Search for recipes, cooking guides, how to videos, and tips from our chefs.

The Case for Thanksgiving Ham

Everyone knows the holidays are for family time and traditions. Having an oven baked, or a fried turkey in the south, is very commonplace. That is, except at the Gourmet Gents’ houses.

Why is that? It’s simple, really: In 2015, we bought a Snake River Farms Kurobuta ham for one of our tailgates. It was one of the most talked about items that we served to our guests that entire season.

Late that same afternoon our own Michele Iorio proclaimed, “We are having one of these for Thanksgiving this year.” That’s all it took to become a new family tradition at all our houses.

Why was the switch to a Kurobuta ham so easy? It wasn’t just one thing:

It’s Tasty: The Snake River Farms Kurobuta ham is honestly the best tasting ham you will ever put in your face. It doesn’t require glaze because the marbling inside each ham provides all the flavor you’ll need. It doesn’t hurt that it melts in your mouth.

It’s Foolproof: The ham comes frozen to your door directly from Snake River Farms. Thawing it out is easy. No need to worry about cleaning it, cleaning up after it or, the absolute worst, forgetting to remove the giblet package before cooking it.

The ham has already been smoked, so all you are really doing is heating it up to get the juices flowing again – taking away all the problems you can face dealing with a raw turkey.

It’s Adaptable: Cooking choices when it comes to meat are always a plus. Is your oven full with other holiday goodies?  No problem, just crank up your grill or smoker and put that big boy on there to heat it up.

It Stands on Its Own: Everyone knows that turkey is bland! It’s a full two-day process to add just a little flavor or otherwise alter that blandness. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about a good brine, injection, rub and sauce, but with the Kurobuta ham, it doesn’t require any of that to be spectacular.

We should not forget the tedious sides that go along with making your turkey edible. True dressing takes at least two days to make, then a real cranberry salad and green bean casserole can make perfect, if time consuming, additions. Think of all the wonderful sides you could be eating that take a lot less time, a lot less work and go superbly with ham – like sweet potatoes, fresh corn, Lima beans, deviled eggs and cinnamon apples. We could go on.

It’s Resilient: Unlike turkey, there are so many things you can do with leftover ham – and every one of them is fantastic. Some of us love the bone, which can be used for soup later in the winter. You can make all sorts of killer sandwiches (Cubano anyone?), epic ham omelettes, ham quiche for breakfast or even some phenomenal stuffed potatoes. And let’s not forget the kiddos: kid-friendly ham and cheese melts!

It’s Non-Narcotic: Semi-kidding on this one because most folks appreciate a good nap. However, no tryptophan – the ingredient in turkey that causes narcolepsy – in the ham allows you to spend more time with friends and family instead of snoozing.

Hopefully some of these of our thoughts and ideas have helped you at least contemplate switching from your boring old Thanksgiving Turkey to the best ham on the planet.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families and good eating to you all!

*The Gourmet Gents are a group of families that run what they call The Best Tailgate in the South, ditching hot dogs and hamburgers for an experience that is closer to a well-groomed steakhouse than a stadium parking lot – all in the name of their beloved University of South Carolina. Contact them on Twitter: @gourmet_gents