KANSAS CITY, Mo – They call him the “Ham Evangelist.” As the national wholesale sales manager for S. Wallace Edwards & Sons, a third-generation, family-owned, salt-cured and smoked meats processor based in Surry, Va., Keith Roberts takes the title seriously. Roberts’ mission is to spread the good news about the pork leg, which is as relevant now as it was ages ago.
Lawrence Aylward, editor of MEAT+POULTRY, caught up with Roberts recently to discuss ham trends. In his podcast, Roberts reflects on ham’s heritage and how it fits in the 21st century, including its role in the popular artisan meat movement. Roberts also discusses the legacy of the ham sandwich, which is still No. 1 among Americans, and, with grilling season upon us, why some consumers are taking to grilling whole hams instead of hamburgers and hot dogs to go with their potato salad and baked beans.