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Sep '08

Southern Comfort Foods: Sweet Potato and Country Ham BBQ Hash

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The confusion begins with the name… so let’s start with what barbecue hash isn’t:

1. Barbeque hash isn’t “barbequed” i.e., it’s not cooked on a barbeque grill. It’s served with barbeque, which, in South Carolina at least, is a noun that refers to the meat itself (which is always pork, by the way) not the method of cooking.

2. Barbeque hash isn’t even a distant cousin to the greasy, canned corned-beef-and-potato stuff served at roadside diners everywhere

Barbeque hash is a side-dish staple at any self-respecting South Carolina barbecue shack or buffet. Beyond defining it as a thick savory liquid often ladled over rice (especially here in the Lowcountry,) it really is open to broad - often very broad - interpretation. Consider the three recipe links below, all from the same site, and all calling themselves South Carolina-style hash:

BBQ hash can range in color from orange-red to gray-brown and can contain a wide variety of vegetables (or no vegetables at all) and just about any meat (and meat “parts”) you can imagine. Spices, sauces, and other condiments often find their way in, and their identities are often jealously guarded. The texture ranges from applesauce smooth to sausage gravy chunky. It can be peppery, hot, tangy, sweet - or any combination thereof.

Barbeque hash, in short, has a broad mandate and is limited by few requirements except that it be flavorful, tasty, and addictive. This recipe was inspired by the hash at Duke’s in North Charleston, where they keep it simple with just four main ingredients: pork barbeque, potatoes, onions, and ketchup. Here, I use both white and sweet potatoes, and use finely minced country ham (the real stuff!) for its inimitable flavor.

Horseradish and a good dose of pepper “bring the zing” and balance the sweetness very nicely.

Here’s a photo of the Sweet Potato and Country Ham BBQ Hash below.

Doug DuCap's Sweet Potato and Country Ham BBQ Hash


2 lb lean country ham, cut into small chunks
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled
2 lbs yellow onions, peeled
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp Kitchen Bouquet or equivalent
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp celery salt
1 Tbsp black pepper


Fry the country ham chunks in a heavy skillet over medium heat until lightly colored, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, grate or mince the russets, sweet potatoes, and onions and place in a large pot. Add about 3 cups of water and the cider vinegar and bring just to a boil. In the meantime, finely mince the country ham in the food processor and add to the potatoes and onions. Stir in the horseradish, ketchup, Kitchen Bouquet, Worcestershire, and celery salt, and cook over very low heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed (you want a ‘thick soup’ consistency.)

Add the black pepper, taste for salt (add a bit of plain salt, if necessary) and cook 15 minutes more. Serve over Carolina rice.


Hugging the Coast Blog Fast ForwardPlease join us tomorrow to enjoy our new daily food and cooking article.

Hugging the Coast Blog Flash BackIf you enjoyed today’s recipe, you might also enjoy these other interesting posts that feature pomegranates:

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