Half Term Ham and Gammon

posted in: Catering, Pork & Ham | 0

Gavin has been cooking up some serious Hams for the half term masses. You can buy it by the slice at the deli counter, or as part of your ploughmans lunch (which also comes with homemade pork terrine, salad, tomatoes, pickles and sourdough bread).  The ham has been glazed in brown sugar and mustard.

If you are feeding a large gang over half term, then I would recommend getting a gammon.  They are incredibly good value and make the most delicious ham you can taste.  They come smoked or unsmoked (green) and in different sized joints.

You can get a small slipper joint (usually 1.5kg) or the larger gammons that our butcher can cut to whatever size you want. . They come from Sandridge Farmshouse who still make old-fashioned Wiltshire gammon that’s cured on the farm to a traditional recipe from their own pigs, described as “The finest British cured pork” according to Tom Parker-Bowles.

The Sandridge smoked slipper joint are incredible value and absolutely delicious.

These gammons (uncooked hams) are as traditional as it is possible to get. The pigs are bred on the farm by the Keen family who has farmed in Wiltshire for many generations. Following in his father’s footsteps Roger Keen grows mostly grain on just over 300 acres, this grain together with the left over portion of milk from cheese-making provides a natural diet free of artificial hormones, growth promoters or routine antibiotic feed additives, which is fed to the herd of 350 sows and young. Their pigs are mostly large White and Landrace breeds, which they cross with older breeds such as Gloucester Old Spot, Saddleback and Duroc, to get the best quality pork.

The sides to be smoked spend two days in a black chamber, with hardwood sawdust – mainly oak and beech – smouldering on the floor. This process of cold-smoking does not cook the meat, but gives it a delicious flavour, and afterwards the sides hang for two further days, settling down. Only then, after nearly three weeks of treatment, is smoked ham ready for sale.

At Sandridge, whole sides of pig are immersed for four or five days in large tanks of brine – a solution of salt and water. After their immersion, the sides are stacked in neat piles and left to dry for at least a week. Of course, they take up valuable space, and represent money doing nothing; but the delay is vital. This period of drying, airing and consolidation is just what mass-produced ham and bacon does not get, and it makes all the difference.