Carmeta’s Beef and Pork Hams. Try or Pass

Carmeta’s, one of our favourite 100% Bajan food brands has two new meat products for you to add to your Christmas tablescape – Beef and Pork Hams! 

Beef ham? That was our exact reaction. And even if you are a meat lover, expert, or aficionado you are probably wondering the same thing. Right? 

     We stopped by the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) for a chat with Carlton Batson, Food Production Manager, and greeted him with the question that is on all of our minds (the “non-aficionados and experts, of course). First of all (pause here for dramatic effect)…can ham really come from a cow? 

Well Mr. Batson assured us that ham can come from a cow. He even jokes that the pig and the cow are cousins. He says, “It is all in the processing.” But before Carmeta’s meat specialists go about the ham making process, they first have to source the cows. So let us start there.

     Mr. Batson says, “The beef is only sourced from local farmers and only the most robust of cows are selected for the Carmeta’s meat line.” These are the cows, he says,  “that have a more convex shape”. As Mr. Batson explains, they don’t choose “a bony or scrawny cow, nor one that has a drop in the rear end.” Only the best cows are selected. The cows are then taken to the abattoir where the best cuts are selected. The ideal cuts are the ones that he describes are “not too lean nor have too much muscle”.

     To produce the pork and beef hams, a similar process is followed for both meats. The cuts are injected with a pickle to marinate the meat. Mr. Batson points out, “The injection method helps to tenderize the meat.” He adds that the meat is then tumbled to ensure the pickle is evenly distributed, and as you know, ham is not ham unless it is smoked. After being smoked, the ham is then chilled and packaged.

Now, when it comes to salt content, Mr. Batson explains that Carmeta’s ham is not over-salted. That is because the salt content has been carefully monitored to ensure there is no over-salting in the curing process. He said that the health of Barbadians was at the heart of this decision. And while the intention is to produce a healthy product, it is just as important that Carmeta’s hams are tasty to the customer.

Mr. Batson guarantees Carmeta’s Beef and Pork Hams are palatable mouthwatering products that are juicy and succulent. Additionally, the beef ham is all meat, no bone. So, you will be getting all the meat you pay for. And, it is also affordable! 

Points for Carmeta’s, those persons who do not eat pork and therefore ham, can now partake in enjoying the “ham” cutters and slices topped with delicious jellies and the Bajan classic – pepper sauce! Just that it is beef ham.

  So what’s the best way to prepare these hams? According to Carlton, ‘‘De gustibus non est disputandum”, or “De gustibus non disputandum est”,  which means, “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”. He explains, “What I like is not what you might like, it is all about what tastes good to you”. Since flavouring to taste is very personal, he modestly suggests that you try Lionel’s Golden Apple Sauce for the Carmeta’s Pork Ham and Lionel’s Spicy Barbeque Sauce for the Carmeta’s Beef Ham. 

He also encourages experimenting with local fruits and seasonings. We like that idea. Who knows, you could come up with some fresh and exciting flavour pairings for new recipes! 

How to prepare Carmeta’s smoked Beef & Pork Hams

(Note: Carmeta’s hams are fully cooked and ready to eat)

  1. Heat the oven to 275°F and line the roasting rack with several pieces of foil, large enough to wrap up and around the ham. 
  2. Take the ham out of its wrappings and place in the pan. 
  3. Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the ham. Slice long lines into the skin (not into the meat itself) then slice back the other way to form a crosshatch pattern. This adds to the presentation and also helps the glaze or other toppings that you add later to penetrate the skin. 
  4. Fold the foil up around the meat and seal well. This foil pouch is meant to keep the ham from drying out in the oven. 

Put in the oven to bake, well-wrapped in foil, and bake for 2 ½ hours. 

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