As a curemaster, you can bet I’ll be eating an Easter ham for the holiday. In today’s modern world of climate control, we can produce hams year round. But back when my Pop-Pop started the business, the Easter ham was the first ham of the season.
People called it a “Corned Ham”; ham just barely cured with salt or even salt and sugar, because it was still so mild and sweet. Sometimes it hadn’t even been smoked yet. It didn’t have any of those complex flavor notes that make a dry cured ham so special and it didn’t even look like one of our dry cured hams.
Probably thanks to those memories, people typically buy our honey glazed spiral sliced ham, otherwise known as a “city ham” for Easter. We also have what my Dad calls a “tender smoked” ham. The “tender” part evokes that mild sweet, juicy ham that is typical of the young ham.
I compare the city hams to a mild fresh cheese, and country hams are more like a cheese like parmesan or something that has had the time to develop the luxurious and complex flavors that come with age. Admittedly we do sell quite a few of the aged hams for Easter now too, but the tradition really is for that younger, juicy ham, glazed and baked.
And what do I eat that with? Well, being from Virginia, I am most likely to have it with Collards, or Kale, preferably cooked with a nice chunk of pork, like bacon or jowlciale! Yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, and applesauce are really good with that too. Oh, and pickles! I don’t know why, but I just love good pickled anything with my city ham. The sweet and the tart, I guess. Anyway, that’s Easter at the Edwards’ house, and I hope you all will enjoy something just as good!
Till next time!
Sam Edwards III