Though Dr. Seuss would have us believe roast beast is the most common Christmas meat, a survey from the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business finds that, although roast beef is a popular Christmas Eve choice, ham and turkey reign on Christmas Day.
In my family, it’s always been ham—we already indulge in lots of turkey at Thanksgiving, after all. I live in New England, where hams are fairly standardized: Sometimes they’re spiral, sometimes they’re just baked and sliced. A short trip into the depths of Goldbelly, though, has opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist under the umbrella of the Christmas ham. Here are five unique varieties to order this holiday season.
Memphis BBQ is not how I think of Christmas ham, or it wasn’t until I saw this listing, and now I’m dreaming up a new vision for my Christmas dinner. This pit smoked BBQ ham from The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, Mississippi is brined in dark brown sugar and kosher salt, plus cloves, celery, and bay leaves. It’s smoked “low and slow” in a pecan-wood burning pit, and then topped in a “sticky honey ham glaze.” The BBQ smoked ham is about $140 before tax and shipping.
The Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago, Wisconsin is famous for its apple offerings—namely, its apple pie baked in a paper bag—so it makes sense that apple has made its way into its Christmas ham offerings, too. This apple cider baked whole ham is “cured in apple cider before being hickory smoked twice to make for lean, juicy, and flavorful meat,” and it serves 18-20 people, so it’s appropriate for a family gathering. If you can’t shake the idea of that apple pie baked in a paper bag (of which The Elegant Farmer says it bakes 250,000 a year), you can get a half a ham plus a pie baked in a bag for around the same price as the 10-lb. ham, $119. Varying sizes (and price points) for hams and combos are also available.
The ham may actually not end up stealing the show here, but it is an important part of this Cajun feast from Cajun Ed’s Specialty Meats in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The feast includes a turducken, a turporken, and a ham, which you can get honey glazed or Cajun honey glazed. The turducken and turporken are each stuffed with Cajun cornbread. The whole feast costs around $320, before tax and shipping. That works out to just over $12 per person.
Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans sells what it calls the “World’s Best Baked Ham.” For a whopping $329.95, you get a 17- to 19-lb. baked ham that will serve 20-30 people. According to the listing for this showstopper ham, Mother’s Restaurant opened in 1938 in a working-class neighborhood, where the restaurant “catered to lines of longshoremen and laborers, newspapermen, and businessmen” who wanted simple food. The menu for the restaurant today remains approachable, and this ham has apparently stood the test of time.
Not your average Christmas ham, this bone-in Jamón Serrano is both a conversation starter and focal point on any Christmas spread. It’s made by Spanish company Campofrioand sold whole on Goldbelly by from Chesapeake Bay Gourmet in Jessup, Maryland. According to the Goldbelly listing for this ham, Campofrio’s “four-stage curing system precisely controls temperatures, humidity and airflow to mimic all four seasons of the Spanish mountains—enabling us to create the ‘perfect year’ for Jamón Serrano, year in and year out.” This leg of ham, which comes with a display stand and carving knife, is around $300 before shipping and tax, and according to the listing, it’ll feed between 28 and 30 people.