Ham or lamb? How about lamb ham?

 ham and lamb

Many tables will feature a gorgeous rack of lamb or a platter of succulent ham this weekend. What you probably won't find is lamb ham, although it used to be quite popular, according to NPR's The Salt. 

Ham made from mutton and lamb was prevalent in the 1800s, first in England, and then in colonial America, according to David Shields, an English professor at the University of South Carolina and author of Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine. Shields mentioned this discovery to shepherd Craig Rogers, who was intrigued by the possibility. Rogers then teamed up with third generation curemaster Sam Edwards, and together they are resurrecting lamb ham, a true country-style ham that cures for a full six months. The result is, as, Rogers gushes, "stunning, like nothing I have had before. The richness of the lamb, coupled with salt and hickory smoke, creates this buttery, nutty, tender dish. How did something so tasty disappear so completely for so long?"

The answer, according to Shields, is the result of two trends in the early 20th century. "The gospel of fiber, fleshly purity and colon health preached by James Caleb Jackson, the Kellogg brothers, and Charles William Post cleared meat of any kind from the morning meal," Shields says. "And then there was the greater economy of prepping commercial lamb for roasting rather than curing it."

The USDA has approved Rogers and Edwards' lamb ham product, but it won't hit the market until 2016. If you can't wait that long, the article includes a recipe for a city-cured lamb ham to tide you over until the country-style ham is available. 

Photos of Simple baked ham and Grilled rack of lamb with saffron rice from Cooking Light Magazine

2 Comments

  • sir_ken_g  on  4/6/2015 at 10:28 AM

    Interesting. I would try it.

  • Queezle_Sister  on  4/6/2015 at 7:04 PM

    My Italian market (Tony Caputo's) in Salt Lake City has lamb ham, I believe locally produced?? Thin slices on a cracker is how we like it - it melts in the mouth like nobody's business. Reminds me of acorn-fed ham I tasted in Paris.

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