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Where To Buy Smithfield Country Ham ((NEW))

Virginia Country Ham is our specialty at Smithfield Marketplace. You can choose from our main Virginia ham selections. Sweet Cure Hams are not cured with salt and have a milder, sweeter taste. Country Hams are a traditional Virginia Ham cured with salt, and the Genuine Smithfield Ham is a country ham with a longer cure time that has a more robust taste.

where to buy smithfield country ham

These four are the only packing companies that cure hams in the famous old Smithfield process and the only ones allowed to used the word Smithfield to describe this local specialty. I had never, of course, seen so many hams before. The precious load of strong-flavored Virginia hams is suspended over the smoke room, where a large steel drum filled with hardwood smuged with hickory sawdust creates clouds of smoke nightly, then semiweekly, then finally weekly to produce the proper flavor during the six months hams must be aged in order to bear the Smithfield name.

Country ham differs from modern "city" ham-which is soaked in brine for tenderness-in the depth and strength of its salty flavor and its dry texture. Since World War II, the popularity of country hams has waned as the meat has been replaced by a variety of easy-to-prepare store-bought hams. The country hams of Smithfield, N.C., and Smithfield, Va., however, have traditionally vied for the title of best ham in the region. The Ham and Yam Festival in Smithfield, N.C., began in 1986 as a contest between these hams, but after the North Carolina hams took first place eight years in a row, the competition (although not the festival) was discontinued.

Country hams may still be purchased at most North Carolina grocery stores, although better selection is available through a variety of mail-order and Internet merchants. Johnston County Hams of Smithfield is one of the leading producers of country hams in the state. Phillips Brothers Country Ham, Inc., of Asheboro is a family-owned business dating to 1947. One of the state's largest pork retailers, the company was awarded the National Country Ham Association's grand champion award in 2004.

"Anybody can make a ham," said Jennifer England, director of the local museum, where pig fanciers can keep tabs on a ham cured in 1902 via the online "Ham Cam." "But a Smithfield ham can only come from within the town itself."

The huge meatpacking plants on the edge of town slaughter more than 10,000 hogs per day. On a hot summer afternoon, the sickly sweet smell of the plants settles on the little downtown, where the most modern houses are Victorian confections and some buildings have been absorbing hog aroma since before the Revolution.

There is plenty of ham still coming from Smithfield Foods, the world's biggest pork producer. Some of it is even salty - Virginia ham and country ham are generic types produced by many companies. But they are not genuine Smithfield hams.

A Smithfield ham is long-cut, with loin attached. Most country hams are short-cut. Old-timers will tell you the curing process - high in the smokehouse rafters over a long, sweltering summer - creates particular amino acids and salt deposits as the moisture disappears from the meat.

Hurt, the retired history teacher, remembers people sharing hams on Sundays. "Growing up, you could always tell one farmer's ham from another's. There were subtle differences. A ham cured in Suffolk or somewhere else just doesn't taste the same," she said.

Some old-fashioned producers remain in the surrounding countryside. Edwards hams are well-known in nearby Surry County, though a smokehouse fire caused a shortage a few years ago. Felts hams are big in Southampton County.

Where do you buy Smithfield-style Country Ham in the San Francisco Bay Area? A year and two days ago when I posted this, I could not find Smithfield Ham, or anything like it, anywhere. Today I was at Boulette's Larder enquiring after Jersey milk. [No, they didn't have it and I can't find it for sale anywhere, hmmph, because I wanted to make some clotted cream, cos I am sick of not being able to buy it in America]. Anyway, back to the ham.Not only do I miss English clotted cream (there I go again), I hanker after a spot of decent ham from time to time too. In Boulette's Larder I spied a ham behind the counter that looked like just the ticket. None of that watery square-sliced rubbish, and no smokeyness either. I bought some for a lunchtime sandwich. It was a little, tiny bit too salty for me. But still it was a joy after so long in the ham wilderness. Too much salt is nowhere near as bad a) square shaped ham, b) smoked ham, c) watery ham, d) processed ham, e) Spam.The ham at Boulette's Larder is WG White's country ham from North Carolina. It is not true 'Smithfield ham', but it's a better ham than most I've come across around here.Bay Area Ham Sandwich Resources:Rustic Bun from AcmeUnsalted butter from Straus at Cowgirl CreameryHot Mustard Voigt Family Secret RecipeBoulette's LarderThe Ferry Building Market PlaceSaturday Morning Farmers MarketArchive Alert! A year on I am still buy a dozen Marin Sun Farm eggs every week or two. Marin Sun Farms suffered devastating losses in recent floods, please give them your support. Food Eat Local Sandwiches Cheese Ferry Building San Francisco Ham 69

PS Sam: look for pork stores in Chinatown (the ones with half-pigs hanging inside where you can get -- my mouth is watering -- jacked-off chunks of just-roasted pork (with skin). Chinese dishes call for the same type of ham and so many retailers supply them with real Smithfield. Ask haddock.

