Jamón Ibérico Southern Style
April 22, 2018 11:31 AM   Subscribe

An organic farm in Georgia received Spanish hogs a few years ago and they should be ready to release next year. Will it really be as good as the fabulous Spanish ham? We'll see. Content warning: hog butchery
posted by MovableBookLady (34 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
oh my god i volunteer as product tester i will let nothing stand in the way of my dedication to ham tasting
posted by poffin boffin at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2018 [14 favorites]


[Tentative slavering]
posted by rhizome at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


All notions of authenticity or concerns about terroir aside, it's not like the end result is going to be something that tastes BAD. And since the DOP prevents them from actually calling it iberico there shouldn't be any kind of despairing cries of HAM FRAUD.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


Please enjoy this withering Twitter thread by ag consultant Sarah Taber. Sample:
Can't believe we actually have a farmer, a chef/charcutier, and a food journalist all freaking out wondering "if we let Spanish pigs loose in the South will they survive???"

WHERE DO Y'ALL THINK ALL THESE WILD HOGS CAME FROM
(I also enjoyed the story and hope they have success in creating delicious ham.)
posted by purpleclover at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2018 [28 favorites]


As it turns out, jamón ibérico doesn't have PDO protection (which champagne has, as does Parmigiano Reggiano), and White Oak Farm is in collusion with one of the most respected Spanish ham producers, I'm pretty sure nobody is going to go around crying about ham fraud. What I found most interesting is that they tested for an acorn substitute and, lo, peanuts and pecans were perfect substitutes.
posted by MovableBookLady at 12:03 PM on April 22, 2018 [14 favorites]


I'm certainly going to be going around crying about ham fraud.
posted by bleep at 12:06 PM on April 22, 2018 [22 favorites]


I'm the photographer for this story. I really loved seeing those pigs at different stages of their lives in environments so idyllic that sometimes it felt like I was on a movie set. It was an experience that helped me connect personally with my food source. Knowing that I would have to document the slaughter process, I wondered if I'd have qualms about eating meat going forward. My takeaway was that I now want to know where my meat is coming from and I will pay more because quality meat like this is not cheap to produce. I'm looking forward to eventually trying the Georgia jamon.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 12:21 PM on April 22, 2018 [95 favorites]


Oh, also, we went easy on you with the graphic photos. It got quite a bit more intense than what ran.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 12:24 PM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


Peanuts and pecans instead of acorns! Why not? Pecans in particular make a lot of sense to me. But my guess is the real challenge is going to be the proper curing procedures. You can't cut any corners and you have to do it right. Fingers crossed.
posted by Nelson at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm certainly going to be going around crying about ham fraud.

Ham scam, surely?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:31 PM on April 22, 2018 [15 favorites]


I'm the photographer for this story.

Were you also nibbled on by inquisitive piglets though
posted by poffin boffin at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


Peanut-fed pigs have been known to have superior taste for a long time. Nero Wolfe (in a novel written in the 1930s, I think) calls them one of the American contributions to haute cuisine.
posted by praemunire at 12:55 PM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


As it turns out, jamón ibérico doesn't have PDO protection (which champagne has, as does Parmigiano Reggiano)

It's got several denominaciones de origen (DOP) which are similar to French AOC or Italian DOC.
posted by sukeban at 12:59 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Which just says that you can perfectly sell acorn-fed Georgia-grown Iberian ham, but you can't use the registered DOPs.
posted by sukeban at 1:01 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


They really care about hams in Spain. I remember seeing a beautiful one for sale, dressed in a black velvet cover with yellow tassels. And that was in a filling station. Not even a big filling station.
posted by Segundus at 1:43 PM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


I volunteer as tribute!
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]






Were you also nibbled on by inquisitive piglets though

So many nibbles. Turns out they explore with their mouths. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 2:22 PM on April 22, 2018 [30 favorites]


I was at a three-day industry event in Barcelona - a huge affair, very busy, I worked and partied with the careless energy of youth - but the abiding memory is of an evening event by the docks hosted by a big industry name where the only sustenance was cava and oak-fed Spanish ham. Waiters just brought the stuff in piled up on silver salvers and we ate and ate and ate.

It was utterly, unutterably sublime. I cannot imagine the cost. But heaven need do nothing more than to replicate the experience for me to fervently praise whichever god's in charge until my final breath.
posted by Devonian at 2:32 PM on April 22, 2018 [12 favorites]


Incidentally, Ham Fraud is the name of my new band. We mostly play porkas.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:37 PM on April 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


Incidentally, Ham Fraud is the name of my new band.

