251 - Pairing Country Ham with Bourbon Drams with Steve Coomes

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Bourbon and ham, is that a pairing you would expect? To be honest, neither did I. I’m a sucker for killing a plate of prosciutto at a dinner party, but thanks to our guest Steve Coomes, we’ve discovered a new love for country ham. When done right, the saltiness of the ham just hits all the right spots. We sit down with Steve as he talks to us about a past life as a pizza judge (yes, a pizza judge!) and then we get into hams. The diet of the pigs, curing processes, and even his professional opinion of those ham legs you see hanging inside rickhouses. I think it will surprise you. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t do a bourbon and ham pairing. Try not to salivate too much.

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Show Notes:

  • Bourbon in a Decanter: Does is go bad? https://advancedmixology.com/blogs/art-of-mixology/does-bourbon-go-bad-in-decanter
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Derby.
  • How did you get into spirits writing?
  • Tell us about your bourbon and ham parings.
  • Talk about your culinary background.
  • How do you judge a pizza?
  • Tell us about the hams you brought today.
  • How do you come up with the pairings?
  • Are the pigs fed a specific diet?
  • What is the difference in the thickness of country ham and prosciutto.
  • Tell us about curing.
  • What sizes do hams come in?
  • What flavors are you looking for when pairing?
  • How much does this ham cost?
  • Where can you buy country ham?
  • What do you think about hams aging in rickhouses?

0:00 That country ham industry is its own worst enemy, many times and understanding what it needs to do to make itself look on par with Italian cured hams. Yeah. My wife it's charcuterie. She's like, Oh

0:11 yeah, you say it's like oh no, no way. It's like

0:28 Welcome to Episode 251 of bourbon pursuit. I hope you all are hanging in there with your quarantine here, because I know right now, mine's looking pretty Shaggy. I'm due for a haircut. But before I get to the news, I want to tell you once again about whiskey from home with the help of some of the best names in bourbon. We're doing a five and a half hour livestream of whiskey soap entertainment on May 2, starting at 12pm Eastern. So right now go to whiskey from home calm and get your free ticket there sessions on bourbon history. The best Bourbons on the shelf right now. Blind flights how to hunt for great bourbon, a virtual food pairing with Peggy no Stevens and a virtual bourbon tasting with our good friend, Fred MiniK. The shopping list for everything that you need to follow along. Is it whiskey from home calm, so go there. Check it out. It's a free event. So come and spend your Saturday afternoon with us. Now, bourbon into decanter doesn't go bad. This is a question that was asked and answered with extensive research from advanced mixology calm. After you buy a bottle of bourbon, how should it be stored? does it stay preserved for years or even decades have left on open? What about the canning of bourbon? Can it go bad then? Well, it all comes down to aeration, and without giving too much of it away. You can read all the answers to these questions to the link from advanced mixologist calm in our show notes. For today's podcast, we talked about bourbon and ham. Is that a pairing that you would expect? Well, to be honest, neither did I I'm a sucker for killing a whole plate of for shoot, I was at a dinner party. But thanks to our guest, Steve Coombs, I found a new love for country ham. When done, right, the saltiness of the ham, it just hits all the right spots. We sit down with Steve, as he talks about his past life as a pizza judge, you heard that right up pizza judge, I mean, talk about a dream job. But then we get into hands, the die to the pigs, curing processes, and even his professional opinion of those hand legs that you see hanging inside of Rick houses. I think it's gonna surprise you. Of course, it wouldn't be complete if we didn't do a bourbon and hand pairing. So try not to salivate too much. All right, don't forget it whiskey from home calm, go register and get your free ticket. If you haven't had a chance yet, go to barrel bourbon.com and you can get cash drink bourbon, whiskey, rye and rum. All delivered direct to your door. Just look for the Buy Now button at the top of the page. All right. Now here we go. Yo, here's Fred minich with above the char.

