Tennessee's country salt-cured ham-broiled, boiled or fried-retains a distinctive, delicious salty taste. In pioneer days, meats were salted, peppered and smoked before hanging in the smokehouse to "cure." Today, it's that salt, pepper and smoky flavor that we find irresistible in country ham.
Enjoy a fried piece between a warm, golden-brown biscuit. Pair it with freshly fried apples, and be smitten with the combination. Top it with preserves, jam, honey or jelly. And, do not miss the chance to break apart a biscuit, spread it on your plate and spoon over some red-eye gravy, made from pan drippings, water and coffee. (Although, there are as many debates about fine tuning red-eye gravy as there are Tennesseans!) The ham is also an excellent accent for flavor in a pot of long-simmered green beans.
Tennessee boasts some of the finest purveyors of country ham, among them: Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Madisonville, available unsmoked or hickory smoked; Tripp Country Hams, Brownsville, available whole or in slices; Clifty Farm, Paris, available whole, half or sliced; Rice's Country Hams, Mt. Juliet, whole or half. If you are looking for something unique to serve--or you would like to send a Tennessee flavor to someone special--order some country ham. Southern supermarkets also stock country ham in sealed packages in the meat department.
Bite down into vividly fruity blackberry preserves piled atop a split biscuit on a backdrop of country ham at Beacon Light Tea Room in Lyles. Homemade apple fritters, apple butter and cider greet you at Carver's Applehouse, Cosby, in preparation for an out-of-this-world center-cut country ham entree. Mouth-watering country ham, biscuits, gravy await you at the Log Cabin Pancake House in Pigeon Forge, or have your ham with pancakes. Any way you order it, Tennessee's country ham is a delectable adventure in taste.
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