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July 31, 2012

Tale Tuesday: awesome ossabaw hams and "hams"

Today's Tuesday Tale brings some porky publicity to not one but four Smoking Goose partners and two new Smoking Goose meat treats. What ties all these tales together is a little tasty time travel.

ossabaw hogs
image by Conner Prairie
In collaboration with Conner Prairie—an interactive history park reenacting early nineteenth-century life on the Indiana prairies—Goose owner Chris Eley worked with livestock manager Kevyn Miller who raises Ossabaw pigs just as early Hoosier settlers did centuries ago. The breed’s history trots even further back than 1820s Indiana. These small pigs are descendants of wild boars in Spain, but farmers of yesterday and today prize them for their highly marbled, ruby red meat.

For the latest, limited release of awesome Ossabaw, Smoking Goose worked its meat magic on cuts from two different portions of this historic breed: hind-end hams and front-end shoulder "hams."

Chris & his team hand-rubbed the Ossabaw hams with sea salt, black pepper, and orange peel before they dry cured for six months. (Think of these kinda like an Indiana version of an Italian prosciutto or a Spanish jamon--sliced paper thin next to a piece of Indiana summer melon...hoosier heaven.) So far our Six Month Ossabaw Hams are available only at Black Sparrow in Lafayette and from small distributor in Illinois called EquusOaks Farms.

Smoking Goose's Paleta is inspired by the Spanish shoulder "ham" of the same name. These cuts got sea salt, black pepper, time, and love, just like the Ossabaw hams. But the Paleta is cut from the shoulder (rather than the hind end) of the Ossabaw and got even more time to hang. The combination of the incredibly well-marbled shoulders plus more than six months aging makes for a slice with potent porky goodness. (Sweet and rich and deliciously funky, it can take the spotlight next to simple sides like Spanish marcona almonds and aged sheep's milk cheeses.) Right now, the lucky folks with our Paleta on their menus include Ball and Biscuit in Indianapolis and The Legend in Irvington.

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