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Dec 1, 2006 08:01 AM


I am trying to find the best ham and bacon available. I got a catalog from EARLY'S and it looks good, but I have no idea which is the best.

We ordered the GREENBERG Smoked Turkey last year on a tip from CH and we absolutely loved it, and are ordering again this year.

Any other great catalog or web sources are welcome.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. What kind of ham: wet cured or country? Makes a huge difference. A lot of people think they love country ham but don't.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      Wow, those are distinctions I don't have. Can someone explain the differences to a northern city girl?

    2. We had the best serrano ham in Granada, Spain this past year.

      1. Jamon iberico is supposed to be available in the US this year. I haven't seen it yet, but I'd look for that.

        1. I think that Karl S question is very important. I have tried several styles of ham and realized that even the most highly rated country hams are too salty or strong for me. Same with bacon.

          I have been happy with some of the styles of ham and bacon that I got from Burgers Smokehouse. One of the advantages that they have is that you can buy say a couple of slices of country ham steaks, city ham steaks and various styles of bacon and see for your self what you would like.


          6 Replies
          1. re: pp48

            The next question is "best ham for what purpose".

            Jamon iberico is probably the "finest" artisanal ham, even superior to Parma or San Daniele ham. But you wouldn't eat a slab of it as a main course for dinner. Ditto most country hams: they are so intense that they are more often eaten in small portions.

            I very much second the kudos for Burgers Smokehouse for its hound-friendly approach to learning what you might like and not like.

            1. re: pp48

              Country ham really isn't something to be eaten on it's own without quite a bit of preparation. However, after preparation I've had some really good country ham. There's a whole lot of boiling and water changes involved...

              Then it's tasted pretty good when I've had it.

              1. re: therealbigtasty

                Serious country-ham freaks will argue that point with you; to them, the best way to eat it is to cut off a slice and cook it in a skillet, then make red-eye gravy and eat it with grits, biscuits and eggs. I agree, it is pretty salty and stout that way. I much prefer it boiled and baked myself.

                I have used raw country ham as a substitute for prosciutto, and like that much better than when it's fried from raw. I've devised a dish I call Tennessee Straw & Hay, basically white and green fettucini with slivers of saute├ęd country ham, onion, mushrooms and peas in a cream reduction. Pretty good.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  That's pretty intense. I slice it off and use it for seasoning, but could never just eat it by itself unless it's had some of the salt out of it.

                  But a good American country ham is a really amazing thing.

                  What about sausage gravy and biscuits, I wonder?

                  I'm going to make a post.

                  1. re: therealbigtasty

                    We pick up an Edwards boneless country ham about this time every year, and it keeps us in ham biscuits well into the next year. Yes, it's salty, but it's supposed to be.

                  2. re: Will Owen

                    Good one, Will. Also try Spaghetti Carbonara (what a surprise) with julienned unsmoked country ham. The extra saltiness is an asset.

                    Both Burger's Smokehouse and Benton's have unsmoked versions.

                    The cob smoked bacon from Harrington's and Lawrence's (both in VT) is really awesome, especially thickly sliced, but I'm not a big fan of their hams (brined):



              2. I really like Nueske's apple-smoked bacon, particularly their pepper-coated bacon. And if you like fully-cooked rather than country hams, then Nueske's ham is quite good.


                3 Replies
                  1. re: Atomica

                    Yes. Golden Gate Meats in the Ferry Building sells Nueske's bacon. I don't think that they sell the pepper bacon, though.

                    1. re: Atomica

                      You can get Nueske's by mail order.