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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?