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Posts Tagged ‘Ham’

Fricks Ham Review, Missouri Processor

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Fricks Ham ReviewI love ham, and I’ve been fortunate to run into some great ones lately. Most recently the notable one was local, from All Grass Farms.

But I screwed up this week, didn’t do my research, and tho I was going to be close to a Missouri processor named Frick’s Meats, whose product I have enjoyed before, I completely spaced on it, missed an opportunity, other than to pick up a ham steak in a nearby grocer.

I had the ham once before, as a sliced half-ham product, and I liked that. I also had a Fricks product in Aldi’s braunschweiger.

Now I want more, and regularly.

The ham steak is a half inch thick, and charred up nicely in a cast iron skillet.  It’s smokey and salty with texture you’d expect from quality pork, and the flavors that remind you of a lengthy cure.

I’d buy it again, don’t usually see it in my local stores, but I’ll look again. If you can’t find Fricks in your store, they do sell a few products online.

Fricks Ham Review

Out of the package

Fricks Ham Review

5 mins each side

Fricks Ham Review

Washington, MO Factory

 

 

 

 

 

Fricks Ham Review

Fricks Ham Review

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All Grass Farms Review – Supplier of Sustainable Proteins

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All Grass Farms ReviewIf you’re even an occasional reader, you know how much I like great ham. Fresh from the farm type ham. Ham that tastes like a hog.

I’ve driven around the country in search of great suppliers, so I was delighted to be driving down a back road just outside of Chicago the other day, and spotting a hand painted sign with the inquiry “Got Pork?”

“Why no, I don’t,”  sez I to myself, so I turned in the driveway.

All Grass Farms is a small producer in Dundee, Illinois, who can take care of your beef, pork, poultry, eggs and raw milk needs 7 days a week, from a little shop they have on site.

These are grass fed animals, hormone free, and you’ll note the difference in taste and texture.  I picked up a slab ‘o ham, and it was spendy, but worth it. The carmelization you see is causing not by burning it (tho I like charred ham) but by the fact brown sugar is used in the cure. It’s also nicely smoked.

The muscle texture is superb, it hasn’t been pulverized to death by tenderizers or “brine injections.” I loathe meat like that. I’ll but this again, and may even venture into a quantity of pork. I’m certainly going to get some raw milk in the future, which you can’t find in main line grocers, but if you do have some you can make great cheese and butter at home, lickety-split. Or lemony snicket.

You can order online, but they don’t ship, you’ll still have to pick up. They’re open daily from 10-6. If you’re looking for something specific, you might want to inquire prior (847-852-7081) to making the trek – they do run out of popular items on occasion.  They can also set you up with bulk packages – say if you wanted half a hog or cow.

The meat is processed about 60 miles west by Eickman’s Processing Company, Seward, IL.  They also have a small retail shop on site, which is open until 5:30 Mon – Fri, and noon on Saturday.

It’s nice to know where your food comes from, especially these days when Washington is proposing eliminating many of the safe regs and inspections we’ve relied on in the past.

All Grass Farms Review

All Grass Farms Review

Store at the farm

All Grass Farms Review

Eickman’s Processing Co  – Storefront

All Grass Farms Review

Eickman’s Processing Co – Aerial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Broadbent Hams Review – Legendary Kentucky Producer

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Broadbent Ham ReviewI love ham. Good ham. Not that chopped, pressed and formed in a slurry, pushed thru a mold deli slices like at Subway or grocery deli counters.

No, honest to goodness hog muscle, carefully cured and aged. I’ve driven the backroads of Kentucky, Virginia and other states in search of small producers.

I’ve had the pleasure of consuming ‘melt in your mouth’ jamon serrano at the Museum of Ham in Madrid. Same with Italian prosciutto.

And now I’ve found an American producer I can really get behind, Kentucky’s Broadbent Foods.

They’ve had it figured out for over 100 years, so much so they are constantly winning state and national competitions.

Available in “country” or “city” styles (the latter being a milder cure), you can purchase Broadbent hams in nearly any type of configuration you choose: whole, half, sliced, cooked, bone-in, boneless, uncooked, steaks, biscuit slices, seasoning bits and ground.

They also produce some mighty fine bacon and smoked sausages.

I loved their country ham, purchased slices and steaks. The cure provides for a stronger hog taste (I personally think meat should taste like the animals it comes from, especially beef and pork), and great texture. The biscuit slices are uncooked, so you can saute them in a fry pan with a little water added if you’re going for red eye gravy.

And why not?

Purchase Broadbent products online.

Broadbent Hams Review

 

Broadbent Hams Review

 

 

Broadbent Hams Review

Broadbent Hams Review

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Village Inn Review, Huntley, IL

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Village Inn ReviewWhat’s better than getting a restaurant meal with quality ingredients, cooked precisely to your order, at a great value?

