Friday, September 7, 2012

Ham Steak

[Full disclosure: This one is by request.  Not sure why the Pook thinks I should grade this, but here you go.]

Ham Steak: In case you aren't sure what a ham steak is, it's a giant slab of ham that typically has a small bone in the shape of an "O" just off center.  If that doesn't bring anything to mind, when you get ham with a breakfast plate, it's typically a smaller piece of the giant ham steak whole.  If that still doesn't clue you in to what we are talking about, look at the bottom of this post at the link to the Amazon page where you can buy one.[1]

Given that much of what comes from a pig is so very, very good (bacon and sausage to name the main two [2]), you would think that ham steaks would be right up there at the top with them.

You would be wrong.

I totally agree that it sounds like a winner.  Large piece of pork, typically fried up in a skillet in the same method that makes the previously mentioned bacon and sausage oh so yummy.  Only there's a disconnect somewhere along the way that leaves ham steak falling well short of the gastronomical Utopia achieved by its culinary cousins.

The taste isn't awful or anything.  It's really just kind of salty.  In fact, the number one adjective you can honestly apply to ham steaks is just that.  Salty.  A drink lots of water and still be ready to realize about an hour after you've eaten that your mouth is a desert kind of salty.

Which would again make you think that I'd really go for ham steak as I am usually all for the salty.  But it's a no-go in this case.

In truth I really think the problem is the lack of fat.  Bacon and sausage are awash in the stuff [3] and while a ham steak does have a few streaks of white goodness running through it, it just doesn't compare.

Some restaurants will attempt to bring a dish up a notch by including an enhancer of some sort.  Typically for ham steak this is 'red eye gravy'.

Red eye gravy?

What kind of name is that?

Further, why is it called that?

It is a little red, but I don't know what it has to do with eyes and the fact of the matter is that if it does actually have something to do with eyes, I don't wanna know.

Also it's the sad type of gravy.  The dark runny type that could just as easily be called au jus and have you dunking a sandwich in it.  Which is probably what you should do because it certainly isn't going to stick to a ham steak in any kind of a satisfactory fashion.

The best part of a ham steak is actually the marrow.  This is the small dollop of stuff that is sitting in the middle of the little circular bone that I mentioned earlier.  It's actually pretty tasty, but I suspect that it's probably really bad for you.  Which really brings it right up to the level of bacon and sausage.

Ham Steak: C

[1] - Or Six as it happens.
[2] - Or really the only two.
[3] - And it's good!


  1. Try another brand of ham steak. Believe it or not Aldi has a good one, it's not as salty as what they call "country ham" here in the upper South.That stuff is so salty you can't stand it. AKA Salt side depending on how far back in the holler you go. As for gravy from ham ALWAYS go with milk gravy when hog related. Creamy, biscuit covering goodness!!

  2. I'll keep that in mind, but honestly the chances of me ordering ham steak are only slightly better than ordering meatloaf. Which is to say, not good.