The Hermit Gourmet

Regular readers know that Uncle Joel is an inveterate food hoarder. Canned meat in particular, with the exception of Spam which is a weekly staple, tends to get hoarded. Know what bad times feel like and you’ll likely hoard against bad times.

But I got an email from Big Brother saying he was rotating some older canned meat my way. Yesterday I decided to celebrate that news with a rare treat…

Now, I have to tell you that right out of the can this stuff isn’t a gourmet delight. It’s not Banner Canned Sausage by any means, but you can’t just slice and fry it like Spam. For one thing it’s not as sliceable as Spam; it’s basically pressed ham bits. And it’s salty as hell. But it’s also not ‘pork products’ – in fact the ingredients basically list ham and lots of salt. And I like ham a lot. Still my first experiment with opening one of these cans was disappointing. Uncle Joel is not a great chef.

But two things go well with canned ham bits: Brown sugar and – yes – pineapple.

Cover it with brown sugar and give it fifteen minutes at 350o, and the gag-inducing saltiness is tempered with the gag-inducing sweetness to make a lovely lunch along with fried potatoes. And there’s a whole pound of it so it’ll last for a couple of days’ snacking.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to The Hermit Gourmet

  1. Judy says:

    Beans, eggs, potato soup, green beans, hash…anything else your mama put ham in? Do you have a piece of cheesecloth or flour sack toweling? I wonder if you tied your ham lump in cheesecloth and boiled it if you could cut some of the salt while retaining your ham in a usable piece? Well, maybe not, as it probably would melt away the gelatinous stuff that’s holding it altogether.

    Surely some of your readers have experience with cooking with it. My mom only bought it for Dad to take deer hunting in Colorado when I was a kid.

  2. Ben says:

    I’ve only used that stuff sliced up for sandwiches. But then I can say the same for Spam.

  3. Tahn says:

    I first fry up some onions and then chop up the ham and add it to the skillet w/ garlic powder. Best, as you said with fried taters and eggs.

    The BEST canned meat I have found is “Keystone” all natural beef. Too expensive except as a monthly treat. Have not tried their other products, yet.

  4. Mark Matis says:

    Or add it to mac and cheese…

  5. free.and.true says:

    Given your hens’ recent production, you could soon throw a Green Eggs ‘n’ Ham party…

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a big fan of canned ham, but I have eaten it on occasion. You need to take it out of the can and rinse it under cold water before using it and then pat dry. That will get rid of a surprising amount of saltiness……

  7. bill says:

    I knew this woman back in the 80’s and she would take a canned ham, rinse it off, poke cloves all over it , and bake at a low temp. It would come out with a consistency of almost real ham (as opposed to Spam) and have a really good taste. I still think of that red-headed gal from Cheyenne. Oh well, my wife (the vegetarian) tells me to put it in the oven and occasionally spoon coke or pepsi over it for a good taste.

  8. Michael Gilson says:

    I recognize that brand, it’s the Aldi store brand equivalent of DAK. I’ve eaten a fair amount, but come to think of it I mostly made soups with it, or added it to spaghetti sauce, or things like that. I guess that’s why I didn’t notice the saltiness.

  9. Zelda says:

    I’ve eaten DAK on many hiking trips. All good ideas above. To the boiling idea, add just simmering for a while (not boiling) before discarding the water to get rid of some salt. Also soaking and dumping the water. Distilled water would work best. And it will be a more satisfactory meal if there are no bear around.

  10. bill says:

    Zelda says: And it will be a more satisfactory meal if there are no bear around.

    May I add that one’s digestion of the meal will be more satisfying as well.

  11. Robert says:

    Never head of DAK. Then again, I don’t get out much. How does it compare to TREET?

    Slightly OT: “Hormel” is pronounced like “normal”. A local Hormel plant has a large cylindrical structure painted to look like a gigantic can of their chili. It’s a cute idea but the Chili. Is. Gawdawful. A restaurant manager friend even told me to not order their chili ‘cuz it was Hormel outta the can. I should’ve listened.

To the stake with the heretic!