Few things are as timeless and southern as a country ham. Gone are the days of considering it a blue-collar staple that is too often overcooked, squashed between biscuit halves or served swimming in red-eye gravy. Today, country ham has found its place among the finest European cured meats and is served at ritzy restaurants as thinly sliced charcuterie or as a garnish on pricey appetizers. The makings of every country ham are the same—hogs, salt and smoke—but these hams undergo an aging process that is no less demanding, varied and fine-tuned than the process for aging America’s finest whiskeys—which, by the way, pair wonderfully with paper-thin-sliced country ham! Get the rub on the history of curing pigs in the Country Ham Belt from food writer Steve Coomes, who consults the best in the ham-making business on everything to do with this salty, southern delicacy.
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