3:04 I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char. I'm a little sad right now. I'm actually really, really sad. We've had to cancel bourbon and beyond. I think many of you all know that. But that's the festival that I co created with Danny Wimmer presents and COVID is forcing a lot of cancellations, especially in the music world. What's gonna happen to the Kentucky Derby? No one really knows. But this Saturday would have been my 13 Kentucky Derby in a row to attend. And I'm just sad because that piece of that that moment is gone. It that it's gone. That piece of culture, that piece of celebration. And it's not necessarily about the horses. It's about the gathering of the people the smoking of cigars, a sipping a bourbon, seeing my wife go through, you know, 15 thousand different hats before she chooses one. So many great moments I've had over the years. I want to share one with you. Now, if you followed me you know that I've, I was a guest of the governor last year and I've been a millionaire's row and I've been around the celebrities and all that. And a lot of people be like, that would be that would be the one that would be like the one memory that you would want to take away when you think about your experiences as the from the derby. I've also been a photographer on the derby. I was on the finishing line in 2008 and got some really beautiful photos of a Belle's before she passed away. And yet, that's not it either. Now, my favorite Derby of all time, was when I was in Peggy know Stephens box with with my wife. We were just pregnant. We're just getting out of that first trimester where we could start telling people you know how it is if you've been pregnant? Well, I've never been pregnant. My wife spent pregnant but I say we as in like, you know, family, and you get out of that first trimester and you're so excited to tell people and we're Catholic. So that first step is always like, Alright, who are going to be the godparents? So it was on Derby Day, like, two, three years ago, that we were in Peggy's box and we asked Peggy, if she would be the godmother to our son, Julian. And she cried, said yes, of course. And it was just a magical moment. It was a wonderful celebration. And then I think I lost a couple hundred bucks on the race. But there's no replace in the derby. We can't replace that. That's just a magical, magical moment. If you've ever been, you know what I'm talking about, but we're doing something that is as good as we possibly can present right now. And that's whiskey from home. It is an amazing lineup of bourbon personalities. And I hope you will join us all day Saturday. As we drink bourbon as we talk bourbon, we're going to be streaming across the interwebs. Unlike any time before, this is the first, this is the first time my knowledge that we've ever seen something like this a virtual conference in the bourbon world. And my hat's off to Kenny Coleman. He's just done such a good job, you know, stepping up and getting this thing going. On the back end. I'm trying to get all the streaming stuff set up. And Ryan's going to be making cocktails and you know what, I'm going to try and make them alongside him. So I cannot wait to see how this goes for everybody. And I hope you will join us. It's this Saturday. I'm sure Kenny's already talked about it, and you're going to hear more about it later on. But it's going to be a great time is it going to replace the derby? Nothing can replace that in our hearts. But what it can do is it can help us get us through the fact that we are missing missing the greatest two minutes in sports. So that's this week's above the char. This one came from the heart. If you have a heartfelt story about the Kentucky Derby, hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or go to my website Fred medic comm and send me an email. I like reading those kinds of stories. Until next week, cheers

7:23 Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon, the whole team here today we've got bourbon and we've got ham where we talking pigs and bourbon today so this is this is something that I know Ryan and myself we're big barbecue guys, we got our green eggs, you've got your drum, you've got all kinds of things so terrible, but yes, it's a better omen. Yeah. And you know, for me, I love I love charcuterie boards when I go out to restaurants to can't get enough a ham. And I mean you remember we were talking about going to North Carolina you're talking about the gym. Oh, and ham. Is that what it is? Yep.

7:56 Yeah, the Serrano Hamza Oh, the ham on Hello. Yeah.

8:00 hormone

8:00 that's a source that's your jam on or GMO yeah

8:03 Jay Michael Jackson working there.

8:04 It's the jam the jam and ham. cured meats are like you're talking about love language and I used to raise pigs I used to raise pigs so like this is like ham to me is like it's what I grew up with. We used to raise do rocks and Berkshires and everything's kidding

8:21 yeah I had my Linux I knew you're in the hug business you ever notice had their day their pig in the mud? Did everyone pay the pig you know in the mud?

8:28 Yeah, we made them yeah, we literally like I'd had to clean them all the time because they would get it get really bad and we had some we did have some some hampshire's as well. I had like, like one of these really nice prized hampshire's, and the damn thing died when it touched concrete like it was it was a carrier of what they call a stress gene. And one of my big contributions to the hog community is that I donated him to science instead of eating him

9:00 After he died, you get a tax write off for that or something. I

9:04 don't you know what I think we did, but if they actually they've cured they've bred most of that out there.

