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May 1, 2006 02:48 PM

Found: Perfect Chemical Free Ham: at Wholefoods

  • n

Wholefoods is stocking what seems to me to be the perfect ham - Beeler's Uncured Boneless ham has everything going for it. Not too salty, not too sweet, no waste at all, perfect texture, perfect smoky hammy flavor. Here's what the label says: all natural half ham (3# plus), natural juices, fully cooked, hickory smoked, all natural, no preservatives - no nitrates, animals raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Do you need preservatives in ham? Well, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this baby has sat in the back of my fridge (vacuum packed) for 2 months. This morning I used it cut into 1/2" chunks to make a huge pot of red beans and rice (along with TJ's chicken breasts, also chunked) and still have quite a bit of this beautiful ham left over for some croque monsieur sandwiches with gruyere cheese. As I type this I can still smell that smoky ham rising up from my fingers - even though I washed my hands! Here's the best part: what a bargain, considering it's Whole Foods - about $5.50 a pound.

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  1. Someone who posts on several cooking boards I inhabit on AOL is part of the Beeler clan. Julie has said that they're working hard to get Beeler products into many stores throughout the U.S. I'm not sure if it's made it to the New England Whole Foods yet, but I will definitely look for it - thanks, Niki! I've heard lots of good about their products; it's good to hear another ringing endorsement.

    Some info, since their website isn't up and running yet:



    Link: http://www.beelerspurepork.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Linda W.
      Melanie Wong

      While the homepage says under construction, other parts of Beeler's site are working.

      Link: http://www.beelerspurepork.com/produc...

    2. My kids wouldn't eat ham until I fed them Beeler's. Now they beg me to put it in their scrambled eggs. My daughter will only eat my homemade Macaroni & Cheese if it has Beeler Ham in it. And if you think the ham is good, try the bacon and the sausage.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Kathleen
        Niki Rothman

        Your kids have good taste! I found Beeler's ham completely by accident. I usually never shop at Whole Foods because I think I can usually find similar products at lower prices elsewhere. But some things they sell are really hard to find elsewhere. SF chowhounds gave me a tip that Whole Foods had hard to find 8 pound turkeys (I have a little rotisserie - and that's its weight limit). And while waiting for the turkey at the meat counter the hams caught my eye and I started thinking how I would eat more ham if I could find one without the dreaded nitrates. When I looked at the Beeler's ham I could not believe that the price was so low ($5.50#) given I was in Whole Foods.
        Thanks for the tip about the bacon and sausage. Does Whole Foods sell them? What kinds of sausages does Beeler's produce?

        1. re: Niki Rothman

          Beeler's produces Breakfast Sausage in both mild and hot as well as Brats and Italian Sausage. I buy it at Yoke's here in Eastern Washington, but they only carry the mild Breakfast Sausage.

          1. re: Kathleen
            Niki Rothman

            I would absolutely love some preservative-free bratwursts. Think I will search online for a Beeler's website - and find out where they sell the sausages in the Bay Area. Also call Whole Foods.

            1. re: Niki Rothman

              Not in your usual migration path, but Dittmars in Mountain view would have preservative-free bratwursts.

              Thanks for the ham heads-up. It is a drag going to the Penninsula to get a decent ham.

              1. re: Niki Rothman

                I don't think Bratwurst usually has preservatives in it. Maybe I only see a certain grade of sausages but bratwurst is usually pretty clean. You might have more of a problem finding bratwurst to your taste in general.

                1. re: wally
                  Niki Rothman

                  The bratwurst I prefer will have a hint of nutmeg in it.

                  1. re: Niki Rothman

                    I will keep my eyes (tongue?)out.

        2. Is it precooked & you are heating it or do you actually cook the whole thing 1st?

          1 Reply
          1. re: pamd
            Niki Rothman

            It's pre-cooked. So, you can just open the package cut it up for sandwiches or whatever. Or you can use it as an ingredient in a dish you will cook. But one thing, I would not further cook this ham at a high temp or for a long time, as you would toughen the perfect texture and dilute the lovely smokiness. But, of course, you might want to quickly fry/ brown it for something like ham n' eggs. But if I was going to use it in something like a pea soup, I would add it right at the end to preserve the flavor and texture.

          2. n
            Niki Rothman

            Ironically, only a few hours after discovering "the perfect chemical-free ham at Wholefoods" the dream is over! It had been a very satisfying day of snacking & cooking with Beeler's delicious all natural ham, as well as chatting about it here. You chowhounds told me that you too loved Beelers, and that they made other, equally delicious natural meat products. So of course I was moved to give Wholefoods a call to find out what other meaty Beeler's treats they stocked.

            When I got Wholefood's meat manager on the phone he informed me of the tragic news that Wholefoods has decided to no longer stock Beeler's meats. He didn't know why. So, I called the other Wholefoods here in San Francisco and got the same story. As this is a very recent decision, the stores still have some hams, sausages and bacon on the shelves, but once these are gone, that's it, period, end of story. So, as soon as I can, I'm heading over to my local Wholefoods to snag a few of the last remaining (perfect!) Beeler's hams.

            Today I'm going to call Wholefoods and get the number of their corporate headquarters and see if I can find out the back-story. I also emailed Beeler's yesterday to find other retailers in my area that stock their meat products. I'll report back here when I have more information. Until then, rush to your local Wholefoods and stock up!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Niki Rothman

              Wow.. i feel a sense of losss for something I haven't even had yet...

              It is just so hard to find decent meat anymore , especially pork!

              1. re: PenskeFan

                me too. I was looking forward to it. It's not so easy for a jewish girl to find ham- still learning about it since I didn't grow up with it. Let me know what you find out!

              2. re: Niki Rothman
                Robert Lauriston

                Have you tried the Niman nitrite-free ham?

                1. re: Niki Rothman

                  "Spoke" via Email to the person I know who married into the Beeler clan and works for the company - and she said Whole Foods will continue to carry their products. She's not sure why WF told you this info.

                  The only thing that is no longer being sold by WF will be Beeler's Breakfast sausage. The large boneless ham is seasonal, but the smaller sized one is available year round.

                  1. re: Linda W.

                    True, I just got a confirmation from Whole Foods that the hams will be available.