The holiday season isn’t just about the turkey but the ham, too. As a huge fan of Thanksgiving and Christmas and the whole winter holiday euphoria, I always seek new ways to improve my holiday table. It is a tasty job with even tastier results.
After making the delicious “sacrifice” of trying out different types of ham, I am here to tell you all about Honey Baked ham and Fresh Market ham. If you are wondering what to buy, this article will help you resolve your dilemma.
Differences Between Honey Baked Ham and Fresh Market Ham
Before I get into detail about these two hams, first let me say that I love and enjoy them both. Still, I understand how some would prefer one over the other since there are some substantial differences between them.
So, take a look at the key differences listed below to find out more, but in short, the differences lie in their appearance, taste, varieties, prices, and availability.
Appearance And Sizes
Honey Baked Ham is known for its very appealing glossy glaze, which gives it a very rich and caramelized appearance that is impossible to resist. It also gives it a crispy effect, making it even more inviting. This glossy appearance is what makes Honey Bake Ham uniquely appetizing and definitely sets it apart from traditional hams.
I could go for hours describing this ham!
Another excellent feature of Honey Baked Ham is the variety. You can find it in smaller and larger sizes suitable for every occasion. I’ve tasted them, and I can tell you that the size doesn’t impact the quality; they are all equally delicious!
Fresh Market Ham features a more traditional appearance, less glossy than Honey Baked Ham, but equally delicious. What I like about this ham is that it has a more homemade look, making it perfect for traditional family gatherings such as holiday feasts or wholesome family celebrations.
They also offer different sizes that are ideal for different occasions.
And now, the fun part- the taste! I could write volumes on the taste of these two hams, but I will keep it short and neat for your benefit!
The shortest and neatest would be one word, “exquisite,” but I know you would like to read a bit more, so I’ll get a bit technical.
Honey Baked Ham’s signature glaze isn’t only a visual thing since it profoundly impacts the flavor. It gives the ham a caramelized appearance and a caramel flavor, which, paired with the meat’s richness, creates a story you must experience.
I would say that the flavor of this ham is a blend of sweet and savory notes entangled in hints of spices like cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I often call this ham the “whiskey” among hams because it features notes found in the spirit.
The texture is notably smooth and moist, soft, and highly palatable.
On the other hand, Fresh Market Ham typically features the natural flavors of the pork. Since it doesn’t have any glaze to blend in with the flavor, it is less sweet and more focused on the savory and meaty aspects of the ham.
This ham is ultra-succulent and rich, with meatiness as its most pronounced feature. It is also very tender, just like Honey Baked Ham, easy to chew, and highly versatile to pair.
Honey Baked Ham doesn’t focus much on variety as it focuses on perfecting what is already there. So, their priority is to keep making that magical glaze and producing the ham that is like no other on the market.
Their variety revolves around the smoking time, shape, and size of the ham since they don’t tamper much with the flavor.
Therefore, they offer bone-in-half smoked for up to 24 hours, whole boneless ham- smoked for up to 12 hours, bone-in-quarter- smoked for up to 24 hours, boneless ham- smoked for up to 12 hours, and a pack of bone-in-whole two halves.
Their variety mainly revolves around this style, with the glaze being a distinctive feature. They concentrate on mastering this particular type, with variations mostly in size and sometimes in slight flavor tweaks.
Fresh Market offers spiral sliced ham and boneless sliced ham. They also offer holiday meal deals, which include side dishes like potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. You can also find Fresh Market smoked black forest ham and smoked honey-flavored ham, which are my favorites.
The reason why Honey Baked Ham and Fresh Market Ham are so popular, in addition to being delicious, is that they are very easy to prepare.
Whether you get a meal deal or just the ham, all you need to do is reheat, if you want, and you have your holiday feast ready.
If you decide to reheat Fresh Market Ham, do so at 325°F and bake for 10-12 minutes per pound. Of course, using an oven tray. If you are working with an entire meal, from their meal deals, follow the instructions about reheating the sides.
Honey Baked Ham doesn’t need to be reheated but only removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.
Both Fresh Market Ham and Honey Baked Ham are generally affordable, but they do differ in price.
Honey Baked Ham is generally placed as a premium product and is a bit more pricey than your average ham because of the glaze and the brand reputation, which doesn’t negate that they are impeccable.
Still, the prices vary from store to store, season to season, and variety to variety; as a reference, on their website, a 6-pound ham is priced at $94.
Fresh Market Hams are more moderately priced and generally more affordable, which isn’t to say that the lower prices mean lower quality. A pack of 175 gr. was priced at $3.47 at Walmart yesterday.
Now, if you do the math and convert the weight, you will see that the prices would be close to the same amount.
Honey Baked Hams are widely available, especially during the holiday season, since their demand rapidly grows around Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can find them at retail locations as well as order them online.
Fresh Market is a little harder to order online than it is Honey Baked Hams since The Fresh Market don’t deliver everywhere. However, they have many retail locations where you can buy them year-round or for the holiday season.
Final Verdict: Which Is Better?
I genuinely can’t say that one ham is superior to the other since they both offer a unique experience and original flavors. If you want a more traditional taste, then you should choose Fresh Market Ham.
But, if you are more inclined toward the richer and deeper flavors, Honey Baked Ham is for you.