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Nueske's ham - worth the cost?

Nueske's ham - worth the cost?
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  • Nueske's ham - worth the cost?

    Post #1 - December 15th, 2009, 6:24 pm
    Post #1 - December 15th, 2009, 6:24 pm Post #1 - December 15th, 2009, 6:24 pm
    First, I think they're bacon is great, but with sales bringing the cost of bacon down to $2.50 a pound at even stores like Jewel (for brands like Farmland) you have to wonder if it's worth it to pay $10/pound.

    But, I'm wondering about their smoked hams. Anyone ever have one? Is their ham at ~$8.00/pound PLUS shipping worth it?
  • Post #2 - December 15th, 2009, 7:57 pm
    Post #2 - December 15th, 2009, 7:57 pm Post #2 - December 15th, 2009, 7:57 pm
    Nothing against Nueske's, but if you're going to all the trouble of mail ordering ham, I think you could do much better. Kite's and Calhoun's were favorites of mine back in Virginia, and once a year or so I'll have on shipped up. IIRC, prices start around $2.50/lb for whole, uncooked, bone-in hams and probably go up to the $8-10/lb range for portioned, boneless, cooked hams. Newsom's from Kentucky is also fantastic, though I've only tasted pieces of it and never purchased a whole one.

    -Dan
  • Post #3 - December 15th, 2009, 8:28 pm
    Post #3 - December 15th, 2009, 8:28 pm Post #3 - December 15th, 2009, 8:28 pm
    Thanks for the info. It looks like the producers you mentioned make country hams and I don't see them quite the same. I love county ham but use it more like I would other cured meats. Baked ham such as Nueske's and even Honey Baked, to me, are different.
  • Post #4 - December 17th, 2009, 1:13 pm
    Post #4 - December 17th, 2009, 1:13 pm Post #4 - December 17th, 2009, 1:13 pm
    YES!
    For a City Ham there is no better!
    Even better is to go to the company store and purchase bacons ends(5# package).
    After decades of trying different City Hams, Nueske's is the best.-Dick
  • Post #5 - December 17th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    Post #5 - December 17th, 2009, 2:02 pm Post #5 - December 17th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    Dan-

    Just out of curiosity, have you had Costco's Kirkland ham or the Martha Steward brand ham from Costco? That's pretty much the only other thing I was looking at right now.

    Thanks for your opinon,

    Jay
  • Post #6 - December 17th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Post #6 - December 17th, 2009, 2:50 pm Post #6 - December 17th, 2009, 2:50 pm
    Depending on how close you are to the WI border, you could save shipping by stopping in at Mars Cheese Castle, which is not too far over the border and carries Nueske's products, including ham. (Though you might want to phone first, to make sure they're not out. They bustle during the holidays.)

    Here's what the Mars site says about Nueske's Ham: "Nueske’s Hillcrest Farm Applewood Smoked Honey Glazed Ham was awarded the 2001 American Taste Award of Excellence when compared and judged against all competition by the American Tasting Institute. This ham was judged primarily for taste, however, appearance and freshness were also considered. Mars’ feels this honey glazed spiral-sliced ham is the finest product on the market today, not only in Wisconsin, but any place in the U.S.A. This product is the best that your money can buy!"

    And while you're there, you can stock up on garlic cheese curds.

    Mars Cheese Castle
    2800 120th Avenue
    Kenosha, WI 53144-7599
    (262) 859-2244
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #7 - December 17th, 2009, 2:54 pm
    Post #7 - December 17th, 2009, 2:54 pm Post #7 - December 17th, 2009, 2:54 pm
    I haven't - I'm not much of a city ham kind of guy (hence my recommendation).

    One other thing just came to mind: If you go to any of the local farmers markets, it might be worth asking some of the pork folks if they offer city hams. I usually look right past them, but it's pretty common in my experience for them to offer them (uncured hams aren't very saleable and country hams take a lot of work, experience, controlled conditions, etc).

    -Dan
  • Post #8 - December 17th, 2009, 3:07 pm
    Post #8 - December 17th, 2009, 3:07 pm Post #8 - December 17th, 2009, 3:07 pm
    shadesofjay wrote:Dan-

    Just out of curiosity, have you had Costco's Kirkland ham or the Martha Steward brand ham from Costco? That's pretty much the only other thing I was looking at right now.

