Smoking our own hams bring us much more than ham (the meat). The meat could end up in ham sandwiches, part of a pasta dish or even as a ham steak. The skin makes a smoky gelatinous stock we often use in pigs skin risotto and soups. We always place a pan directly under the smoker to collect the drippings (liquid bacon), which finds its way into vinaigrette, sauces and marinades. The bones get used to make stocks and sauces.
However, the fat that surrounds the ham, often 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick is freaking amazing. Currently on our menu is Ham Fat-Potato Croquettes. We take two parts diced ham fat and combine it with one part mashed potato, roll it into balls, bread ’em and then fry ’em. We’re serving them with mustard cream and last summer’s pickles.
Sometimes the best dishes come from the parts that either don’t get used or people are hesitant to try. Ham fat- yum!