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Triangle: Need A Local Country Ham


Each year, we get a country ham for Christmas. In past years, we gotten ham from Loveless (Nashville) and the State Farmer's Market in Raleigh.

I know there are greal local farmers like Cane Creek and Brinkley's, to name just two. For a thread on local pig, check out: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3144...

Ham is about more than just pig, though. Starting out with a great pig is key, but after that, It's about aging and curing.

Are there any local artisanal producers of ham near the Triangle?

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  1. I don't know how "artisanal" Nahunta pork is, but it is local.

    They're at the Farmer's market (maybe it was the one you got before).

    1. Coon Rock Farm. See their website at coonrockfarm.com. You can see them at Farmers Markets, and they have a pick-up place in Raleigh at Zely and Ritz Tapas Restaurant.

      I think you're too late for country ham for Christmas from these folks, but I know they're currently taking orders for country ham for Easter.

      Historically, before I became consumed with eating only pasture-raised and fed, organic, antibiotic-hormone-free meat raised by caring farmers who slaughter their animals "humanely" I was willing to travel to Surry, VA to get my hams. Maybe I still could, now that I think of it, but I'm not sure.

      Edwards country hams from Surry are (in the opinion of this hillbilly north carolina farm-raised boy) literally the best country hams on earth. One of the reason is that they are peanut-fed.

      It's not a bad drive from here, and the trouble the trip causes you will also inform you as to the bona-fides of yer critter and let you know about the piece of ground he comes from. Or you could order it over the internet. . /grin.

      1. Tom, I can't talk about NC, but the best country ham you will ever find is in SE, VA. (a lot of peeps refer to country cured hams as "Va hams" for a reason). Call up R.M.Felts Packing Co. in Ivor Va. (757-859-6131) They will send you a wonderful ham or slab of bacon at prices you may not believe.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JRCann

          I just talked to Mr. Felt at R.M. Felts Packing. He was very polite and helpful and the ham was reasonably priced. Thank you for the tip, JRCann.

          I'm currently considering Felt's, A.B. Vannoy (based on the article from the eminent Kathleen Purvis), and Benton's Hams. Allan Benton is getting quite a bit of love from the foodie circles.
          I'll most likely chose an A.B. Vannoy ham. I'll be sure and report back.

          By the way, I ate at The Publican in Chicago this week. They serve country ham sliced paper thin like the Italians serve their ham. Very tasty indeed. I think I'll have my ham sliced in two pieces with a small portion reserved for slicing raw. After all, the meat is preserved in the curing and smoking process, so I feel it's safe.

          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

            Just got off the phone with Mr. Robby Felts of R. M. Felts. Thanks to CHOWers for introducing this producer to me. I would've NEVER found them without you guys.

            Current '11 holiday prices: $34 for "small" uncooked ham, 10-12 lbs. $3.89 for 1 lb of bacon. The bacon was listed by Art of Eating as a "fave" bacon: http://www.artofeating.com/resources.htm

            Johnston's 3MO cured uncooked ham is $58, Edward's 4MO cure (larger at 13-14 lbs) is $90.

            Super nice gent on the phone, I just hope it gets here in time. Felts advised the Portuguese population shaves the ham thin, uncooked, ala prosciutto. At $34, that is a LOT of prosciutto. I'm very excited. Going to cook these up Chinese honey ham sandwich style, eat them raw, and do it steak cut thick.

        2. They sell Johnston County Hams (whole, cooked at least, maybe also uncooked) at Southern Season and, obviously at their shop in Smithfield.

          Their website (www.countrycuredhams.com) has different varieties and lots of info on the process but nothing on the sourcing of the meat. With a longer lead time, I wonder if it would be possible for them to custom cure a raw ham of your choosing?

          2 Replies
          1. re: brokegradstudent

            For less than the price of the hams you recommend -- you can can get TWO 12-14 lb hams from RM Felts !!!

            1. re: JRCann

              and if you call them; PLEASE DON"T TELL THEM IT"S CHEAP.

          2. Nahunta Pork Center...get some sausage while you're there too.

            1. Try Stone Brothers & Byrd. They are actually a garden supply store in downtown Durham (next to the old Durham Bulls ballpak). They have been around since the 1920s IIRC so they also carry some esoteric country store type items.

              1. Try Stone Brothers & Byrd in downtown Durham near the old ballpark. They are a garden store that's been around since the 1920s IIRC so they also carry a some esoteric country store type items like country hams.

                1. I'd check with Eliza MacLean at Cane Creek Farm; I heard she's got someone working on curing some Ossabaw hams... but they won't be ready for quite awhile :(

                  BUT, she'll definitely know where to get a good one locally or semi-locally, fer sure

                  (and/or, ask Andrea at the Lantern in Chapel Hill)

                  1. After reading this thread, I mail ordered myself an Edwards country ham. I'm going to try Alton Brown's recipe, but I don't want to cook the whole thing...just the butt end. I want the shank and some center slices taken off first. Where in the triangle can I find a butcher who will do this for a reasonable fee? I guess I could get all medieval on it with a hack saw but I don't think the slices would be very uniform.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ncn8tive

                      Chances are if you have a local grocer nearby, if you ask them they'll probably slice it for you. If not, call Cliff's Meat Market in Carrboro and ask them if they will do it.

                    2. This is not near charlotte but I thought it may be of help to those looking for a quality ham in nc. great article as well


                      3 Replies
                        1. re: quazi

                          Thanks, Quazi and Lilyanna. (From the country ham writer.)

                          1. re: kathleen purvis

                            Thanks for writing the article- this was just what we were looking for!! We've got one ordered and on the way. Can't wait to read the next installment of your piece, which I hope includes tips on preparation.

                            I'm am now off to dig through the Good Eats DVDs to find the country ham episode.

                        2. I bought a ham from Cane Creek Farms for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to trying it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                            We roasted a whole, fresh ham of theirs at Thanksgiving. You won't be disappointed.

                            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                              The Cane Creek ham as just excellent! Not too salty. The thing I love about Cane Creek pork is that it tastes like meat is supposed to taste.

                            2. I second that recommendation for Johnston County Hams (http://www.countrycuredhams.com). They are a small family business and their pigs are also from a family farm and not some commercial production facility.

                              While you will find cheaper hams, I don't believe that you can find a better tasting ham anywhere - they've got a ton of great national press reviews. Men's Journal even named them one of the "100 Best Things to Eat in America".

                              If you can't tell, I grew up there in Smithfield and we are proud of our local ham heritage. As a kid they used to have an annual ham competition between Smithfield, NC and Smithfield, Va with big name judges from places like the New York Times. After beating them the first 8 or so years in a row the VA companies called it off. :)