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15 December 2012


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ahh. wonderful stuff -

salty, smelly, utterly addictive.

my father used to cure them, put them in a clean flour sack and hang them on the back porch.

i have some for every sunday breakdfast that i can talk my pennsylvania wife into cooking it. lately, she's even taken to nibbling a bit of mine.

one problem though.

where can I get the good stuff in virginia? kroger, safeway , and publix dont offer a lot of quality down here.

and a suggestion. bourbon sounds just fine with me, but some folks down here insist on coke, or, if they are a contrarian, on pepsi or rc cola.

W. Patrick Lang


As in "Men in Black?"

I get my hams at Crabill's Meats in Tom's Brook, Virginia in Shenandoah County. They use to be a year old, but now are only six months old. I regard this as further evidence of entropy at work in the universe. I take them home and hang them for a year in the basement from a nail in a rafter. The older, the better. These hams are from some farmer ham curer within 50 miles of the store. I seem to remember that the man is in Green County in the Piedmont.

This is a great butcher by the way, the best in prime beef, the best Pensylvania Dutch raised pork. He makes his own bacon and sausage. People come from New York (ptui!- to quote Alan Farrell)to buy there. pl


Here are some very good country ham recipes:


I ran into a place not too far from Crabill's where one can buy country ham hocks in season(now) for as low as 29 cents a pound--loaded with meat. I bought 50 lbs last year and used them to make hearty navy bean soup, 2 crust ham pot pies, and Harper's ham spread.

I also like Harpers's Ham hocks and cabbage dinner. It sounds like Jed Clampett fare, but it is really very good.

Something to do with the leftovers from Christmas dinner.


great comments and suggestions.

im going to get my son to send me some

thanks much

Anybody know how to make ham in cider sauce? Can't remember if it was a speciality at a main street home cooking restaurant in Winchester or Haussner's in Baltimore.

W. Patrick Lang

Don't know. It sounds like something Haussner's would have made. I sure miss the place. pl


Great post, Pat!

I was attracted to it because, at this very moment, I'm hungry as hell. The recipe sounds terrific, but with my health, I'd have to include a side of Lipitor.

Men don't often buy cookbooks, but there's one I highly recommend if you're interested not only in Southern cooking, but the ORIGIN of many Southern recipes. It's entitled "Smokehouse Ham, Spoonbread & Scuppernong Wine" by Joseph E. Dabney. The subtitle is "The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking," which is a pretty good description of the contents.

The book is somewhat like the "Foxfire" series, but much more useful. It's part recipes and part a cultural anthropology of Appalachian food. It even has recipes for Paw-Paws, which have almost disappeared.

The Appalachian angle is distinct. I grew up and live in Georgia, and thought grits were a universal Southern dish. But Dabney's book notes that Appalachian families didn't eat grits. They made cornmeal mush.

Without going on and on about the book, I'll just say that it is much more than a cookbook. It explains that because most people of the region were poor, food -- particularly certain seasonal foods -- was the closest thing they had to luxury. In their own way, they were as devoted to the art of cooking as the French.

cornmeal mush.

and fried the leftovers.

Does the book make any mention of the custom of butchering on Thanksgiving?

tim fong

Thanks, now I am extremely hungry =)

W. Patrick Lang


You never told us where the place close to Crabills was where you got the ham hocks.

What's Crabills address and phone number?

crabills is about a mile as the crow flies from my old place downstream. pat.

Nicholas Crabill

Hello Mr. Lang! Just saw you on CNN not to long ago. Anyway doin some work on the net and thought Id drop you a line. Take care.

The Crabills

W. Patrick Lang


Really good to know the Crabills of Tom's Brook read the blog.

I need to come out to the store to buy some things. Maybe next week. Pat

cheap herbal phentermine

My mind is like a bunch of nothing. I've just been letting everything wash over me lately. Oh well. Such is life.

Sandra Taylor

It is a love affair for me with this country ham receipt.

