A pecan smoked pork belly from the test kitchen of RL Reeves jr

Up in Kentucky, the Grand Champion Country Ham auction is a state fair tradition dating back to 1964.

Back in that glorious era, the debut of the affair saw Charles Gatton, Sr. of Father’s Country Hams win the title of Grand Champion. Gatton donated his ham to the auction and it raised $124 for a 4-H chapter in Muhlenberg County.

Last week, the 16-pound Grand Champion Ham, cured by Penn Farm in Taylor County, was sold for $1 million. The winning bid came from Central Bank of Louisville. That comes out to $15k a slice.

I have a big ham from Penn Farm that’s sitting on top of my refrigerator right now. I reckon I must have bought it five or six years ago. I’ll try and work it into our big Scrumptious Chef 10th annniversary celebration later in the year.

Not too far west from Louisville, the good folks of Columbia Missouri had their own ham auction recently. Ashley Curtis cured the winning ham and it sold for $1200. more

You do not want to die from botulism. It’s an agonizing way to end your life. Thankfully we’ve had saltpetre in our human kitchen arsenal for over 500 years and this beautiful chemical has allowed us to preserve our foods without fear of death or torment from botulin poisons. Curious about saltpetre? more

How much thought have you given to the foodways of South Dakota? I’ve spent my life in the industry of food and never gave either of the Dakotas more than a passing thought. But the folks up there do have one peculiar foodway that piques my interest, tiger meat. No it’s not from a tiger. It’s ground beef that’s been seasoned and cured. Read about “South Dakota steak tartare.” more

Back in 2015 Harrodsburg, Kentucky’s Beaumont Inn won the James Beard award for being an ‘American Classic’ The old restaurant has weathered a million storms in its 100 year history but we always think about it as being a remarkable country ham outpost. If you want to experience Kentucky country ham to its fullest a visit to Beaumont Inn is required. more

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