Friday, July 22, 2011

Rufus Brown - American Ham Hero

Rufus Brown (l) learning from Christoph Wiesner how to eviscerate a Mangalitsa at Mosefund Farm. photo: Rey Knight.

The Mangalitsa hams from Johnston County Hams recently beat out Italian proscutti and Iberico and Mangalica hams from Spain in head-to-head competition. If you live in the USA and want to eat the best-tasting hams, the choice is clear.

I found this out yesterday from Rufus Brown, curemaster at Johnston County Hams.

I had heard (and remarked on) Rufus winning a Sofi award for his hams. I had assumed this was a domestic-only competition. I figured Rufus's only competition would be American. Because he's the only one with Mangalitsa hams, and given how much better Mangalitsa is than other pork, I figured he'd win, in a Bambi Meets Godzilla sort of way.*

It turns out that the Sofi awards includes foreign producers. E.g. Italian prosciutti and Spanish products, including Iberico and Mangalica hams.

Rufus's Mangalitsa hams beat all the Italian prosciutti, the Iberico and Mangalica hams. His hams are the ones that won the award. Theirs didn't win.

Additionally, various guests informed Rufus that they'd tried all the hams in the place and that Rufus's was the best.

More telling: some Spanish guys said they were happy he wouldn't be selling those hams in Spain.

If you are an American who has, in the past, been embarrassed at how American food stacks up relative to the competition, you can feel a little more proud now, thanks to Rufus's efforts.

Rufus is America's ham hero.

* this explains why we were confident about taking more than 3rd place at the world championship of barbecue at Memphis in May.

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