    Thanks for your opinon,

    Jay

    I know the question was not directed to me, but we got a Martha Stewart ham from Costco last year and a Kirkland brand ham from Costco this year, in each case for a holiday party. I actually preferred the house-label version we got this year and think it is a very good ham for the price (about $3/pound IIRC). For a non-country-style ham (in years past we had purchased a Newsom ham for the same event), I thought the Kirkland ham was really good and folks at our holiday gathering loved it.

    Note that Costco carries a couple of different hams, including a spiral sliced ham. The Kirkland ham we purchased was bone-in, unsliced, and labeled as antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat. Note that when my wife went this year to the Clybourn Costco, she did not see the Martha Stewart hams -- one of the reasons we had purchased the Martha one the year before was because it also was a more "natural" product; perhaps the Kirkland ham has replaced it.
  • Post #9 - December 17th, 2009, 5:00 pm
    Post #9 - December 17th, 2009, 5:00 pm Post #9 - December 17th, 2009, 5:00 pm
    Matt-

    THat's exactly the info I was hoping to get by posting here! I haven't gone to the Clyborn costco yet, but was hoping for an unsliced boneless or bone-in ham that folks like. I was really trying to find out, though if something like Nueske's, at $8-10 is worth it over something like the costco hams.

    Thanks for the info.

    -Jay
  • Post #10 - December 29th, 2009, 2:19 pm
    Post #10 - December 29th, 2009, 2:19 pm Post #10 - December 29th, 2009, 2:19 pm
    I'm a great believer in blind tasting to find out what one prefers, many indivudals are really surprised to learn that thier preference is many times based on thier perception of the product.
    BUT in this case Nueske's is clearly superior to ANYTHING I have tried. I'll put money on it!
    Before XMAS our local Pick n Save had a deal where if one purchased whole Cook's ham you got a free frozen turkey. I gave the ham to my daughter to have on Xmas and we had the turkey on Thankgiving. Now the Cook's was OK but nowhere near the taste and firmness of the Nueske's. Last time I do that!
    My wife put some Nueske's 'Snacking Sticks' in my stocking in the fridge for me. I'm a great fan of landjaegers and that sort of thing and buy them at the different Polish markets but the Nueske's are clearly superior in taste. Part of it is the apple wood smoking and I'm going to see of Berger Bros has some applewood for smoking and change from hickory.-Dick
  • Post #11 - December 29th, 2009, 2:31 pm
    Post #11 - December 29th, 2009, 2:31 pm Post #11 - December 29th, 2009, 2:31 pm
    We wound up getting the Kirkland bone-in ham. It was just OK. It was dry and I wasn't crazy about the texture or flavor.

    Next time I'll try the Nueske's.

    -Jay
  • Post #12 - December 29th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    Post #12 - December 29th, 2009, 2:47 pm Post #12 - December 29th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    jay -- sorry to lead you astray with the Kirkland ham. The one we had was not dry and I found the flavor and texture quite nice (and we buy hams at least once or twice a year). Perhaps we have different tastes or just got hams from different batches. I am going to try a Nueske's ham myself for New Years if I can track one down and will try to report back here.
  • Post #13 - December 29th, 2009, 2:52 pm
    Post #13 - December 29th, 2009, 2:52 pm Post #13 - December 29th, 2009, 2:52 pm
    Matt-

    No worries. Given the price difference, I figured I'd try the Kirkland first regardless. I never see Nueske's hams around, so I might see if I can find one next time I'm up in WI to save on shipping. Maybe for one of the Madison farmers markets.

    Good hunting.

    -J
  • Post #14 - December 29th, 2009, 7:39 pm
    Post #14 - December 29th, 2009, 7:39 pm Post #14 - December 29th, 2009, 7:39 pm
    ...so I might see if I can find one next time I'm up in WI to save on shipping.


    Just go to the site, http://www.nueskes.com/, and get on the mailing list. They have no-shipping-charges specials quite frequently, not to mention bacon varieties that are unavailable here, and that unbelievable bacon/ham sausage.