Are you sure? This thread has shown that no one is crying for Ham Fraud.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:04 PM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


Well we certainly don't want our music to make the fans cry, so...that's a good thing?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:33 PM on April 22, 2018


One of the great things about living in Georgia is that we basically only eat White Oak Pastures meat. We get their pork and chicken from our awesome CSA (Fresh Harvest), but we can buy their ground beef at Kroger. I can't imagine ever going back to plain old factory farmed crap again. My students are always lecturing us on the climate impacts of meat (which I truly am aware of), and the spouse has been talking about eating less meat for his health reasons, and I get all weepy thinking about giving up White Oak's pork chops.

They've also been in the news before because of their bald eagle problems.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:45 PM on April 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


> hydropsyche:
"One of the great things about living in Georgia is that we basically only eat White Oak Pastures meat. We get their pork and chicken from our awesome CSA (Fresh Harvest), but we can buy their ground beef at Kroger. I can't imagine ever going back to plain old factory farmed crap again. My students are always lecturing us on the climate impacts of meat (which I truly am aware of), and the spouse has been talking about eating less meat for his health reasons, and I get all weepy thinking about giving up White Oak's pork chops.

They've also been in the news before because of their bald eagle problems."


Love pork as much as the next person, but, I have to ask... How is their chicken?
posted by Samizdata at 5:22 PM on April 22, 2018


TheGoldenOne, those are some terrific photos. Thank you!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


I follow White Oak Pastures on Facebook and I would love to visit the farm someday. I've been a fan since the eagle story mentioned above. Their Serengeti rotational grazing system is impressive - large ruminants followed by smaller ones followed by chickens and rabbits.

And, I'd love some of this ham.
posted by shoesietart at 7:02 PM on April 22, 2018


" My students are always lecturing us on the climate impacts of meat (which I truly am aware of), and the spouse has been talking about eating less meat for his health reasons, and I get all weepy thinking about giving up White Oak's pork chops."

You know, perhaps instead of 'giving up meat', you could just endeavor to eat less of it (start with one day a week meatless). Eating 1/4 as much meat as you do would have a dramatic environmental impact. And you can use some of that savings to buy really good meat that you'll enjoy a ton more. I really think there are a ton of folks that can't give up meat (or won't, which is fine), but haven't explored alternatives; alternatives that involve eating tastier meat (without costing more; if you eat less of it, that is).

This message brought to you by a vegetarian that has no interest in 'converting' people to my dietary lifestyle.
posted by el io at 8:00 PM on April 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


La Quercia is a top-notch processor. Their American prosciutto ranks up there with the genuine article, imho. Honestly, I’ve never had bad charcuterie from them.

Those hams are in good hands.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:12 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, if you’re itching to try some Iberico product, they are already marketing the lard.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:18 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


> La Quercia is a top-notch processor. Their American prosciutto ranks up there with the genuine article, imho.

Came here to look for a mention of La Quercia. I buy their prosciutto instead of prosciutto di Parma now most of the time.
posted by desuetude at 7:16 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's been interesting in my lifetime seeing the the growing appreciation for quality food and cuisine in the United States. For so long it was quantity and convenience over quality. As a child my exotic options were a Chinese restaurant with egg fu yung and chow mein with crispy noodles. Now that same small town has Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and quality Chinese choices.
posted by ShakeyJake at 10:18 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Sarah Taber thread mocks the various participants for asking of the Spanish pigs would survive, but...was that ever an issue? The question being raised was if the meat would be good enough, tasty enough, profitable enough.

Which is not to deny that there isn't a lot of BS in food marketing, but hey, that's what blind tastings are for.
posted by pykrete jungle at 7:55 PM on April 23, 2018


You know, perhaps instead of 'giving up meat', you could just endeavor to eat less of it (start with one day a week meatless). Eating 1/4 as much meat as you do would have a dramatic environmental impact. And you can use some of that savings to buy really good meat that you'll enjoy a ton more. I really think there are a ton of folks that can't give up meat (or won't, which is fine), but haven't explored alternatives; alternatives that involve eating tastier meat (without costing more; if you eat less of it, that is).

I noted in my post that we only buy meat from White Oak Pastures. That is some expensive, really good meat. I would argue it is among the most environmentally friendly, carbon neutral meat available in the United States. We cannot afford to eat that very often. So, yes, that is what we do. I also noted that I teach environmental science, so obviously I know the climate impacts of meat.

this post felt aimed specifically at me. If it was meant to be a general 'you' and not a 'you hydropsyche', I apologize for my confusion
posted by hydropsyche at 5:16 PM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


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