Appalachian Food

Deviled Ham

Deviled Ham

Do you like Deviled Ham? I do. I don’t eat Deviled Ham often, but every once in a while I want a Deviled Ham sandwich with fresh soft light bread and mayo all washed down with a glass of sweet tea.

Deviled Ham Sandwich tastes like home

While there are other brands of deviled ham, the Underwood Brand is the most popular.

William Underwood’s food business started in 1822 in Boston. In the beginning, Underwood used glass jars for his food stuffs, but once business picked up he was forced to start using cans because the local glass makers couldn’t keep up with his glass jar demands.

Much of Underwood’s success was due to the migration of people heading west. His canned goods were the perfect staple for them to pack along with them. And once the Civil War started the government began to purchase Underwood products for soldiers in the field.

In 1868 Underwood’s sons begin experimenting with ground ham. They added spices and once they achieved the taste they were after deviled ham was created.

Shortly afterwards the famous pitchfork toting devil trademark was created and the Underwood Company began using it on it’s cans of deviled ham. Interesting tidbit about the trademark, it is said to be the oldest trademark still in use in the US.

Deviled Ham and Mayo

There’s something about Deviled Ham that reminds me of childhood. Once I discovered the product dated to the late 1800s I asked Pap if he ever ate it as a child. He said he didn’t remember eating deviled ham until he was an adult in the early 50s.

I think us kids used to look at that red dancing devil on the wrapper and pretend we were really eating devil meat. But then again maybe that was just me pretending.



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  • Reply
    October 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Big thanks to Ed Ammons for checking out the ingredients! Really,Underwood not so bad when compared to viennas or other potted meats. We always had it in the cabinet & took it on trips, etc. I used to prefer the chicken, when I got older. Maybe we should have it on hand in case of hurricane or other emergencies. Thanks, Tipper, for the background and memories.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    This post got me craving deviled ham! love the stuff. we always carried vienna sausage and deviled ham along with saltine crackers when we went fishing. we like to slice up spam and fry it. then fry up eggs and make spam & egg sandwichs!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2013 at 8:13 am

    We never had this growing up, but as an adult I liked those little cans for camping trips. Still get a craving now and then…deviled ham sandwiches w mayo on the bread, and a little sweet relish, yum! Now I want one!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 26, 2013 at 3:09 am

    Opened the cabinet tonight to get something…Staring at me was a can of Sardines…
    We love them with saltines!
    How could I have forgot them?
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    October 26, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Yes. I used to have deviled ham, spam, Vienna sausages,(we called them vi-eenies) potted meat on soft Wonder bread, but with a little dab of mustard. I haven’t eaten it in years, but it certainly sounds good about now. Guess like everything else today, it’s not politically correct to eat canned meat anymore!

  • Reply
    John Reese
    October 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Yes we ate it pretty good stuff. The only thing better is a can of Spam. The trick with Spam is if you get more than two sandwiches from a can you are slicing it to thin.Good stuff.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I loved these comments about Deviled Ham…especially those that make their own. I wish someone would give up their recipe and the “spices” they use.
    I guess one could make it with Spam. Treet is not my favorite for the flavor. I suppose one could buy some good smoked or Virginia ham and add the spices, etc. and blend it up as well. Of course that would be a little more pricey..Most Virginia ham around here is 5.99 a pound in the k-roger meat and cheese deli.
    I make ham salad out of real ham leftovers at Christmas or Spam.
    But, of course it is chunky!
    Our canned meat choices in order are:
    Tuna…still worry about the mercury!
    Spam…still worry about the fat!
    Vienna Sausage…Love with crackers, still fatty!
    Canned Chicken…only in a recipe calling for canned chicken!
    Corned Beef…Dad made corned beef sandwiches with tomato and lettuce, after heating a bit to melt off some of the fat…We eat it with cabbage in the Spring and occasionally in the fall…also very fatty!
    Canned clams…for Chowder only!
    Canned Shrimp…only for dips, etc.
    I guess I’m going to have to add back Deviled Ham…
    We try to keep some canned meats in case of power outage, etc.
    Oh, let’s not forget “Canned beanie-weanies” for the kids. They heat good on a sterno can!
    Thanks Tipper, Let me know if anyone sends you a recipe with the special spices they use for homemade Deviled Ham!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Tipper-I couldn’t stand it so I went by the store to see just what Underwood Deviled Ham had in it.
    “Ham Cured with Water, Salt, Brown Sugar, Sodium Nitrite and Seasoning(Mustard Flour, Spices, Tumeric)”
    Armour Potted Meat, on the shelf right under it started with Mechanically Processed Beef, Pork and Chicken. I tried to read more but I couldn’t understand the words.
    Deviled Ham was $1.49, Potted Meat and Vienna Sausages were 2 for a Dollar.
    You know what, all these “Store Bought” things were treats to us. Apparently Pap’s family was the same. A can of potted meat meat or vienna sausage is bad for you, but not so bad if you spread it on a stack of crackers and split it up between 6 kids.
    The more I read and the more I think about it, the more I appreciate my lowly upbringing. If you grow up with nothing but what you produce yourself, it don’t take much to please you. It also don’t take long to realize that those that had it better only had more head and heart aches.
    PS: I just had to buy me a can of that Underwoods stuff. That is what I’m having for supper tonight. Maybe the Underwood people will see your picture of their product and send you a case.
    PSS: or is it PPS: Deviled Ham backward is Mah Ed Lived.

