Country Ham Dinner

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Country Ham Dinner

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:26 am

My brother-in-law gave me a whole Tennessee country ham for Christmas. So, one day, in the not too distant future, I will be making a big family dinner from it. I think I have the preparation and cooking of the ham figured out, but was wondering about sides and even, perhaps a wine pairing. Any ideas?
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:13 pm

Ham is usually salty so dry reds are a tough match. Try whites and roses with as much acidity and/or rs as you've got.

I think the acid-or-sweet match carries over to the sides:
- While the ham is in the oven, throw in some acorn squash or sweet potatoes; finish with a sweet glaze or maybe just dried apricots restored in a little madeira.
- Definitely offer chutney or cranberry sauce, in addition to mustard.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Jenise » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:20 pm

Howie, I understand what constitutes a city ham vs. a country ham in Georgia (thanks to Alton Brown). Does the same rule apply in Tennessee?
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Carl Eppig » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:01 pm

Soaking for a couple of days helps a lot to give the ham moisture and remove salt. We just had a slice of it this morning with waffles. I took it out of the freezer and put it in cold water for an hour (it was a very thin slice) and then gentle sautéed it in butter.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:52 pm

Jenise - I've never heard of "city ham", but country hams are produced in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Perhaps other places also. The hams are designed to outlive Twinkees, as they are very dry and salty. Mine is now wrapped in a cotton gauze, hanging in my pantry.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Jenise » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:59 pm

Okay, so yours is like a Smithfield ham. I understand what that means and am definitely on Jeff's wavelength regarding wine choices here. A young and fruity new world pinot noir would probably be your best choice if not having a red is unthinkable.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Country ham is a variety of cured ham, typically very salty. Country ham is first mentioned in print in 1944, referring to a method of curing and smoking done in the rural parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and other nearby southern states. Virginia ham is a country ham produced in Virginia[1] (including the more-precisely-defined Smithfield ham); whereas "VA Style" refers to a curing style, not a location.
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_ham
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Lou Kessler » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:35 pm

A decent sparkling CA wine or Brut Champagne matches very well with the type of ham you're describing.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Dale Williams » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:35 pm

We usually eat country ham for breakfast, not dinner, but I think bubbly would be my first choice.
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:00 am

Would also go with either a rose or a bubbly for wine.

When you first posted this and mentioned side dishes, I immediately thought of German potato salad. I keep trying to thing of other things but that one won't get out of my head.

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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:01 am

I grew up eating Smithfield ham in ham biscuits, mmm.

We generally had sweetened iced tea with it.

Country hams are also made in Spain, France, Italy, etc. where they are called by a variety of names...
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:34 am

Folks, be very careful about Smithfield Farms. It was once a respected artisanal ham producer, but it's a classic case of corporate growth. It's now one of the Fortune Top 100 companies, and a horrible example of all that's wrong with mega-corporate agribusiness. Steer clear of the Smithfield brand and look for artisan hams from small regional producers (like Kentucky's Finchville Farm or Broadbent or dozens more from the national country-ham belt).

http://www.theecologist.org/investigati ... ories.html
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Re: Country Ham Dinner

Postby Jenise » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:08 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Jenise - I've never heard of "city ham", but country hams are produced in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Perhaps other places also. The hams are designed to outlive Twinkees, as they are very dry and salty. Mine is now wrapped in a cotton gauze, hanging in my pantry.


A city ham would be of the cooked/baked vs. air-dried variety.
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