PS Sam: look for pork stores in Chinatown (the ones with half-pigs hanging inside where you can get -- my mouth is watering -- hacked-off chunks of just-roasted pork (with skin). Chinese dishes call for the same type of ham and so many retailers supply them with real Smithfield. Ask haddock.

Ha! Trying to edit the "jacked-off" mention. Please help to neaten (ahem) this up to "hacked-off" and blame it on a Luddite who is right now dealing with glorious Monty Pythonisms emanating from her television set.PS Good luck on Jersey milk. My father insisted on it, we always lived where it was available from one dairy or another and -- oh, God, the ice cream. Knew that before clotted cream.

I'll second Kudzu's jacking off there. I see alleged Smithfield ham at New May Wah all the time. Or wait about a year and I should have some for you. We just got a pig Wednesday and I'm doing one of the foreleg country style. Unfortunately when they gambreled the hog they severed the feet on bothe the hind legs so I've got those brining for a fresh ham

Sam, I've made clotted cream a couple times with regular whipping cream. I don't suppose it has quite the sweetness of that made with Jersey milk, but it's good.As for the Smithfield hame being salty, they really don't use it for sandwiches in the region where it's made. They do, however, put it in biscuits with gravy, which is heavy but a tasty treat on occasion.Those Southerners do like their salt. ;+)

Yes, yes.As everyone has said already, try the Chinese markets.Ranch 99 in Daly City definitely has it.However, Smithfield is just a brand name. What you want to look for is "country-style" ham.I'd suggest finding other country-style hams... -country-hams-bacon.html...since Smithfield has an awful (let me emphasize, AWFUL) reputation when it comes to treatment of their workers.Yes, there are actually horror stories: Yes, all corporations are evil..blah, blah, blah, but now that you know Smithfield isn't the only producer of country-style ham, why not shop around?k.

Just the other day I noticed that Sunset Super, at 25th and Irving, has genuine Smithfield hams hanging high on the west wall of the meat department. I think they're Gwaltney's but don't recall exactly. Lucky Pork on Mission used to have them, but I seem to remember that the new owners dropped them.Smithfield hams are NOT the same as the typical 'country' hams. They're cured and aged for significantly longer than are typical 'country' hams.They're not like the ones I had as a child, though: In the '60s or '70s Virginia changed the law that had required 'Smithfield' labelled hams to be made only from hogs fed on peanuts. Oh well.

Dear Chris (and Sam and everybody),I wasn't totally convinced with your distinction between Smithfield and regular ol' country-style I asked an expert.This is what Mary Beth over at Southern Foodways Alliance ( ) had to say:"Kevin,Some of the Smithfield Hams are considered "country-style" hams (by Smithfield), but artisanal producers are going to offer you the best country ham. And artisanal producers will offer a drier, saltier ham. Though the term "country ham" may be used in both cases, I would argue that Smithfield is a pale shade of the real thing. Smithfield hams are only cured 6 mo-1 year, I think, while artisanal producers may cure as long as 2 years.If you're looking for good country ham, I recommend Alan Benton of Benton's Smoky Mountain Hams in Maryville, TN. It'll be the best ham you've ever had.He doesn't have a Web site, but call 423-442-5003 and tell him that Mary Beth Lasseter of the Southern Foodways Alliance recommended that you order from him. His ham is the best I've ever eaten...and I eat a lot in my job. :)Best,Mary Beth"Hope this helps.k.

Hey Sam!Just yesterday at work I unpacked a shipment from British Wholesale Imports that included jars of English Clotted Cream, so I know it can be found stateside.If you can't track any down where you are and the need gets desperate, drop me a line and maybe I can figure out how to ship the stuff. :-)

Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams sells what you're looking in a ham. They have no-smoke hams available, along with domestic prosciutto, and your typical smoked country hams. I think that they're one of the best country hams available on the market. Be sure to soak the ham for 2-3 days while changing the water every 12 hours. You don't have to refrigerate the ham while you're doing this, just put it in a cooler in the shade outside. Their web address is 041b061a72


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