Benton’s Berkshire Country Ham

Two slices of Benton\'s Berkshire hamI woke up this morning with a desire for a country ham breakfast (I know this sounds crazy, I mean how much pork can one person consume, a lot). So I broke into the fridge and found a pack of Benton’s Berkshire country ham. I looked back at my notes from visiting Allan and quickly made a pot of coffee. While waiting for the pot of joe to brew I marveled in the perfection that sat in front of me. Simply sliced would have been wonderful and more than anyone else may have needed. I remembered Allan telling me how hard it was, but that he was finding pasture raised organic Berkshire hogs to make many of his hams from. He also added a statement as to how much it was costing him and the fact that he charges no more for the Berkshire hams than he does from his regular hams. This is not to say that his regular hams are to be avoided, those are produced from the best pasture raised hogs of various breeds that he can find, and they are fantastic. The Berkshire hams though, in my opinion, are something to covet, and a way for everyone to experience what you will pay a high price for in most places for the same price as a regular country ham. Once the coffee was finished brewing I quickly poured myself a cup (Kelly was not up yet before you get mad) and then poured roughly 1/3 cup into a large skillet. Then I added two tablespoons of brown sugar (according to the advice Allan gave me) to the pan, turned the stove onto medium high heat and allowed the sugar to completely dissolve. Then I added the ham. Two beautiful pieces of ham, laying opposite ways of each other, filled the house with the wonderful aroma that only country ham cooking in freshly brewed coffee can (Kelly quickly got out of bed). When the ham was done cooking I quickly wrapped it in aluminum foil and added a tablespoon of floor to the liquid. Stirring with vigor I watched as this deeply flavored liquid thickened into an unbelievably rich red eye gravy. Sauteing some eggs and toasting bread at the same time we could hardly wait. Breakfast of Benton’s ham, eggs, and toast with apricot jelly was served and devoured quickly. So quickly in fact that the cup of coffee I had poured for myself turned cold before I even touched it. Oh well, it was worth it.

–matt bolus

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