9:09 Yeah. And you can't eat them unless you cause its death. Right? If it does that on its own, you gotta

9:15 take there's any rules on

9:19 that to show up live to the budget,

9:22 whatever it sounds delicious. So if

9:24 you hit by a car, I think that seeing well we don't want to know how the sausage made, you know, no pun intended.

9:29 Who knows we might get back into that action today and kind of talking about cured meats as well as we go through here. But you've already heard our guests today. So today is our guests. We've got Steve Coombs. Steve is all over the place. He knows about pigs. He knows about bourbon. He's been a writer for bourbon Plus, he's also an author. He's been a contributing writer for bourbon and banter. So Steve, welcome to the show.

9:49 Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

9:50 Yeah, so I mean, we kind of talked a little bit there but let's let's kind of talk about some of your your bourbon cred. You know, how did how did you get into actually start writing and kind of Knowing and exploring the spirits world,

10:02 I always call this the confession moment in that I was probably 4748. before somebody got she was the tourism director in Bardstown. And I was down there doing a story for Southern Living magazine, y'all remember Don crystal? Oh, yeah, Don, Don said, we pulled up to heaven Hill. She said, Steve Coombs, you get out of this car right now go inside and do that tasting said you're not going to do an article on my town without tasting some bourbon and believe it or not honest truth, it really clicked that day. It was funny that 92 proof larceny lit my mouth on fire to the point of numbness. And I mean, and now we're drinking barrels, barrel strength, dry, you know, it's no big deal. So I got hooked on it literally just because of the culture. And of course, watching Fred, Fred and I worked many years ago together and seeing what it did for his career and becoming attracted to the characters in the business. My gosh, I mean, I've written about the culinary business for 30 years and never had Have I found such a concentration of friendly characters in one single business? And you especially talking about how rough it was in the wine industry, you know how snobs were in that like you didn't want any more involvement with that the low ego part of this businesses just you know gold for writers don't think yeah,

11:15 I mean the the characters are amazing. I remember that time in your career you You called me I've really how did you get here? How did you do that and all that and I and it for me, this has always been easy because of the of the people and at the time, you were like thinking about, you know, teetering with tequila a little bit. Remember I was and I still love it. But it's a whole country away.

11:38 And here we live in the country of bourbon country, and it's right here and you can drive to barks down to 15 minutes and be interviewing the geniuses in the business or Frankfurt or, you know, Larkspur,

11:49 one of the great things that you've done is that a lot of people come into, into in bourbon and they just, they kind of repeat the same stories. You know, not a lot Have people you know, try to go outside of what's already been done. And you've kind of you've done that. And I've been telling you for a long time that people want to be, you know, learn more about ham and the pairings of it and now you're doing seminars on it and everything. So how did that how did that start? How did you develop this whole new platform that really no one's explored Really? And this ties back to you? Hopefully you remember the answer to this gotta stop this kiss fest over Yeah,

12:27 it is. Yeah, all right

12:30 later, but let me let me say this. he mentored me 15 years ago when we really started he was your supervisor. He said your light just like today? No, I'm kidding.

12:40 I'm totally kidding.

12:41 I was always on time. You were I told him that the company didn't really tolerate that crap and you still ended up military and you just show up on time?

12:47 Yeah, that was that was back when I was still falling a little bit my military code now I'm 10 minutes late to everything cuz I just don't care. Fred. Fred

12:54 called me in July of what was it? 2014. You said that a publisher called Do about doing a book on country ham? That's right. And you said I don't know anything about the subject but I have a feeling I know someone who does. And he called me and he said call the publisher and see if this will work out for you. And I wound up writing that was my is my It was my first book country ham, a southern tradition of hogs salt in smoke, which came out the year after that. And so by then I'd already begun enjoying bourbon and I'm tasting it just like we're gonna taste today. It was late night it was it Believe it or not, sounds so fake, but it's really true is midnight, I was editing the book and sipping it and tasting it with this. Oh my gosh, this works really well together.

13:39 Yeah, it's a match made in heaven.

