Questions about ordering from Benton's Ham
I am planning to order some ham from Benton in TN. I read through the website as well as most previous CH postings on Benton, but still have a few questions and hope somone can shed some light:
- I saw that they have pre-sliced and whole ham. Whole ham seems to be too much for me, but I am worried that pre-sliced means worse cut. How are the quality of the pre-sliced ham? Are they sliced really thick?
- Does the whole ham require refridgeration? I am afraid it will take up my whole fridge!
- How about prosciutto? Are they also sliced really thick or thin?
- I saw some threads regarding late shipment / no reply to emails from Benton. Is it still the case?
Any other recommendations / watch outs?
Your help and inputs will be greatly appreciated!
While I have never ordered from Benton, I have bought country hams before. I understand that Benton is one of the best.
They do not require refrigeration assuming that you plan to use the ham within 3 months or so. Just leave it in a reletively cool place. Once prepared you can freeze leftovers or the keep them in the fridge for at least a week. The bone and the hamhock are great for soups.
Preparation requires soaking the ham to rehydrate it. I have found that boiling also removes some of the salt so if you purchase a whole ham and want to boil it you will need a large pot (at least a 5 gallon stockpot).
I would bet the slices for the ham are pretty thin and would hope the same for the prosciutto.
The flavor is quite different from a city ham so ordering a small quantity of the pre-sliced might not be a bad idea in case you don't care for it. They are also very salty so I usually serve them thinly sliced on bread or biscuits to cut the saltiness a bit. That said I love country hams. Nothing compares to the flavor of well aged pork.
You may wish to check out Clifty (Tenn.) country hams, which offers a half-ham.. I have no connection with any ham company, but have found Clifty hams very good. (BTW. some ham buyers on CH don't know this, but you're probably aware country hams need a bit of preparation before putting in the oven.)