Friday, September 10, 2010

Recession Cold Cuts or "Poor Girl's Hot Butt" by Cleo Coyle

Has anyone else noticed that the cost of deli cold cuts has risen to a fairly ridiculous level? Where I live in Queens, the ham, roast beef, and turkey at my grocery's deli are close to $10.00 a pound. Sure I'd prefer to make sandwiches out of Prosciutto di Parma but $50.00 a pound is also just a tad beyond our household's weekly budget.

Cold cuts really are the best way to create a quick sandwich for take-away school (or office) lunches, but you don't have to pay those outrageous deli prices. And, honey, if your answer is to buy those packages of pre-sliced, vacuum packed meats, then give me one minute of your time today because my Poor Girl's Hot Butt is a great solution for your budget and your taste buds.

Mini hams like these are a major plus
for taste buds and budgets.

The per-pound price is less than half
of most deli cold cuts.

These adorable little hams are actually smoked pork shoulder butts of about 2 to 3 pounds in size. They are sold as "Porkettes" by the Freirich company. Look for them where your grocer sells hams and pork products.

Note: This brand is sold at major retailers in 25 states. To find out which grocery store chain carries them in your area, click here.

If you live in a state where Freirich is not sold, look for Daisy Rose brand smoked boneless pork shoulder
Click here to learn more about this Rose Packing Company brand.
These mini hams are extremely easy to make, quick to cook, inexpensive, and delicious. They are also very versatile. How? Well...

We eat them for breakfast, warmed in a skillet,
just like Canadian bacon. They're also delicious in
an English muffin sandwich with a poached egg
and melted cheese.

We eat them for dinner, sautéed in a pan,
as you would slices of smoked ham.

We eat them for lunch with Swiss cheese
on whole wheat, a bit of lettuce and mustard,
as you would deli cold cuts. They're also an amazing
complement to grilled cheese.

So how do you prepare these cute mini hams?
Very easy...

"Poor Girl's Hot Butt"
by Cleo Coyle

To download this recipe in PDF format
to print, save, or share, click here.

Step 1 - Remove Netting:

Some boneless pork shoulder butts are held together by a fine cloth net. To remove the netting, simply soak the meat in warm (not hot) water for 5 to 10 minutes. This will dissolve the fats holding the cloth to the meat.

Begin to work at the edge of the net with your fingers. It should come loose immediately. If not, soak a bit longer. Remove all of the netting before cooking. (If you have a butt without netting, skip this step.)

Step 2 - Prep for Oven:

Preheat oven to 325° F. Place your butt in the middle of a shallow roasting pan (no, not your butt, the pork shoulder butt). Pour liquid into the bottom of the pan. The liquid should cover the pan bottom and rise about 1 inch. I recommend using half milk and half water. The milk adds a lovely sweetness to the salty, smoky flavor of the ham.

Step 3 - Roast:

Place pan in center of preheated oven for about 35 minutes per pound. 

(If roasting more than one mini ham at the same time, add an additional 15 to 20 minutes to the total cooking time.)

When is it done? You're looking for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 160° F., but try to avoid sticking the meat too many times with the thermometer. You don’t want to lose the meat’s juices. If you're using my idea of water and milk as the liquid, there’s a handy visual clue that lets you know the meat is done. Near the end of the cooking process, most of the liquid will be dried up and the milk will have formed a thick film at the bottom of the pan (like the skin that forms on a pudding). The appearance of this salty skin tells you the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Step 4 - Rest, Baby, Rest:

After the pork is done, remove it from the oven and let it stand under a loose tent of aluminum foil for 30 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to recollect and ensure the meat will be moist and not dry.

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

Roast Mortem: 
A Coffeehouse Mystery
Now a National Hardcover
Mystery Bestseller from...
Penguin's Berkley Prime Crime

To learn more about me and
my Coffeehouse Mysteries or to see more of my recipes,
visit me at


  1. This sounds pretty good, but I really like the plates you're serving it on. Festive!

  2. this post made me laugh..especially step 2 :) hmm..never really noticed these little hams before...I will definitely snoop around the supermarkets to see if we have em here... Thanks for the recipes~

  3. Thank you Cleo for post I will have to look for those little guys.

  4. I saw those when I lived in PA but I didn't know what they were. I'll have to look for them here in NC!! Two of the four of us love ham so these would be the right size for us!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I loved the new book--couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting! Can't wait for the next one.
    I have read all the books and enjoy the development of the characters. At the beginning, not much was said about Joy and in more recent books she has become a more developed character. Like the unfolding story of Mike's life as well. Definitely have an appreciation for how hard a barista works!
    Thanks for the great books.

  6. The price of deli meat *has* gotten really high! This is a great tip for getting a tasty ham for a good price. I do get some of the mini hams from time to time and find that the meat freezes well, too, if we don't eat it all up fast enough. :)

  7. Yesterday the mail carrier delivered a package! I'm sitting here reading, writing, and enjoying a cup of Mackinac Island Fudge from Paramount Coffee. Yummy! Hits the spot on this gloomy day.

    Thanks for the great giveaways and for the great books.

  8. Cleo, i am so in love with your photos!

    First, I received my copy of your latest and I am devouring it. Will be done today, but i made the bro