13:41 Oh, exactly. In and that's really where it kind of clicked. But Jay Denham, who is one of the great cures and Kentucky who's moved back to Cincinnati, had come to me, we're friends. We're talking ham and he said, you know, we should do a big whiskey and hand pairing some time and somehow or another led to the bourbon classic. And we did One with have not had been hell I'm sorry Jim Beam. And it was a hit from then. And ever since I've been doing a lot of these tastings My gosh, we've got six books already this year through March out of town. And it's a lot of fun to spread the gospel of both I mean, pork gets a bad name the United States and this is this is really good stuff that we don't try today. The other other white man and he is really really read me forgot that tagline. Yeah, so horrible. I kinda want to rewind it back to you even a little bit more here. So kind of talk because you were you were a chef previously in your life too, right to kind of talk more about your culinary background. So I my mother was a good Southern cook but never did understand restaurant food until I had to start paying my tuition at St x and my parents said you know, times are a little tight you boys need to get some better jobs if you're gonna keep going to say next pay for it. So I start working and fine dining. And it was the restaurant that really gave Louisville its own restaurant boom was called Casa goes on. It's long since gone. But that was the first place that I tasted really, really good fresh fish, real asparagus, Hollandaise, all these kinds of things. And I realized that was wired for the culinary industry. didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated college and was stuck watching the chef's and thought that looks interesting. I'll try that. I wanted to be a writer. I've always wanted to be a writer, but I was an absolute terrible manual typewriter typist, mine was the last class at St x in 1982 that use true manual typewriters. And the best I ever did was 32 words a minute. And that wasn't gonna fly at a newspaper. About five or so years later, I got a laptop. It was an IT WAS AN NTC multi sink if anybody remembers it, you guys are toddlers

15:43 weighed 11 and a half

15:44 pounds when that one had like a real floppy like the five and a

15:48 half inch floppy? No, not that 123 and a half no hard drive. And that was the first time that I ever discovered that word processing allows you to correct your mistakes and like well maybe I can do this thing after all. And then so I started writing about the rest Strong industry that was 1991 I still do it not nearly as much because of, you know, publications like yours and, and I'm really digging the spirit scene but to be in it this long and have gotten to travel to really neat places in the world, just writing about food has been a treat and I'm in a food town. So it's been a good career. I let me let me add something to this. He was the editor in chief of pizza today. And then he later was the editor, editor of a website called pizza marketplace. And Steve was a god in pizza around the world. And if you think about pizza, it's like its own sounds delicious. Anyway.

16:44 Steve likes too skinny to be like, doing all this food cookies, but

16:47 he would he would write about these like pizza dough throwing contests and it'd be like Italy versus United States or Canada and that was going on when you're there, man. And it's just it was just it was fun. For me from a career perspective, that was the first time I had ever seen anyone cover a beat very uniquely, and that I've never told you this, but the way that you own pizza gave me a lot of like motivation, you know, to, you know, to discover, you know, in that or in the early times in my career to find what I could like your neck hat, find my niche like you did. And like, he was a god and pizza. If you Google Steve Coombs, you know, we put the quotation marks around it, and then pizza, you'll find a lot of his old stuff and it's beautiful. I kind of want to talk about both. I know

17:41 I kind of talk about pizza just for a second. So kind of talk about like, how do you judge a pizza like in your mind when you were going into judge a pizza like what how does that how does that work?

17:50 there? It's It's the last contest that I did for a long time was in Columbus, that client I was telling you about that I had been up there was the North Custom was a minute American pizza contest can't recall but we judge it on crest quality Christmas. You would look at what you know the rim of the crest which at the time is called the corny God or the cornice. And you'd look for the texture of the dough. You judge it on the the flavor of the sauce how it presents itself well with cheese you don't want to slide off. That's a problem. He looked at the ratio of toppings with sauce and crust. And when you look at the marketability of it is this thing really something that would sell in a in a pizza restaurant or do the guy just make it up on his way in and then do you do thumbs up sideways? Thumbs thumbs down? There wasn't there was there were 38 judges in this contest to manage you know, the volume of pizzas that were coming through. So you really did have to have a rigorous pizza quickies now it's a bookies. Yeah, we could Yeah, yeah. So it was it was pretty rigorous judging, and I'd seen a similar system in Italian I'm sorry in Italy, but uh, it's basically based on what you know, making the Italians win. What's their system What style do you prefer? Like?

