05 January, 2010

Royale Canned Ham

I've always considered canned ham to be a somewhat inferior product. Every time I've encountered one, it's been of less-than-optimal quality, and I'm not really willing to pay five dollars a pound and up for something that seemed more like unseasoned SPAM than real meat.

But I broke down recently on a trip to Ocean State Job Lot and bought a Canadian-made Royale brand canned ham, partly out of curiosity to see if these things were really as bad as I remembered them, and partly because they were only $2.50.

The picture on the front of the can - the Serving Suggestion - depicts a meaty and fairly solid ham. The photo looked a lot like slices of high-quality ham, which should have been my first clue that something was amiss. I know damn well there are no laws saying that the photographic representation on packaging must have anything to do with the actual contents of the container, and most of the time the picture provided is simply an outright visual lie. When I dumped the ham out onto the cutting board to slice it, the quivery pinkish meat inside was exactly as I suspected it would be: randomly-sized chunks of ham ranging fron marble-sized hunks to tiny flecks, compressed together with clumps and lines of fat. Fairly typical canned ham, as a matter of fact.

The resemblance to SPAM was remarkable, though the aroma was much fresher and, of course, not as spicy since this was just a ham and not dressed with Hormel's proprietary seasonings. The canned ham sliced easily and cleanly and fried up nicely in the pan, though the texture was rather strange and spongy as the fat and added water rendered out from the interior of the slices.

The final verdict: Okay-minus for a fried breakfast meat; would probably be much better and more suitably used as an omelet filling, quiche ingredient, or on a breakfast sandwich (as long as it was sliced thinly enough.)

For the most part, though, if I were tempted to buy a canned ham again for actual culinary use, I would probably just go to my local deli and buy a 1-pound chunk of Krakus deli ham (unsliced.) Krakus' deli ham is gorgeous, solid, delicious real ham, not this chopped and formed bastardization, and my local market sells it for $4.99 a pound - the same price most places charge for a 1-pound canned ham.


Michele said...

We pick up a canned Plumrose ham from time to time. The only thing we use it for is a fried breakfast meat alternative to our beloved pork roll. I agree that no canned ham can compete with Krakus deli ham. It's not America's favorite deli ham for nothing!

Andrew said...

I always wanted to try one of those things....

Unknown said...

I just opened a can of the Royale ham.

I have scarfed it down in the past and was pleased with the taste.

The constant increase in vittles prices is fearsome; thus the recent out-the-door price of $3.50 for a 1 pound can of Royale ham.

The ham is already cooked and ready to eat. Handy for folks living in their car or truck or a tent with no way to cook. Be prepared to eat the whole ham or share with others if lacking a place to refrigerate leftovers.

I give the ham a BIG thumbs up for my personal reasons that may not apply to any normal humanoid infesting the planet.

John said...

I bought my first two Royale Canadian canned hams today -- about 1 pound in the can -- (16 ounces) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was kind of nice to slice and tasted something like other canned meats but was not as salty as some I have had in the past. At $3 per can I thought it was a fairly good bargain so I immediately set about to use it:

I took two slices of a health-bread I get at the super market -- whole grain of course -- and I melted 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese on top of 4 slices of the ham -- (The portion weighed out at 3 ounces on the kitchen scale .... 120 calories .... and I added a leaf of Romaine, a slice of onion and some mayonaise and had a really great "Ham and Cheese" sandwich from it. (I toasted the bread first.)

I like these little ham things in the can because they are convenient and quickly consumed and yes, I will buy them again.

One commenter suggests they would be good as fillers for omelettes and I quite agree with that very soon I intend to try it on biscuits and as a side to two eggs and some toast for breakfast.