Country Smoked Aged Virginia Ham

These traditional Southern Virginia country hams represent the finest in premium Virginia cuisine. Patiently hickory smoked and aged  4 months – with a mild salty and sweet and smoke flavor profile – Edwards' country hams are award winning charcuterie and icons of Southern Food culture. Unlike a typical Smithfield ham, these hams are not as intensely salty.

By way of Virginia ham history, the early colonists developed a process of smoking pork over hickory and oak fires, after rubbing it with salt obtained from evaporating seawater, then allowing the meat to stand for a period of time. The salt preserved the meat, the smoking and aging enhanced the flavor. When other crops failed or tobacco prices fell, there were always hams to trade; thus, Virginia hams were exported to England from Surry. For generations, ham curing has been a seasonal event for Virginia farmers. Hogs were killed in the winter and their meat packed in salt while the weather was cool enough to keep it from spoiling. The meat then was rinsed and hung to dry and smoke during the remaining cool months. With luck, it would endure the high temperatures of summer age.

The ham is fully cooked, so recipes for its preparation may include heating the ham, but never require cooking it. To enhance the delicate flavor of the cooked ham, you must slice it “almost paper thin” using a long, sharp knife. Country Hams are easier to slice at room temperature.  Please secure country hams properly and carefully to avoid personal injury while slicing.

Some preparation ideas:

Country Ham with Gravy – Sauté country ham slices in a hot skillet. Remove from pan and add about 1/2 cup water or black coffee. Simmer about 3 minutes, while stirring to collect drippings. Serve over ham slices with hot biscuits and grits.

Party Rolls – Mix softened butter with Dijon mustard. Blend with brown sugar, ground cinnamon and cloves to taste. Spread on tiny yeast rolls and stuff with thinly sliced ham. Heat in foil.

Crab and Country Ham – Top thinly sliced ham with fresh crabmeat. Heat in a covered baking dish. Optional: Top each serving with your favorite creamy sauce or fruity salsa. Or serve on toasted English muffins.

Fruit In A Jacket – Wrap thin strips of ham around melon chunks, fresh figs, pear slices, or cheese-stuffed dates. Secure with toothpicks.

Ham Ceasar Salad – Add thin sliced ham strips to a savory Ceasar Salad.

Sweet Blue Cheese and Ham– Spread softened bleu cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with thinly sliced ham and drizzle with honey.

Chicken Cordon Bleu – Butterfly a plump boneless breast and stuff with ham slices and your favorite white cheese. Brush with olive oil and chopped herbs. Wrap with bacon and bake.

Or see this interesting recipe with eggs, cream and spinach.

As always, there are many possible ideas and we would love to hear about your favorite.

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