19:03 Okay, I really do.

19:04 Yeah, me Neapolitan, New York. Go neck and neck. Yeah. And I like that salt mine like a Pete not pizza. Taco foldable floppy.

19:11 Yeah, there seems to be a trend right now of people bashing Chicago style pizza saying it's not really pizza. It's just like a big like a lasagna. Yeah, it's

19:20 Are you in that? Are you No, not at all. That that's it's a derivative of an Italian version of pizza called torta pasqual Lena which means Easter tart or torte. And it was basically you know, the deep dish and they would put another layer of crust over the top and it was it was like kind of like we will roll out a big lasagna for celebratory event. And and that's the way it was treated. It wasn't the Italians don't see pizza as a slice after slice thing. Like we eat it here. I mean, we're committed. These dudes have had an appetizer, some wine, the little bit of pizza, then, you know something afterward. We look at Pizza as a whole meal sometimes our meal. Yeah, no. So

20:01 kind of goes back to that old saying like, any pizza can be a personal pain if you want to try harder. Yeah.

20:06 Yeah, yeah. So

20:09 they would look at that at a pizza that size and say, Man, that's for 10 people. 12 people, you know, and we look at it sometimes they will you get two friends. Yeah.

20:22 All right pizza pursuit come to you in 2021 Yep. All right. So let's let's kind of head and kind of dive in here with with what we have in front of us. So kind of Tell me Tell us a little bit about like what you brought today and variations and why you chose this.

20:34 So we have a couple of hams before us today. And I like to focus on people who use the very breeds that Fred was talking about having raised years ago. Heritage breed hogs because the quality of the meat is higher. The fat is much more present. It's better marbled, there's a better cap like this area here is called and you get a much better balance of flavor and texture. encoding a lot of the things that we talked about with bourbon but only presented in a solid form. I also when I did the book several years ago, I really got to taste a lot of country ham and these specific cures are the one that I ones that I really like to use in presentations. I have found that their meat tastes best with whiskey out of you know many others, partly because of the fat partly because of the complexity that's gained in aging just like bourbon.

21:26 Yeah, I was about to ask like how what what the rigorous process of testing all that was like to be able to figure out exactly what would pair well

21:33 and what no more rigorous and you guys sitting at the bar, just tasting lots of different things and lugging it somewhere in your memory or Notepad. It's just tasting and tasting, tasting and tasting and think it through. It takes it again like bourbon, a little goes a long way you don't need a ton of country hand three ounces, a country hand would give you your full RTA dose of salt, so you don't need much of it. But I've really gotten to where I'm very fond of this first hand nearest us is from the hammer it in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This is a guy who his name is Bob woods and he's the one that coined my favorite phrase that he used in presentations and he said, Steve, country ham Ain't nothing but hillbilly prosciutto that's what it is. A traditional ham is cured basalt only a country ham is cured with salt and sugar and various other peppers if you like but that's basically the difference

22:26 now these particular pigs you talked about that are worth or they spent a specific diet or they just like you know, in Italy I've seen you know, the swine are fed like a corns only and like massage Do you know? sure that's the procedure department hawks, but they do like to let him get out and free range and did you guys or did you have to keep them in pens or it varied?

22:49 You know, there were some breeds that we would like kind of roam Chester hogs were ones that we would let roam around. You could kind of trust them and they were diggers. They route the hell out They were real readers.

23:02 Very what's rude or mean? Guys? You gotta understand.

23:05 They stay with their nose. I'm gonna say slay

23:07 their noses into the ground to get at grubs and such. Right,

23:09 right. Yeah. So they and they also like to get a nice cool spot to get underneath there. the Berkshires were runners. And so like, if you let them out, there's a pretty good chance that coyote would get it, you know, because they would go out in the woods or something. And they do rocks for really, they were just kind of lazy. They didn't really want to do anything. So even if you open the pin up, they'd be like, yeah, there's a lot out there and I got this water bucket. We're good.

23:35 I love the accent do rocks. Because here in Kentucky me Derek now. Yeah, same spelling,

23:41 just like him. Oh, and and Jim. Oh, well.