    Also, I bought the Customary Dining Companion, a lukewarm ham fan, a nice little ham a couple of years ago, and he is still talking about it. The scant leftovers found their way into a dish of scalloped potatoes. Best I've ever made; the dish consisted of nothing more than taters, bechamel, and ham, topped with panko and baked. Fabulous.
  • Post #15 - December 29th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    Post #15 - December 29th, 2009, 8:14 pm Post #15 - December 29th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    shadesofjay,

    Do you mind commenting on how you prepared the ham?

    I had an eleven pound bone-in ham of non-descript pedigree. In advance of cooking, I trimmed off skin and excess fat leaving a narrow margin. I then made deep diamond cuts. I heated it at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

    At 90 minutes, I pulled the ham from the oven and reset the temperature to 350 degrees. Studded intersections with a clove. Mixed a glaze of 1 cup each marmalade and brown sugar and half-cup Dijon mustard, which was spread on at three intervals over an hour final cooking.

    My ham came out fine with no dryness or texture issues.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - December 29th, 2009, 9:20 pm
    Post #16 - December 29th, 2009, 9:20 pm Post #16 - December 29th, 2009, 9:20 pm
    Cathy-

    My issues could have been overcooking, but I still wasn't wowed by the flavor. The instructions on the package were, 30 minutes @ 325 (or thereabouts) for every pound. My 9# ham therefore was in the oven for about 3 hours. As my mom didn't have a thermometer for me to use, I had to go by the timing on the package.

    I guess I should have bought the Nueske's more so because it's really what I wanted to try so I may be projecting a bit on the kirkland.

    -Jay
  • Post #17 - December 29th, 2009, 10:01 pm
    Post #17 - December 29th, 2009, 10:01 pm Post #17 - December 29th, 2009, 10:01 pm
    shadesofjay wrote:Cathy-

    My issues could have been overcooking, but I still wasn't wowed by the flavor. The instructions on the package were, 30 minutes @ 325 (or thereabouts) for every pound. My 9# ham therefore was in the oven for about 3 hours. As my mom didn't have a thermometer for me to use, I had to go by the timing on the package.

    I guess I should have bought the Nueske's more so because it's really what I wanted to try so I may be projecting a bit on the kirkland.

    -Jay


    Jay,

    I'm glad you wisely pulled it out of the oven at 3 hours. If you had gone for a full 4.5 hours, you'd have had a more dismal ham.

    Look forward to your report on Nueske's experience next time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - December 29th, 2009, 10:09 pm
    Post #18 - December 29th, 2009, 10:09 pm Post #18 - December 29th, 2009, 10:09 pm
    I should have done the math when posting, but 3 hours was what the instructions worked out to so it must have been 20 minutes/pound.
  • Post #19 - April 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
    Post #19 - April 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm Post #19 - April 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
    Wanted to round out this post and report that I purchased a Nueske's ham for Easter. We went with a 4-5# boneless ham.

    In short, best city ham I've ever had. The smell as it was warming in the oven was unbelievable. The smell, taste and texture of the ham was completely different from the Costco Kirkland ham bought for Christmas.

    Even though it's more expensive that any other option, even before shipping, it will now be our go-to ham.
  • Post #20 - April 11th, 2010, 9:31 pm
    Post #20 - April 11th, 2010, 9:31 pm Post #20 - April 11th, 2010, 9:31 pm
    Wanted to round out this post and report that I purchased a Nueske's ham for Easter. We went with a 4-5# boneless ham.


    Good man - we did exactly the same thing. We had Easter dinner on Saturday night (the ham, asparagus w/sauteed shrooms, scalloped potatoes, Brian Boitano's horchata rice pudding), so that we could have Eggs Benedict made with that ham for brunch. FABULOUS. I'd ordered some of the ham/bacon sausage as well as the ham, so breakfast was a real Porkfest.