Not much I can think of. I have found my new “home away from home” for breakfast out, the Village Inn Family Restaurant, in Huntley, IL, a distant Chicago exurb. “Chicago area diners” lean towards large portions, and the Village Inn is no exception.

Throwing three eggs on a plate, next to (at least) a half pound of potatoes, along with your choice of meat and toast (rye, for me, always),  their breakfast will satisfy any sized appetite.

Two things stuck out for me. First, I love ham. But I especially love GREAT ham.  And by “great,” I mean “real,” not Village Inn Reviewsome pressed, chopped, and formed, ham-like meat.  No, I crave real muscle meat, full of texture and flavor. Village Inn more than satisfies.

Second? I crave my ham to have a little “char” on it, adds to texture experience, and I like my breakfast potatoes extra crispy.

Scored on both accounts, in fact the waitress brought the eggs and toast first, said the ham would be up in a minute, she didn’t think the cook charred it enough.  And when she delivered? Spot on.

I like going to Huntley.  It’s a peaceful little town, away from the hubbub of the big city, but with all the requisite access to commerce and great little mom and pop places, like the Village Inn and Sal’s Pizza, down the street.  Oh, and the most excellent Diary Mart.  I also try to get out there to support local charity feeds, like the Boy Scout Pancake breakfast and such.

Village Inn? I shall return. Often.  My compliments to the kitchen.

 Breakfast menu.
Village Inn Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Village Inn Review

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Morris Liquors and Deli Review, Louisville, KY

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 Morris Liquors and Deli ReviewI love country style cured ham. Dry aged for months and months, salty, flavorful, still tastes like an animal instead of some heavily processed, brine injected, flavored pink stuff.

I quizzed Chowhound folks ahead of time to see where I might score some good Kentucky Country Ham in Louisville, and got lots of great suggestions where I could get it to nosh on or get a big ‘un to go.

I ended up at one of the top suggestions for sandwiches, Morris Liquor and Deli, a small liquor store in the center of the city with a deli counter. You walk up to the counter and select your bread, meat, cheese and condiments; sandwiches are sold by weight, and I can’t tell you what the price per pound is, but I can tell you I paid $13 for two sandwiches, two sodas and a bag of chips, which seemed quite reasonable to me.

I went with country ham on dark rye with provolone and yellow mustard. Also got a corned beef with Swiss on pumpernickel with German mustard. Both with superb. I would have bought sliced ham by the pound there ($16) but I knew I would be hitting a couple of groceries in search of a big chunk later, which I did.

This is a really excellent sandwich place, mostly take-out, a few tables inside and outside, great liquor selection as well as liquor mixers and such. Parking and entry/exit is a little dicey, but it’s worth taking your life in your hands for this country ham. Truly.

Morris Liquors and Deli Review

Country Ham & Provolone

 

Morris Liquors and Deli Review

Click for larger image

Morris Liquors and Deli Review

Morris' Liquors & Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review

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Aldi Ham ReviewI have written about a lot of Aldi products; Aldi is the global discount grocer owned by the same German family as Trader Joes.  At Aldi, you won’t find many big brand names, but rather Aldi concocted brand names that are manufactured under contract to Aldi’s specifications. (Also it will cost you a quarter to rent a cart, refunded when you return the cart to the line. Oh, and bag your own).

Where as my spawn professes to be a “ham hater,”  I am a genuine ham lover, and adore it all. Except honey glazed.  My domestic favorite is the slow salt cured beauties from the Carolinas;  internationally:  jamon serrano, prosciutto and the like.

Much of the ham in grocery stores isn’t very good, tho, and so it’s nice to run into one that isn’t full of fillers and other bits.  The Appleton Farms Ham Steak is ham, water, salt, seasonings, and that’s about it.

It’s made for Aldi by a packer called “Gusto” and they’ve been running a  ham and bacon operation west of Chicago for over forty years.  Gusto was purchased by Butterball in 2012, Butterball is owned by Seaboard, a diverse firm dating back to 1918 and a single flour mill in Kansas.

They run a 200,000 sq foot facility in Montgomery, IL, capable of grinding out 6 million pounds of product weekly. Wow.

Their Appleton Farms Ham Steak?  Superb.  Highly recommended for real ham taste and texture.

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Gusto Packing Factory

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Gusto Packing Aerial

Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review

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Hannahs Bretzel Review

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They call themselves “Uber Sandwich Makers,” having nothing to do with rides on demand.  Hannah’s Bretzel make quality breakfast and lunch sandwiches with top ingredients and creative condiments at five different locations in downtown Chicago. Baked dessert treats are also on offer, as are daily specials and a couple of healthy-leaning salads and soups.

