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Aug 22, 2009 02:33 PM

Cold smoked fresh ham

While visiting my parents recently I had the best ham I'd ever tasted. I talked to the butcher my mother got the ham from, and he told me that it was cold-smoked for 24 hours, but that it was still about 50% raw, so that it had to be cooked. He told me that in the winter, he makes hams that are smoked for 5 days and are 100% raw.

The end result (after cooking) was very different from the wet, rubbery, pink hams you normally see. It was a little drier, and much more flavourful. It had a real 'meat' texture that you don't usually get from 'city' hams.

I've asked around at a few butchers, and none seem to know what I'm talking about. Has anyone seen something like this available around Toronto? Unfortunately, my parents live far away from Toronto, so I can't just go to their butcher.

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  1. There is definitely a market for country hams in GTA. There may be some Mennonite butchers who do this style of smoking, but you would have to ask a lot of questions, as you did. Where is your parent's butcher shop?
    Staedtlander is cold smoking, but that is too pricey and esoteric for most of us.
    Prosciutto from Niagara is available, and close to a country ham.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jayt90

      My parents got this ham in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia, of all places. It was smoked by OH Armstrong, but the butcher makes his own in the cold months.
      Where do I find mennonite butchers? Do I have to go to waterloo?
      This ham was really different from prosciutto. It seemed really raw, until we cooked it.
      Staedtlander used to do a meat sale in a garage in Forest Hills in Nov or Dec. I wonder if something like that still happens. It's an idea, but I don't want to wait so long!

      1. re: Dimbulb

        Second this recommendation. Last Easter, I purchased just such a ham, and it was excellent. I have never eaten a better ham.

        Edit: I just thought I should mention that the people from Fresh from the Farm bring their meats in from the Kitchener/Waterloo area, from Mennonite family farms. The ham I purchased must have been at least 10 pounds, and it was definitely mostly raw before I put it in the oven. The resulting ham was very meaty, not rubbery, though it was still moist. I used a meat thermometer to ensure I didn't overcook it.

      2. I hesitated to mention this source because they are expensive, compared to the prices nearer to the farms, and the products are frozen and wrapped in butcher paper, difficult to assess.
        There is no mention of cold smoked hams in the price list.

        A year ago I had a ham from Frey's Custom Meats, Mount Forest. It was conventionally smoked, but they may be able to cold smoke to order. There is no website, as they are old order Mennonites.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90

          Frey's can do this.

          Call Alice to see if they have a ham, loin, or shoulder ready, or if you need to procure from nearby sources, such as

        2. VG Meats, Simcoe ON has a country ham that was a prize winner earlier this year.
          I don't know if they still have some, or if it is a regular item, but it is worth checking out.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jayt90

            If anyone can do it in the City, it is Milbree Viking. They will do custom smoking. Also, you can bring in your own product (fish, meat) and they will smoke it for a fee.


            1. re: acd123

              Yes, that is a great recommendation. Just follow your nose there. Can't recall seeing large hams there, but they do have a wonderful selection of fish, turkey, chicken, bacon, and cold cut-style ham.

            2. re: jayt90

              I'd definately second the V.G. Meats suggestion, although a good drive from Downtown (1.5hrs).
              At this time of year there are all kinds of goodies in this general area. Never had any trouble finding this type of ham, maybe it's a rural vs. city thing because there are 3 or 4 other butchers in close proximity who also sell this type of ham. Norfolk County is a dream for local, qualtiy foods. Maybe Im a little predjudiced though.

              1. re: NorfolkGuy

                Your prejudice is fine. My wife is from Simcoe. It's great to pick up stuff at all the local vegetable stands and the local butchers.

                Townsend butchers is another I've tried and enjoyed their products.

              2. re: jayt90

                Looks good. Do you know if they have a local distributor. What's the easiest way to get one of their hams in Toronto?

              3. It may be harder to find smaller butchers who do their own smoking these days: