In the recent past, we were looking for the “best” ham for our Easter dinner.
As part of research for THE NIBBLE, we tasted six different hams and came up with the winner: Kurobuta ham from Snake River Farms.
If you’ve been pondering a ham for Easter dinner (or any other time of the year), or want to send a memorable Easter gift (or Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or any occasion), Kurobuta (pronounced koo-row-BOO-tuh) is the ham for you.
Succulent, deeply flavorful and beautifully textured, it’s become the Easter standard at our house, and a mainstay of buffet dinners during the year.
Kurobuta ham has been called the world’s best ham by chefs and food writers.
You can always raise an eyebrow when reference is is made to “the best” of anything. Regarding food: Who has tasted everything in the category to determine “the best?”
Even at THE NIBBLE, when we have tasted 100 hot chocolate mixes, extra virgin olive oils, strawberry jams, etc., we know there are products out there that we haven’t known about.
That being said, everything we’ve research and read has come up with no better ham.
That’s because of the fine intramuscular marbling that makes the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender.
How good is this ham? Tender, with a perfect smoke and impeccable seasoning. Subtle notes of clove and other spices caress the tongue.
With other hams, even premium ones, the only thing that caresses the tongue is salt.
That Berkshire pig produces more than ham. Here’s the the “menu” at Snake River Farms:
Head to SnakeRiverFarms.com or phone 877.736.0193.
Hams are pretty durable. For best results, use the ham within 30 days after it’s thawed. In the freezer, they’re good for six months. The ham won’t go bad, but the flavor will start to decline.
It all starts with the quality of the pork. All Kurobuta hams are 100% Berkshire pork, a heritage breed. Kurobuta (the brand name for Berkshire pork), which means “black hog” in Japanese, is considered the pork equivalent of Kobe beef.
Other important factors are the ingredients used to cure the ham. Kurobuta’s cure is a recipe that has been in the family for a long time.
Kurobuta hams are “city hams” (the different types of ham), so they’re fully cooked. The smoking process is important. You want to add flavor, but not overpower the pork.
Like all meat products there are different quality levels for ham. Some of the lower-priced hams inject water into the muscle to add weight and to distribute the salt and seasonings. This is a shortcut that makes ham cheaper, but not necessarily more delicious.
Why is some ham so salty?
Some of the classic Virginia hams are extremely salty. These “country-style” hams are intended to be that way. They’re generally sliced thin, like prosciutto, and served with an acidic condiment like mustard.
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