October is National Country Ham Month, which inspired us to contemplate a good ham sandwich—the kind you only get by baking a ham and slicing it yourself.
Country ham is one made by rubbing the raw meat with salt and hang-drying it in a controlled environment of 75°-80°F or higher.
The results are a firm and very flavor-concentrated meat with a dark burgundy color. Customarily, country ham is smoked and tends to be saltier than most hams; it is enjoyed in paper-thin slices.
Here are the different types of ham. But on to the sandwiches!
Today’s tip is inspiration for a more creative, yummier, ham sandwich.
Check out the different types of ham in our Ham Glossary.
It’s easy to throw slices of ham and cheese on sliced bread or a roll, at mustard or mayo and dig in.
But there are numerous superior ways to enjoy a ham sandwich, as you’ll see below. If you don’t want cheese on your ham sandwich, just check out all of the different substitutes below.
Every country that raises pigs has a version of a ham sandwich. Here are a few we’ve selected—some we’ve made up—for you.
Apple or Pear: Add sliced apples to the sandwich, with arugula or watercress.
Banh-Mi: A Vietnamese sandwich on a baguette. Here’s the recipe.
Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicken cordon bleu is ham and cheese stuffed into a chicken breast. Here, add sliced chicken to the ham and cheese sandwich and place it in the broiler/microwave to melt the cheese.
Croque Monsieur: A fried or grilled sandwich of ham and gruyère topped with Mornay sauce (photo #2).
Cubano: From Cuba, a grilled ham and cheese with pork, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread (a baguette shape with a “white bread” interior (photo #5).
Dagwood: On thick, crusty bread, pile “the kitchen sink” atop the ham: lettuce, arugula, tomato, one or more types of cheese, pickles, other pickled vegetables (including jalapeño), few dill pickle slices, fresh cucumber slices, pimento or peppadews, pitted olives. Spread mustard on one side, mayo (especially spicy mayo) on the other.
Fondue: Deconstruct the sandwich. Cube the ham, cube the bread, and dip it on skewers into cheese fondue.
French: Jambon du Bayonne (substitute prosciutto), brie, honey mustard on a baguette.
German: Black forest ham, drained sauerkraut, grainy mustard and spinach leaves, grilled.
Grilled Cheese/Panini: Choose your cheese, choose your bread, and grill away.
Hawaiian: ham and soft cheese with sliced pineapple on Hawaiian bread (like King’s Hawaiian).
Hoagie/Submarine: Use three different types of ham, e.g., Black Forest, boiled, deviled/ or ham salad, hickory-smoked, honey cured, prosciutto/serrano. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables of choice, plus condiments.
Mexican: Ham and Mexican cheese quesadillas with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
Monte Cristo: A variation of Croque Monsieur, this uses pan-toasted French toast as the base for a ham and cheese sandwich.
Roll-Ups: Grab a tortilla or a lettuce leaf and roll your ingredients.
Southern: Ham and pimiento cheese on cornbread, with sweet pickles and marmalade.
Spanish: Belota or other Iberian ham, manchego cheese and chopped pimento or peppadew. Add arugula or other green (photo #3).
Stromboli: Ham and other Italian cold cuts and cheeses and vegetables wrapped in Italian bread dough or pizza dough.