    (A truly parenthetical note: those bake-'em-yourself chocolate croissants from Trader Joe's are just as good as everyone here told me that they were. Still warm from the oven. . . *shiver* Thanks, everyone!)
  • Post #21 - January 4th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    Post #21 - January 4th, 2012, 7:49 pm Post #21 - January 4th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    After reading this topic in advance of New Year's, I went with a City Ham from Gepperth's (mostly because I waited too long to order from Nueske's). We really loved it. I cannot compare it to Nueske's but the ham from Gepperth's was excellent. Plus they are very nice people who did not mind answering my many newfie questions.
  • Post #22 - April 16th, 2019, 10:17 am
    Post #22 - April 16th, 2019, 10:17 am Post #22 - April 16th, 2019, 10:17 am
    Dusting off this old thread to get city ham recommendations as we are now hosting Easter.
    -Mary
  • Post #23 - April 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm
    Post #23 - April 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm Post #23 - April 16th, 2019, 3:41 pm
    I love Nueske's; I'll drive 100 miles out of my way to swing by their retail shop and have dropped an absurd amount of money just to keep some of their bacon always in my freezer. The smell that hits you when you walk into the door of their Wittenberg store is my "happy place".

    Having said that, the best ham I've gotten from my home state of Wisconsin isn't from Nueske's but from Ray's Butcher Shoppe in Greenfield.

    http://www.raysbutchershoppe.com/home.html

    It's the best ham I've had, at a much better price than Nueske's.

    JMO,
    Dave
  • Post #24 - April 16th, 2019, 4:00 pm
    Post #24 - April 16th, 2019, 4:00 pm Post #24 - April 16th, 2019, 4:00 pm
    Being Tuesday already, it's probably too late for this option this time around but I've been loving the Colonel Bill Newsom Gourmet BBQ Smoked Preacher Hams. Made in Kentucky, and available only in-person or online, these hams strike a perfect balance -- salty, smoky, sweet and meaty. This somewhat lesser-known ham variation is every bit as great in its category as Newsom's country hams are in theirs.

    =R=

    Col. Bill Newsom's Aged Kentucky Country Ham
    208 E Main St
    Princeton, KY 42445
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #25 - April 17th, 2019, 5:11 am
    Post #25 - April 17th, 2019, 5:11 am Post #25 - April 17th, 2019, 5:11 am
    The GP wrote:Dusting off this old thread to get city ham recommendations as we are now hosting Easter.


    Nothing has changed.
    -Richard
  • Post #26 - April 17th, 2019, 7:41 am
    Post #26 - April 17th, 2019, 7:41 am Post #26 - April 17th, 2019, 7:41 am
    Nueske's is excellent. Ray's does a good job. I am with you on that Wittenberg stop for Nueske's. I load up also.
  • Post #27 - April 17th, 2019, 7:17 pm
    Post #27 - April 17th, 2019, 7:17 pm Post #27 - April 17th, 2019, 7:17 pm
    Puckjam wrote:Nueske's is excellent. Ray's does a good job. I am with you on that Wittenberg stop for Nueske's. I load up also.


    There are things they only sell at the Wittenberg store, and nowhere else -- because they want to make sure it continues to be a destination. Also, if you're there in nice weather, they are usually serving great food outside, with picnic tables nearby, so you can enjoy the view as well as the food.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #28 - April 17th, 2019, 7:25 pm
    Post #28 - April 17th, 2019, 7:25 pm Post #28 - April 17th, 2019, 7:25 pm
    Oh -- and Nueske's isn't just good because of their great family recipe and amazing smoke master -- they also have a private supplier who breeds hogs for them-- Belgian Pietrain crosses--that have a good ratio of lean to fat.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #29 - April 18th, 2019, 6:17 am
    Post #29 - April 18th, 2019, 6:17 am Post #29 - April 18th, 2019, 6:17 am
    Correct on that. Many times I come away with the ends of the smoked pork chops at a very reasonable price. Fun stop all the way around.
  • Post #30 - April 19th, 2019, 12:38 pm
    Post #30 - April 19th, 2019, 12:38 pm Post #30 - April 19th, 2019, 12:38 pm
    Cynthia wrote:There are things they only sell at the Wittenberg store, and nowhere else -- because they want to make sure it continues to be a destination.


    Trust me; try the ham salad. I'm no fan of mayo yet I can't leave the place with anything short of a pound of the stuff, often more.

    Puckjam wrote:Many times I come away with the ends of the smoked pork chops at a very reasonable price


    Many an October Wisconsin ruffed grouse hunt has been interrupted for a lunch break involving a Nueske's pork chop, some football on the radio (Badgers on Saturday, Packers on Sunday, obvs) and a quick snooze in the truck waiting for the heat of the afternoon to pass.

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