This past August, as you may have heard, a Kentucky State Fair ham snagged a record breaking $2 million at auction. The winning ham company, Broadbent B&B Foods, obviously has the winning touch for curing out-of-this-world ham. The auction of the state’s “grand champion” ham is a tradition, but a final multimillion dollar bid is far from tradition.
So what determines a ham is worth $2million? What is it the judges actually evaluate to determine a ham is worthy of the top fair reward. There are a lot of factors heavily weighed to determine a ham can actually win this kind of honor, but actually fetch such an immense price tag at auction as well.
For starters, ensuring the pork is adequately cured is imperative to the judging process. To determine this, judges will actually inject a probe into the ham to determine if it has fully cured. This is decided based on fragrant aroma and texture.
And these factors have as much to do with curing quality as the aesthetics of the pork cut. How the cut looks is judged on the following factors. Conformation referring to the general shape of the ham; Workmanship, the neatness and attractiveness of the trimmed surface of the face of the ham (meaning the severed edge of the hind leg); Color, once the ham is smoked with hickory wood, the hind surface is ideally black with a brown ‘fat ring’ while the rest of the skin tone is taut and pecan-colored.
Considering the ham Broadbent usually sells goes for closer to $60, rather than the multimillion dollar range, the Company was shocked and honored, considering the winning ham was cured only following normal procedures and recipe. The $2million in proceeds went entirely to charity supporting health and education nonprofit organizations.