This is a whole Sandridge smoked gammon on the bone – which provides the best flavour but is slightly more tricky to carve. Approximately 9kg.
Old-fashioned whole Sandridge smoked gammon is cured on the farm to a traditional recipe from it’s own pigs, and is described as “The finest British cured pork” by food critic, Tom Parker-Bowles.
These gammons (uncooked hams) are as traditional as it is possible to get. The Keen family breed the pigs on Sandridge farm in Wiltshire, where they have farmed for many generations. Following in his father’s footsteps, Roger Keen grows mostly grain on just over 300 acres. This grain, together with the leftover portion of milk from cheese-making, provides a natural diet free of artificial hormones, growth promoters or routine antibiotic feed additives. 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.
How it’s made
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. Afterwards, the sides hang for two further days, settling down. Only then, after nearly three weeks of treatment, is the 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.