The trick with the country ham is to use a bacon press or a cast-iron skillet to weigh (or press) the meat down while it grills so as much of the ham as possible is crisped up before being slipped between the hot biscuits. If you can find Stadler brand country ham in your area, buy it, it is one of our favorites!
1 package, 4 pieces of center-cut cured country ham or 12 biscuit slices
1 recipe Karmel Family Biscuits
Recipe for Karmel Family Biscuits
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons Crisco shortening (or butter or lard)
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons milk
½ stick butter (1/4 cup) melted
Grilling Method: Direct/Medium Heat
Special Equipment: Grill Press, cast-iron skillet or bricks wrapped in aluminum foil
Remove ham from package. Trim away excess fat. Brush lightly with peanut oil, removing excess with paper towels. (Do not salt or pepper – the ham is already highly seasoned.)
Meanwhile, make biscuits using recipe below or your favorite biscuit recipe. While they are in the oven, grill ham. Place ham directly on the cooking grate and place something heavy like a grill press, cast-iron skillet or bricks wrapped in foil directly on the ham—this will keep it flat. Grill for 3-4 minutes and turn ham over, using heat resistant mitts to remove weight from ham. Replace weight and grill for another 3-4 minutes or until second side is well marked. You may have to do this in batches if you do not have enough weights for all four pieces. Remove from grill and cut each piece into three equal pieces and set aside.
Remove biscuits from oven, gently break them in half. Slip ham between the halves of the biscuits. Serve immediately with strong coffee and blackstrap molasses if desired. (Drizzle the molasses over the ham, replace biscuit top and eat like a sandwich.)
Biscuits are as dear to Elizabeth as barbecue. Her grandmother made biscuits, her mother makes biscuits and in the current family hierarchy, her sister Mary Pat is the new generation biscuit maker. [Note: In the South, biscuits have been traditionally made with either lard or Crisco. These days, Crisco has fallen out of favor because of the recent trans-fat research. If you aren’t concerned about eating the occasional biscuit, keep it Crisco, otherwise substitute lard or butter for the shortening in this recipe. They are all good!]
Preheat oven to 450ºF
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, salt and baking powder. Using a blending fork, pastry blender or two knives, cut the Crisco shortening into the flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and using a fork, stir until moistened and the dough comes together in a bowl.
Turn dough out on a floured surface. Knead dough together until it is smooth (about 6 strokes). Roll dough in a circle until it is a little less than ½ - inch thick. Brush liberally with the melted butter and fold over to cover butter. Pinch the edges to seal and roll out to make even. (Biscuits will open into two halves where butter was brushed and dough folded.)
Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter (2 ½ -3 inches in diameter) as close together as possible to avoid wasting the dough. The scraps can be treats for the cook or yummy dog biscuits for your pet.
Place biscuits on an un-greased cookie sheet, 1-inch apart. Brush tops with melted butter and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, slip ham between the halves of the biscuits and serve immediately.
Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer From Taming the Flame, Wiley Publication