Walker I. Broyles

Well I'm suprised you know about Madison County Va hams, but that is great. As a kid, after the salting and sugar curing I tended a many fire (smoking) for the hams, side meat, etc. It was a two or three day event 24 hours a day. Kite's in Wolftown is a favorite of mine. X Va Gov Gilmore's daddy use to cut my hair in Wolftown. I lived down 29 a few miles towards the Green county line from Harry Gibbs store in Shelby. I also went to Wolftown elementry school, 6 grades in three rooms, now a hunt club. I too served in Vietnam 67-70. I would guess that good Kite's country hams could be bought at the Wolftown General Store or it may be Hood General Store they are about 1/2 mile apart. Sure do miss those days.

Bev from Missouri

My son received a country ham for Christmas and we were not sure how to prepare it. My mother-in-law used to cook them but she is gone now and we had no one to ask. Thanks for posting your recipe. We will enjoy the ham at our next family birthday dinner and will say a little prayer for you during the blessing.

Lea Ann Frizzell

I work for Harper's Country Hams, Inc., Clinton, Ky. We sell the very BEST country ham. Call us for a catalog or go to www.hamtastic.com. Call us at 1-800-264-3380

Wanda Grover

Is this the same Walker Broyles that attended Culpeper High School in 1962?

Jim in Roanoke

This family has been producing hams since 1954.

Below is from website. none better that I have found.


John L. Etzler, III, developed a recipe for curing country hams that would make your mouth water and your taste buds burst with flavor. Hams were salted and cured with John's special seasoning and hung for approximately six months to one year. This slow-cure process allows the seasoning to penetrate throughout the whole ham, giving these hams their delicious taste.

Currently, the business is owned and operated by John's son, George M. Etzler, and grandson, John L. Etzler, V. Etzler hams have traveled from coast to coast all over the United States. It is served in many restaurants and sold in stores up and down the east coast. Recently, the internet has also opened another market for Etzler Hams. The Appalachia's most well-kept secret is now delighting the tables of many throughout the country.

James Richmond

After a day or two of soaking, I cook my country ham in apple juice with a can of pickle spices in it. I don't know whether it helps the flavor of the ham much, but it sure perfumes the house while it is cooking. You remove more fat than I do before glazing because I like a little fat and it seem to yield more moist ham. I grind my leftover ham in the food processor and it has a great many uses. JBR

ham recipes cook from NY

"A country ham can be hung up in your basement indefinitely" - it is odd to hear meat can be stored out of the freezer for so long. We have really lost touch with the food reality of the past, back when the fridge and freezer did not exist. People did survive, and I am sure many handy tips were lost in the face of contemporary cooling systems.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Well, Pat, when you said "a dry-cured country ham from Madison County in God's own
Commonwealth" this displaced Kentuckian was convinced you were referring to Madison County in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Madison County that is the birthplace of frontiersman Kit Carson and site of Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College. Alas.

But I'm always happy to read about the existential ambrosia that is a country ham! Your recipe sounds great. My technique is to soak it overnight, 16 hours total and put it in the oven at 325 for 2 or 3 hours and remove the skin while still warm. Fully cooled ham skin rivals Kevlar in impenetrability. I fully appreciate the paper thin slice since there is nothing finer on a hot biscuit, but like to cut a few 1/4" slices to fry in a black iron skillet if for no other reason than to render red-eye gravy. Paper thin slices are a great addition to the Hot Brown, either instead of or in addition to the bacon.
Hot Brown

I'm glad to see the comment above from Ms. Frizzell w/ Harper's Hams. They're great. I also enjoy hams from the good folks at Meacham's ( http://www.meachamhams.com/ ) in Mercer County which are - with apologies to Harper's - every bit as good and with a slightly different flavor.

Great post, Pat, many thanks!


Fiddle-dee-dee! I have tucked away somewhere an old Farmers' Almanac with instructions on how to cure a Virginia ham. I retain it should the fall of civilization occur. As a displaced Yankee living many a year in Virginia (but slowly returning to Ohio), my first taste of Virginia ham was intriguing, and I grew to love it. It was akin to tasting Pennsylvania scrapple for the first time. Thanks for the recipe, Colonel, it sounds heavenly.



"Virginia ham" You do mean country ham, don't you rather than that sugary crap that Yankees eat? pl

Charles I

omg give it to me I now haven't had brunch yet.

ham recipes cook from NY: the old ways are the best, and they they can be run on wood when the power goes out.

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