Virginia Style Ham in the Outer Banks
It is as much tradition as it is delicious. Country ham is a favorite of locals and tourists alike in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And the reason why is simple…it is delicious. Following in the tradition of other incredibly tasty pork products (all cooked fresh and for hours at Pigman, of course) ham explodes with flavor.
By Ham, I do not mean the processed pink imposter sitting in the deli case at the supermarket. Granted, there really is no “bad” ham, there are only a few great hams. The greatest of those is the country ham famous in Virginia and Carolina that dates back to the first settlers.
What is Virginia Style Ham in the Outer Banks?
Virginia style ham involves the salt curing of ham. Salt curing goes back to ancient times as an effective and plentiful means to preserve meat. In Colonial Virginia and North Carolina, that principle held weight with the need to cure and preserve pork as the natives reintroduced salt curing to the Colonists. And thus a tradition of this Virginia, salt cured Ham, was part of the American diet.
This method of curing was so effective that the colonies would ship the Hams back to England in exchange for other goods. Salt curing guaranteed it’s freshness. According to historical documents the ham became a sensation in Europe and even royalty adopted it as a staple of the banquet table. Who can blame them.
Naturally we combine the best of the Virginia Country Ham with the smoking process so prevalent in world class North Carolina barbecue. I affectionately call this Outer Banks Ham, which is of course on the Pigman menu.
What Is Curing?
Naturally curing is the process of using salt to preserve the ham. It is as much history as it is a culinary methods. A big part of trade and survival in the American Colonial world was because of the industry and production of these hams. As an export it helped America get the things they needed from England.
As far as the method, here is a little breakdown
Salt is infused into the ham until it reaches a saturation. The Ham will be stiff and thoroughly cured as the salt is worked through ALL of the ham. The salt draws out moisture. This inhibits bacteria growth. It also gives it a distinct flavor. Then it is ready for smoking.
What makes Pigman Ham different
In the tradition of our Colonial heritage, the Pigman Ham’s are cured for months before they are even ready for the smoker. Than we soak them overnight. This helps to reduce the amount of salt in the ham. After the soak, the real flavor process begins. Like all Pigman pork the ham’s will be smoked for hours. We can then slice it thick or thin depending on how you like it.
What are some keys to the ham smoking process?
I have seen scores of advise on the key to smoking great ham. Some use Oakwood. Some use hickory. Some use small chips of Applewood. I think the real key is time. Smoking the ham for a long long time is going to give it a delectable aroma in every savory bite. Most will never smoke their meats as long as Pigman, but you can taste the difference
If you like thin we offer our country ham or country ham and cheese roll packing lots of flavor into thinner slices. Or if you need to cater an event, have a family get together, or even catering for your wedding, call us and we can make it to whatever size you need. Here is the link to our menu for more information
And not just ham but…
Pigman offers great ribs, chicken, brisket, shredded bbq and more.