23:44 What's fascinating about that is that we would buy hogs from all over the all over the country. You know, because we were competitive. We were showman we were competitive, you know, trying to win jackpot hog shows and stuff. And you go to you we'd go to Illinois, which Illinois had like For a long time, they had like the best genetics for hampshire's and everybody was trying to get a little bit of Hampshire in their in their breeding processes. And they would you would go there you couldn't even understand and they'd say hag, you know, the different enunciations of the breeds? It's fascinating you can it's one of the few kind of light words where you can tell where someone's from, based on how they pronounce breeds. Yeah. And if you look at all they're all most of the of the breeds come from like some kind of European You

24:33 know, when did when you said free range so like, I'm trying to think like a, you know, a cow, like if you have grass fed beef or versus like corn fed corn fed, like much more fatter, like, more flavorful for me anyways, whereas you get grass fed, it's kind of more grainy, kind of earthy kind of flavors, is that do they do the similar things with pigs or?

24:52 Absolutely, I mean, you can you can tell the difference and it just tastes this against some neutral pork sometimes if you cured it, and you do. If we didn't have that diet to begin with, it's not going to influence the meat

25:05 in a thing to that they do with with all animals in, it's very prevalent amongst swine is that they actively add antibiotics because these things are always getting sick. You know, if one of them gets, you know, some kind of flu or some kind of cold, it could wipe out an entire herd or a farrowing house, which has all the piglets in it and you you lose your entire investment so that a lot of these farmers will actively add antibiotics into the feed. And so like when when you hear someone talking about free gain free range or natural or a lot of that means is that they're getting a feed that is not as you know, doped up if you will, and also like they're able to see

25:52 the mo corn thing for you know, hang their hat on that you know, but does it make a difference in the you know, antibiotics versus not any biotics with the meat flavor.

26:01 I've never heard anybody yeah say whether it just always I think it's a no better than I sure

26:07 I think a lot of that also too when you look at this a lot of like ham and sausages is about the processing. So very few people are actually are actually just getting the you know, getting the getting the meat from the hog, you know slicing it and cooking two of them, you know the same way everyone's doing a sauce or they're doing a special cure. It's very it's not like before you can cut you get two steaks, slap it on there, cook it up, and you can tell you know, it's very it's very different with this because much of the art is in the curing and I'm fascinated to me. I'm very fascinated with the art of curing because we go into warehouses and Kentucky, you know, bourbon warehouses like will it and you can see these little, you know, hams just kind of in the rafters. We won't talk about that.

27:00 Alright, we'll see you later. So

27:01 yeah, I want to talk about Yeah, no, I have my opinion on that.

27:05 Well, let's go ahead we'll come back Let's taste I don't know let's let's definitely taste I kind of want you to kind of talk us through, you know what, what we have and like what we're pairing it with. We already talked about what we what we have and then we went on, despite what your brothers

27:16 told you. So what are we left or so let's go with the front one, the one closest to you. This is from the hammer. This is an 18 to 20 month old hand it's called a tin Shuto. So I'm like Fred. I like to hold it up. I like to see the marbling in it. Oh wow, I've never done a efficient Oh wow.

27:33 Can you imagine being do i mean i don't know if I've ever gone to a restaurant and then like I never seen anyone,

27:38 anybody. I don't do that in a restaurant. They bring a light to this and make me a flashlight.

27:42 That smell I mean, I guess like I'm not using

27:44 this particular ham has huge Parmesan cheese note to me, but it also has that very Porky note that barnyard note that I love Parmesan cheese is definitely there on Yeah, for sure. And it's like to lay it right on my tongue.

27:56 I've also I don't think I've ever gone through and like tried to I mean, dude, I'm assuming since you do this and you judge you try to do the palate tasting and trainings like it's the same way you do with a bourbon you're sitting there you're looking at the color you're looking and you're actually smelling it you're nosing it the same way you would do with a whiskey or something like that.

