Last year, Charlottesville’s own JM Stock Provisions earned an unexpected win for Best Charcuterie from the Good Food Awards, which annually recognizes the nation’s best food and drink. Today, they did it again.
For those unfamiliar with the awards, it is serious competition. The list of finalists (let alone winners) reads like a who’s who of the nation’s best food artisans. Even to be considered for an award, in categories like Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Oils, Spirits, an entrant must meet “industry-specific environmental and social criteria.” Among those who survive the vetting process, a blind tasting determines the winners. Top scores in the tasting win.
In 2015, JM Stock’s pate de campagne took home the prize. This year, it was their tasso ham. JM Stock is one of just four producers in the country to win Best Charcuterie each of the last two years, joining Avalanche Cheese Company, Island Trollers, and Olympia Provisions. “It’s a great honor to be in such great company two years in a row,” said JM Stock co-owner Matt Greene. “I really appreciate how the Good Food Awards gives credit to the small producers. That’s rare these days.”
Making the tasso ham is a laborious, exact process. First, they separate Autumn Olive Farms pork legs into three muscle groups, and brine each for 7-10 days in a mixture of salt, sugar, chili, garlic, bay leaf, and “other odds and ends,” said Greene. Next comes a coating in a proprietary blend of spices, including several types of paprika, chili, and “other things.” The meat rests for several days for the coating to sink in before being smoked for the better part of a day. The result? Award-winning ham.