There’s no end to the magic of Tennessee country ham.
Our friend Bob Woods of The Hamery in Murfreesboro, TN, is a patient guy who knows the importance of a light touch and plenty of patience. The Hamery’s state fair grand champion country hams have been spreading Tennessee umami around the South for decades. Bob’s hams are magic. One small bite and POW, the flavor just explodes in your mouth.
UT’s Institute of Agriculture did an interesting video about Bob’s country hams. Watch it here.
Hams that are salted, smoked, and air cured for 9 to 12 months was the way to preserve the meat in the refrigerator-less days. For generations Southerns have been serving thin-sliced country ham on holiday sideboards or pan-fried ham steaks with, biscuits, red-eye gravy, grits, and eggs. More recently chefs and restaurants have picked up the scent and become nearly evangelical about aged hams. Enjoyed any Benton’s bacon or ham lately? It’s on menus everywhere.
The step beyond country ham is Italian-style prosciutto, or ‘Tennshootoe’ from the Hamery, country ham aged for 18 or more months. As Bob says, you put some salt on a ham in Italy and some salt on a ham in Tennessee and you get a similar product. The flavors in Tennshootoe are even more intense than a country ham so super-thinly sliced pieces are best. Serve Tennshootoe with fresh melon or white asparagus. And be prepared for the POW.
Don’t forget to make a batch of our Angel Biscuits to serve that ham on. Fantastic.