Is Deviled Ham Potted Meat? The Complete Guide

Are you a fan of deviled ham? Have you ever wondered what exactly is in that little round tin can with the red devil on it? Is it just plain old ground up ham or is it something more?

In this article, we’ll explore the history and ingredients of deviled ham and answer the question on everyone’s mind: is deviled ham potted meat?

From its humble beginnings as a Civil War staple to its current status as a pantry mainstay, we’ll delve into the world of this creamy, pink spread and discover why it has been a standard fare in Southern kitchens for nearly 148 years.

So, grab a cracker and let’s dive in!

Is Deviled Ham Potted Meat?

Deviled ham is a type of potted meat, but not all potted meats are deviled ham. Potted meat is a food product that is preserved by canning and consists of various seasoned cooked meats, often puréed, minced, or ground, which is heat-processed and sealed into small cans. Deviled ham is a specific type of potted meat that contains ground up ham blended with spices such as hot sauce, peppers, turmeric, mustard, or cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

The act of “deviling” was done to a variety of foods in the early 19th century, and we still do it today when preparing stuffed eggs with cayenne pepper or paprika sprinkled on top. The William Underwood Company was the first to embrace the deviling food trend, producing cans of meat with spicy seasoning in 1868. The red devil we’ve come to associate with Underwood’s label on its canned goods was trademarked a couple of years later in 1870.

Deviled ham has a spreadable texture, similar to pâté, and is usually eaten in sandwiches or spread on crackers. It is produced primarily as a source of affordable meat and has a long shelf life, making it suitable for emergency food supplies, camping, and military uses. However, it contains high amounts of fat, salt, and preservatives which may make it unhealthy for regular consumption.

The History Of Deviled Ham

Deviled ham has been a staple pantry item in many Southern homes for nearly 148 years. The William Underwood Company, which was founded in Boston in 1822, originally manufactured packaged condiments and pickled vegetables. However, in 1868, they began offering deviled ham as a canned meat spread. The devil logo, a nod to the “deviled” product inside and thought to be the oldest food trademark still in use for a prepackaged food product in the country, came along in 1870.

During the Civil War, Underwood’s canned goods were supplied to both Union soldiers and Confederate troops because the salted meat could be easily preserved and transported from camp to camp. Food reached staggering prices during the war, and families affected by it had to adjust to inflation and food shortage, thus relying on more convenient and affordable ingredients. The men out in the field ate canned food, and their families left back home were forced to do the same. Farmers couldn’t bring food to Southern cities due to Union blockades, and those in the rural South found it increasingly difficult to grow their own food. But, the Southerners of that time found a way to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” living off foraged land and canned meat such as deviled ham.

After the war, deviled ham continued to be a popular pantry item due to its long shelf life, portability, and versatility. No longer eaten for survival, we can now enjoy deviled ham as a dip, spread on crackers, or puréed into soup. The longstanding brand has since transitioned to an all-American mainstay that is still a quick-food favorite 150 years later. Today, Underwood Deviled Ham is not just an everyday pantry staple but has traveled the world in caravans, camping gear, lunchboxes, picnic baskets, tailgate totes, and just about everything that transports food.

What’s In The Can?

The ingredients in a can of Underwood Deviled Ham include ham (cured with water, salt, brown sugar, Sodium Nitrite) and seasoning (mustard flour, spices, turmeric). Contrary to its name, deviled ham doesn’t denote anything naughty or sinful. The word “deviled” is actually a culinary term that means “adding spices” to foods like ham, eggs, turkey, or even lobster. Underwood’s unique packaging allowed food to stay fresher longer, which led to the company becoming the top food manufacturer during the Civil War and a staple pantry item in many Southern homes. Underwood’s canned goods were supplied to both Union soldiers and Confederate troops because the salted meat could be easily preserved and transported from camp to camp. Today, Underwood Deviled Ham is still a popular pantry staple due to its versatility and long shelf life.

The Making Of Deviled Ham

Making deviled ham is a relatively simple process that can be done at home with a blender. To start, the ham should be cooked and diced into small pieces. The diced ham is then blended with spices such as hot sauce, peppers, turmeric, mustard, or cayenne pepper to give it that extra kick. The amount of spice used can vary depending on personal preference.

The blended mixture is then packed into small jars or cans and heat-processed to ensure that it is safe to eat. This process involves sealing the jars or cans and heating them to a high temperature for a specific amount of time to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that may be present.

Once the deviled ham has been heat-processed, it can be stored in a cool, dry place for an extended period of time. It can be eaten as a spread on crackers or used as a filling for sandwiches.

While making deviled ham at home may seem like a cost-effective alternative to buying canned versions, it is important to note that homemade deviled ham may not have the same shelf life as commercially produced versions. Additionally, it is important to follow proper food safety guidelines when preparing and storing homemade deviled ham to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.

Deviled Ham In Southern Cuisine

Deviled ham has been a staple in Southern cuisine for nearly 148 years. It was a popular pantry item during the Civil War, as it was easily preserved and transported from camp to camp. The salted meat was supplied to both Union soldiers and Confederate troops, and families affected by the war relied on more convenient and affordable ingredients.

Today, deviled ham is no longer eaten for survival but is enjoyed as a dip, spread on crackers, or puréed into soup. It is also used in a variety of Southern dishes, such as deviled ham salad sandwiches, deviled ham and cheese biscuits, and deviled ham and egg breakfast burritos.

With Easter quickly approaching, deviled ham is an excellent way to put leftover holiday ham to good use. Many cookbooks and restaurants are featuring the creamy, pink potted meat in everything from bite-sized starters to delicious entrées.

Deviled ham has become a pantry mainstay in many Southern homes because of its long shelf life, portability, and versatility. It is a quick and easy way to add flavor to any dish and is perfect for those who are short on time but still want to enjoy a delicious meal.

Alternative Uses For Deviled Ham

While deviled ham is traditionally eaten as a spread or dip, there are many alternative uses for this versatile potted meat. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Deviled Ham Salad: Mix deviled ham with mayonnaise, diced pickles, and chopped celery for a quick and easy salad that can be eaten on its own or used as a sandwich filling.

2. Deviled Ham Crostini: Toast slices of baguette and top with deviled ham, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs for an elegant appetizer.

3. Deviled Ham and Egg Breakfast Sandwich: Spread deviled ham on a toasted English muffin and top with a fried egg and a slice of cheese for a hearty breakfast sandwich.

4. Deviled Ham Mac and Cheese: Add deviled ham to your favorite mac and cheese recipe for a protein-packed twist on this classic comfort food.

5. Deviled Ham Quesadillas: Layer deviled ham, shredded cheese, and chopped jalapeños between two tortillas and cook in a skillet until crispy and melted.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are endless. Get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to find your new favorite way to enjoy deviled ham.