28:12 Believe it or not the way they judge ham contests you don't see the internal part of the ham it's never cut to look at it is in Italy they typically use a horse's cannon bone and they kind of sharpen it down to a point in they stick it into the near the H bone of the ham to see if the thing is properly cured because you know instantly about that aroma that comes out a stick it in the stick through their nose and say yea or nay. And that's one of the criteria for judging here in Kentucky is is that thing properly cured and so you put it in a couple of parts of it the Beavis and Butthead joke in the butt face of the ham. And so they're checking on aroma. They're checking on appearance, how it's trimmed. Typically a country ham is smoked so that The way that is colored is important they don't want they don't want to just super mahogany like Western Kentucky cares will do that sometimes it's not

29:09 a favorable the typical to use mahogany wood for no or they use all different okay oak is really common

29:15 I'm sorry hickory Hickory, Hickory. Okay. So yeah but it's much more superficial than you would think they'll probably palpate it you know smash around some but it's not nearly as intense as you might think. But taste that with the toasted which is on the left you know it's gonna love This is Lauren when she added this guy's like smacking our lips we're gonna do and

29:36 she's always never do that.

29:39 I sound effects

29:40 is if this didn't have enough brown sugar on its own. It's really bumps it up. Andrea Wilson at makers not talk about when we do these pairings we want to compliment, contrast or elevate when we make a pairing. Compliment means they go well together. Contrast means they make each other interesting. Elevate means each makes the other better. And I think this is a

30:05 pairing appearing that elevates so why go with the the toasted on this one? What was the? What was the significance behind that one just

30:13 it's a simple approachable whiskey. I mean, it's it Who doesn't like toasted? It's not my favorite of the mixtures line but I really really like it. And it just pairs well with food. I've paired with a lot of foods and you think you guys can jump in on this with me, but for some reason, their line the mixtures line pairs better than any and I'm thinking that there are two things that are noticeably different from everything else we've done. And that's low barrier entry proof and low proof in the bottle. And for some reason that seems to result in a really good pairing food. I don't know if you've ever thought that through But

30:51 no, I mean, I guess with alcohol overpower. Yeah, I would say that's probably

30:56 but I think everyone's different to you know, some people have you know, burned their power. What's out they need that barrel proof all the time. I wanted to ask you a question about about like the the the the sliced country ham always feels sticker to me then prosciutto and I when I was in I was in Italy and I was at a price Judo place and they had me go up go behind and cut they they let me cut and I used actually did the bone and when I cut they were like you're too thick Get out of here. So it wasn't that thick it was like this but so why why what's the difference between like you know the standards of the thickness?

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32:49 What's the difference between like, you know the standards of the thickness In contrast, I think it's a great question

32:57 in the United States and certainly in the south. In United States where country ham is most prevalent people don't eat it and people I say eat it raw No not yet rots cured it is chemically and physically transformed into a shelf stable product so it's cured it's not raw it My mother was one of many who just abused ham country ham and would cook it to you probably had it Ryan in Barcelona baseball leather consistency and intensify the salt it was just overwhelming absolutely no fun but when I did this book I can't tell you how many people how many cures did not like it like this. They they thought that this is kind of like it with a little red add gravy or whatever and like this is the best expression Yeah, this is the barrel proof barrel strength expression of their product

33:50 or essentially throw it in a sandwich with tomato and you know let us in pickles.

33:54 Well done like well yeah done like that. I've enjoyed it too. It Nancy nuisance place I think I posted a photo A couple days ago of it but yeah Fred This is the shark eatery cut that really shows to me respects the the product and its natural best and did you cut it with I not like you're talking about like off the the hammer itself I'd still be doing it to try to get these things done you got to be an expert or an expert to do that I can do it but I'm slow I have a commercial slicer in my house. Oh

34:24 nice and then I know what I'm getting at Costco next commercials

34:29 I'll help you find one on the on the US market will be a lot better go where one out with a ham

34:33 I got a question after you cut yes or no because it's cured do you have to do anything to like seal it to preserve it or how do you preserve it after you've already cut into it?

34:42 Well, before we started you probably saw me taking it out of those vacuum packages that just do that but

34:47 oh you and I'm talking about the actual whole ham. What do you do with that after?

