute-

    Thank you both.

    That Benton's ham certainly looks right, and the price is quite reasonable.  I'm going to order a sample tomorrow and if that goes well, I'll be back for a ham.

    I'm still open for suggestions, though, so if you have another source, I'd really like to hear about it.

    Mike
     
  5. teamfat

    teamfat

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  6. maryb

    maryb

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    I have used Benton twice, good stuff. I am sure there are better but at what price?
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I want one too! I want it from virginia!
     
  8. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Well, Koukou'

    As I said, Smithfield Hams are widely available and quite good.  Those Edwards hams look nice, but seem pretty pricey. All my life, I've liked 'em salty, long-hung, and tough. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif   You slice them paper-thin like prosciutto or about a quarter-inch thick for pan-frying and serve with red-eye gravy.  That's made by deglazing the pan with fresh, very strong black coffee.  This goes best with a little butter over grits. 

    We'll make a southern girl out of you yet!

    Mike
     
  9. lagom

    lagom

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  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Well guess what I grew up in Virginia so /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif  I am a southern girl!  Here's the proof:


    I have NEVER seen a country ham here in NY so I'll have to order one.  How long does it last and I need to find something to do with it other than red eye gravy.  We used to slice it thin and eat it on sandwiches.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  11. mikelm

    mikelm

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    O...O...O...O...O...O...OH Koukou'... you seem to know something about fried chicken!

    What time is dinner?

    We both grew up south of the Mason-Dixon Line, so we're fellow sort-of Southerners. (Missouri and Maryland for me.) I used to spend summers with my aunt in Fredericksburg.

    They've already cured the bejeezus out of a real country ham, so it will last as long as you want it to.  We have it for Christmas dinner, then keep it in the fridge (or out on the porch, in that season) and knaw on it for two months or so. Then  I slice up what's left into thin sandwich-ready slices and dice the lumpy parts for the best ham salad you will ever taste.  We freeze all this; nowadays we vac-pack it into serving-size packages. I've got one or two pacs from last year's ham still in the freezer- it is just fine. The hambone goes into a really large vat of split-pea soup, which is also portioned and frozen. These things are expensive, but they're a no-waste proposition.

    For sandwiches, we use slices of a favorite bread with mayo and a leaf of lettuce on each, LOTS of ham, a thin slice of mild cheese like swiss, a very thin slice of mild onion, and a little spicy mustard. You want some complimentary flavors, but nothing to the point that gets in the way of the ham flavor.

    Mike
     
  12. teamfat

    teamfat

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  13. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Well, that's sort of a drag...

    Went to Benton's website and decided to order a small sample of the smoked, aged ham for eight bucks. Not until I put my shipping address in did I learn that would also cost me a little over $16 for shipping. I assume Mr. Benton will personally walk it up here to

    Chiacgo and hand it to me.

    May just go by the reviews and get a ham- but God knows what the freight on that will be.

    Mike /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Thank you /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif   This was from a few months ago.  Of course fried chicken is available everywhere in the south, but my mother only cooked it once a year on my birthday.  Fried chicken used to be my favorite food in the whole world.  
     
  15. maryb

    maryb

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  16. mikelm

    mikelm

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    "Fried chicken used to be my favorite food in the whole world."

    Well, I discovered Missouri country ham when I was four years old, and it's still my  favorite food in the whole world!

    Mike /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif
     
  17. maryb

    maryb

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    Modern water cured hams are tasteless blobs of salt. I don't care for the texture even. A picnic ham I can live with, more flavor but still that water logged texture that just turns me off compared to the country ham I ate as a kid. Grandpa always had a couple hams aging in his smokehouse back in a spot away from the heat. So every time he made a batch of sausage or bacon the hams got a little bit smokier. After 12 months he would bring one in for a holiday meal. I miss that flavor but the price of the dry aged hams is just to high.
     
  18. mikelm

    mikelm

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  19. mikelm

    mikelm

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    OK, Mary and 'minute...

    Your reputations are on the line!

    I just ordered an aged, smoked whole ham from Benton's for our Christmas table centerpiece. It better be good !

    In six weeks or so, we'll know.

    Mike  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  20. maryb

    maryb

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    LOL if they are as good as they were in the past you will like it. Follow the cooking directions carefully or it will be way to salty for many. I would save some uncooked slices off it for pan frying for breakfast!