I opted for the Serrano Ham and Manchego cheese; the standard toppings include shaved fennel and fig chutney, which I passed on. The sandwich, like most items offered in the shop, is served on a pretzel baguette. A second bread choice is a “wecken” ™, which is a bun-shaped pretzel roll. You’ll find that item fairly common in the Northeast, and especially parts of New York State where you’ll hear people order “beef on a weck.”

It was grand. And a bit spendy, about $10 for relatively small sandwich compared to chain sandwich shops But I’m glad I bumped into the place, and would go again.  Full menu.

Hannahs Bretzel Review

Serrano and Manchego

Hannah's Bretzel on Urbanspoon

Hannahs Bretzel Review

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Fricks Ham Review

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Frick Ham ReviewRan into a product I hadn’t seen before, a boneless half  ham from Frick’s Meat, a purveyor from Washington, MO (about 40 miles west of St. Louis, halfway between I-70 on the north, and I-44 on the south.  Frick’s has been around for nearly a century and a quarter, and manufacturers processed pork products, including hams, bacon, and sausages.

Family owned and operated for four generations, the products are widely distributed.   The ham is fully cooked in the wrapper, but has a 10-15% shrinkage when pan-fried.

This is a product I really enjoyed, other than the price, but I have that objection to all meat  these days.

My favorite hams are the naturally cured ones for a long period of time from Virginia, especially the biscuit-sized pieces, which aren’t available in the stores near me, but I order by mail a couple times a year.

The hams are processed at Frick’s factory in Washington, MO at 360 M. E. Frick Drive.  The factory is pictured below.

Frick Ham Review

Frick Ham Review

Frick Meat Factory, Washington, MO

Frick Ham Review

Frick Meat Factory, Washington, MO

Fricks Ham Review

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An Evening of Take-Out in Portland

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Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I decided it was take out night, well, really, it happened by ‘accident’, she had received a gift certificate good at Porcelli‘s, courtesy of one of the time-schleppers that calls on her.

So she instructed me to hit up that place after I made a stop at Les Schwab (aren’t these guys utterly fantastic?!)  for an “adjustment”. (On the car, not on my attitude, tho that could come in handy lately, too).

The gift certificate was only $25, so my selection was limited to a few appetizers, a.  There is a wider variety of appys on the dinner menu, than on the lunch one (it was about 230 in the PM).

This not being enough to sustain us, I headed down the street to Reo’s Ribs.

My own repast would be supplemented at home by some handsome prosciutto that Mrs. BDB had picked up for me the day before at Foster & Dobbs.  (She is SOOOO thoughtful and good to me!)

So, Porcelli’s.  Never been in there before, and instantly regretted that, after seeing the place and perusing the menu.  This is old school Italian (menu), with three chefs hard at it, in the open kitchen, cooking up favorites in an ambience-lacking atmosphere (who cares, I wanna stare at my plate at a place like this), and a waitress that was da bomb.

I picked up their hot artichoke dip, bruschetta, and the antipasto plate, each beautiful in their own right, even in take-out boxes.   I don’t know if they bake or buy  their bread, but it’s damned fine, and the bruschetta topping was chopped, diced, and spliced in front of my eyes.   Even the olives on the antipasto plate were top notch, an interested variety of blacks and greens or different sizes. I’m sold.  I’ll be heading back there a lot, solo, pigging out on whatever I fancy at the time.

Reo’s Ribs, I have hit before, but only for a sandwich. I picked up a half-rack of baby backs for Mrs. BDB, and two sides, mustard/collard green mix, and cheese grits.  She pronounced them all fine, and I had a bite of one rib, even tho it’s not my thing, and I liked it a lot.  She even went so far as to say she loved the greens, which is a big step for her, as nobody, but nobody, makes better greens than Mrs. BurgerDogBoy. And she’s a cheese grits fan from way back, which is kinda funny, I never knew this about herwhen we were living in grits-ville.

Foster & Dobbs?  Superb wine shop and up market deli with to die for foodstuffs.  It’s near a client of Mrs BDB, so she’s been in there a lot lately, which is good for me!

Last week she brought home some truffle butter, big trouble for both of us (as is anything “truffley” lately).

The prosciutto is top-grade, melts in your mouth, not in your hands, like eating ‘buttah”.   Can’t get enough of it.  Or jamon serrano, for that matter.  Thank god the latter is finally legal in the US, tho I don’t understand why there was ever a ban on it.

Next time you see me, ask me to tell you the story of the “ham beagle” at JFK.  It’s a stitch!

Porcelli's Appetizers

Porcelli's Appetizers

Reo's Rib Plate

Reo's Rib Plate

Reo's Ribs on Urbanspoon

Foster & Dobbs on Urbanspoon

Porcelli's on Urbanspoon

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