34:52 I like to break it down into as large sections of muscle as I can both to make it easier to slice But to do is you say get it into a vacuum package and and seal it that way so that the more muscle integrity you have the better it's going to be preserved I can keep them in a refrigerator or a freezer for a long long period of time and they're fine

35:13 What size do these typically come in when say you want to go buy like a hammer

35:17 so a country ham depending on the maker or the cure, I should say starts out at about 20 to 23 pounds green weight is Joe recall that to green that seems to be industry and industry time. And what's that? What's that mean though? It means fresh. Yeah, fresh

35:35 jiggling way so it's basically like trying to buy like an eight ounce filet or an eight ounce steak and then you cook it and then it

35:40 but that's been that's probably been dry aged for a little while so that this this thing was only King you know, 48 hours ago.

35:46 All right then. So remember my role and stray from butter dogs. It was just it was raising them. Put them on a truck and say goodbye. Give me the check. Yeah, once they were done, I was don't name them. I did name a couple of

35:59 yeah But But yeah, they'll they'll shrink to about if they start out at 22. There'll be ready it, you know, at about a year at 17 pounds so they lose. That's their Angel share, you know them losing that moisture to intensify the flavors that are inside the ham and to trigger I'm trying to think of the garden it's an enzymatic reaction that that really makes the meat shelf stable. All that works together and it works together because the place we live just like bourbon is so good here because of our climate. The same thing happens to hams that you know that once you hang them outside and let them be subject to the weather. It's amazing. Now there's not that many places in the world that you can do this.

36:44 Well I've never I've always wanted to get into like curing my own ham or something like that. Because I know a few people and a few different bourbon groups and that's like one of their kind of like side projects or side hobbies assisting

36:55 at 89 guy yeah, he's got some good ones going

36:58 yeah. So with the One

37:00 of those in my refrigerator home All right,

37:02 perfect. So I mean, so talk, I mean, because I don't even know like, even the process of how you would even start doing that, hey, you'd have to require the leg, but be like, what, what's that? What's the next step in that process?

37:13 It's it's pretty crude, frankly, it's, you trim the trim away certain parts of the hand to make it look good. And you rub the hell out of it with carrying salt. You know, I mean, you're sticking in every little nook and cranny because you want to get that salt in there to penetrate to the bone and push the way with and push the water out essentially. As cures would say it's a race to the bone if if, if bacteria gets to the bone of the hand first, you've lost your ham if if salt gets there first you've got a cured ham. And what it does, basically is created by getting the water out it starves the bacteria, that's what they need to thrive. And that's all the salt does is pushes it out. And of course flavors it very deal

37:58 to I just did the second premise. I'm sorry I jumped ahead

38:01 I couldn't I did it too oh my god it's perfect oh my god i mean it was it was funny like going into this you know I have a I have a little bit of I don't want to say a criticism but I have a little bit of that that kind of I hold back a little bit be like oh can you really pair like ham and bourbon together holy shit yeah you can

38:20 say that's so fun about this is to see that happen and people you know the scales fall from their eyes they go really

38:27 you can do this well I mean it's in I think it kind of just gives you a little bit more you know a benefit to hear to say like okay, you were able to show me like for me to sit there and say like, I don't even know where I would go and find a different kinds of handy and start experimenting with around here. But if I did, and I came down here my basement I started pulling, you know, Jefferson's reserve, I started pulling Booker's I pulled you know, whatever, you name it across the line and tried to figure out like, how did these pair I don't really know if I'd be able to do that. So I guess when you're doing this, what are some of those new wants his or flavors in a ham or a bourbon that you're trying to pair with a particular Wang Kenny. I wish I could French it up and give you some fascinating answer. But it is mostly trial and error. But But the key

39:14 attribute that I want from the ham to actually from a country ham is fat content to coat the palette and smoke a little bit of smoke in there. Salt is everywhere it doesn't matter the to AI know how to cut the the hand correctly so choose correctly. So really it's it's fat. And one of the virtues of a whiskey that pairs well is that it cleanses the palate. Yeah, and and this this so what we tasted here just a second ago that Fred and Kenny cheated on wisely. was a 24 month old Broadbent country ham. Yeah, broadband done from a Berkshire hog. Yeah, Burke charade. Yeah. And it's just as there's no app That's it. This is one the the the company's won the Kentucky State Fair country ham championship 18 times out of 53 or so.

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322 episodes