Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pickin' Meat

Tonight I'm baking a peppered ham for some neighbors who just had a new baby (his name is Ben and he's super cute). I love ham, and I always forget how great it smells when it's baking. I bet if my people had to choose between turkey and ham for Thanksgiving (we usually have both), a family vote would favor the pig. A turkey is generally more elegant. Few un-carved things sit so beautifully on a platter, but judging strictly on taste I really think ham is the way we'd go.

Arkansans, like most people in the south and a lot of people here in the midwest, have adored ham for ages (it is no coincidence that the University of Arkansas has a mythologized pig for a mascot). I don't care for the weird loaf-shaped slabs or the deli cuts (if I want flavorless ham, I'll just eat thin-sliced turkey. It’s healthier.). I like the kind of ham that you can fry up in the morning and make red-eye gravy with. Throw in a few biscuits, eggs, and coffee and I wouldn't have to eat again for the rest of the day.

So how about you? Turkey or ham? If on Thanksgiving Day you had to make such a sad choice, which would it be?


Blogger Mike Mather said...

Dear Troy,

I'm a ham man myself. Though I just got saw my father this week and he was talking with me about Thanksgiving. Now that we live in Indianapolis people are coming to our home for the holiday -- cuz we're right in the middle of a spread-out clan. Anyway...last year was the first of these annual holiday celebrations here in Indy and Dad and Sue got a salmon and cooked it for Thanksgiving. This year Dad said to me -- "can you arrange to pick up the traditional Thanksgiving salmon, Mike?"

4:47 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Dear Troy and Mike,
I love it...the traditional Thanksgiving salmon...don'cha just love traditions? Being a vegetarian, I cannot comment on which I prefer, ham or turkey. Though I must say that when I did eat meat, I LOVED ham, especially as prepared by the Boy Scouts for their annual ham sandwich fundraiser on the town square. I agree that ham is a wonderful breakfast meat cooked alongside a couple fried eggs. My Mom traditionally prepares a single dish of vegetarian stuffing for me each year and hides it on the lower shelf of the table saw (we have our Thanksgiving in my brother Phil's garage.)

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Sally said...

I am a turkey girl myself. Never been a fan of the ham. In fact, I'm not crazy about Easter, I call it "The Ham Holiday". Besides, Hamfurky just doesn't have the same ring as Tofurky for your vegetarian friends.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

That is a really tough call. I mean, I grew up eating Thanksgiving turkey, but I love ham, too. Okay...if I have to choose, I'll go with turkey. But I do have to tell you that one year for Easter, my mom made a turkey-ham. Basically, it looks like a ham, but it's made of turkey. How does that work, anyway?

6:31 AM  
Blogger juliebelle said...

in the mcclain family we call the red-eye gravy version of ham "real ham."

real ham or bust.

7:32 AM  
Blogger potterdad said...

OK, the foodie in me can't keep my mouth shut. It seems to me that there are two problems that make turkey come in second in the Thanksgiving taste-off. The first is that commercial turkeys that we buy at the supermarket have been bred to be so lean and meaty that they don't have much flavor. When Todd and I raised turkeys at home (pre-kids and the horrors of butchering) the difference was astounding...much moister and jucier with real flavor in the white meat that came from a hefty layer of fat that self basted the ole fella. (One year we were late to butchering and one of our guys weighed out at 37 pounds after being dressed!)

But I think another reason is that when being cooked, turkey usually doesn't get the same deep treatment a ham gets, it just gets a superficial trip to the tanning booth! Try smoking a small hen with herbs, burbon and apple wood chips for 12 hours in a smoker. Or better yet, find a fat farm-raised Tom for the oven and see if it stands a better chance in the taste battle with that old southern work-horse, porky pig! My guess is that you might have a contender that can't be easily eliminated from the groaning board.

4:15 AM  
Anonymous jennie said...


2:07 PM  
Blogger Troy said...

Note that all of the Arkansans have chosen ham so far.

6:13 PM  
Blogger c3 said...

ham ham ham ham ham

then some more ham

3:35 PM  
Blogger c3 said...

we have also been enjoying smoked turkey as a holiday selection. also, if you have access to a meat smoker, I would strongly recommend placing regular pork sausage on for about 1-2 hrs. Excellent with biscuits.

3:43 PM  
Blogger sirrom said...

Ham!!! And the kind we get at Coursey's Smokehouse on the way to Fayetteville is the best. Your Mom, Dad, Trish and I always stopped there for sandwiches, going or coming from the game. The cheese and bacon offerings weren't bad either.

4:39 PM  

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