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    October 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Yes!!! And Spam too! But don’t try the new Buffalo Chicken. It wasn’t very good. 🙁

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Someone mentioned Spam in a comment today and that reminded me when I was a little boy and sometimes I would spend the night at my aunt Kat’s house. She really knew how to spoil a little boy (this was before she had her own). For breakfast she would fry slices of Span til’ they were browned on both sides. Then she would make grits (not the instant type) oozing with butter and scrambled eggs and cat head biscuits, (about four inches in diameter) and apple jelly. I think just about everybody tried to fatten me up but nothing ever worked. I sure enjoyed their efforts!!!!!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Gosh! I haven’t thought about deviled ham sandwiches in a long time. However, the can was one of my staples for the shelf when we lived in South FL in the event we were hit by a hurricane. One needed to keep non-perishables on the shelf as one never knew how long the electricity, etc. would not be available. My husband liked it more than I did so it always got consumed after the season. Good memory and history!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Deviled ham, yep, I love it fixed just as you described but I don’t eat it any more because it’s not very healthy to eat.
    Interestingly I didn’t eat it growing up. My mother wouldn’t let us eat any meat from a can. We did eat canned tuna fish but that was it. I ate it after I was grown till I learned it wasn’t healthy.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    October 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Oh yes! I grew up with Underwood Deviled Ham, but haven’t had it for years. I think I’ll stop at the store and pick up a can, see if my taste buds still love it. Never realized how old the recipe is, thanks for the interesting post.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    We all like it. You can easily make your own. Put fairly small ham pieces or slices into food processor–use metal blade. I used a package of sandwich slices last time–a pound. Chop till pretty smooth. Add about three glugs of worstershire, good squirt of dijon or horshradish mustard, enough mayo or miracle whip so it has texture of deviled ham0–I pretty well run till it’s about a paste. Yummy–I wonder if it’s like pate country style ?

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    October 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I take after my Daddy…LOVE it! Momma wouldn’t touch it, but I’m a lot more like Daddy than Momma. My husband likes it too, so we always have a can or two in the pantry.

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    October 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I think Deviled Ham is the poor man’s gourmet alternative to the “sawmill dinner” of potted meat & vi-enner sausage, with pork ‘n’ beans and sody crackers.
    Oh, and Beverly Sausage for breakfast…

  • Reply
    Gina S
    October 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Yes to an occasional Deviled Ham sandwich just like the one you describe. In fact, my boys and I enjoyed one recently for lunch. Mama never bought any when I was growing up. I don’t recall my first taste. I enjoyed learning more about its long history and maker.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had Deviled Ham. But I
    know I like it, use to eat Potted
    Meat too, but my imagination ran
    away with me and I quit eating that stuff.
    Just recently a friend of mine brought me a couple of buns to try.
    As I was chomping in and enjoying
    this barbeque, he told me what it
    was, “Bare meat!” And it was sooo

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

    After talking with my husband about Deviled Ham we reminesed about school sandwiches! I knew his Mother made tons of sandwiches for 8 kids for school.
    She made jars of chicken salad, ham salad (made with Spam or Treet) and egg salad. These were made on Saturday or Sunday afternoon before the school week started. She also made tuna, pimento etc. but at that time the kids didn’t like them so much. Of course the traditional peanut butter and blackberry jelly was used too. My husband always took four (4) sandwiches everyday to school. His favorite was egg salad! She would change their sandwichs up a bit, one of this and two of that so to speak.
    Then in the evening when he would get in from school, a run to the refrigerator and grab a jar of her homemade sandwich making for an after school sandwich before going out to do chores or play basketball, etc. This would hold them til supper! Sandwiches were only for lunch. He said that on weekends they would occasionally have deviled ham and egg hamwichs for Saturday lunch!
    He loved them too. He puts tons of mayo on all his sandwiches. Ewwww…But still his all time favorite sandwich is the cold butter bean sandwich! Mayo on one side and get the leftover cold congealed butter beans, put on the light bread, slap those babies together and pour a glass of fresh cow milk…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry
    October 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Yes, ate it many times and when I was in the Marine Corps and out of the states, my mom would often send me a “care package” containg canned food and generally several cans of deviled ham. I loved it spread on saltine crackers.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    October 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I’m with you Tipper. I love deviled ham but it doesn’t love me. Interesting post..

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I always liked deviled ham but many times it gives me heart burn so bad a blue flame blows out my nose. Remember Julia Child, well she showed the audience what she ate when she wasn’t cooking a gourmet meal on one of her shows. Can’t remember everything but, she had lots of Underwood Deviled Ham and Hellman’s mayonnaise in her pantry. Guess that is recommendation enough.

  • Reply
    Kenneth o.Hoffman
    October 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

    a big yes for deviled ham,just love it mixed with boiled egg’s. see ya. k.o.h

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    October 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Those sandwiches were good!!!! My mom would often add finely chopped onions and pickles with a wee bit of mayonnaise, too. I even tried a recipe where you scooped out a cucumber and packed it with an onion,mayo mixture, chilled it and then sliced to serve. To my great surprise, Roy loved it…

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I was reading a story about the west that claimed the Indians refused to eat the ham because of the devil on the label.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    October 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Yes! But try mixing a little bit of sweet pickle relish in with the deviled ham! Yummy!

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    October 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I like it every once in a while. An older couple that lived by us growing up used to eat deviled ham and pineapple sandwiches. Its not too bad together but I would rather have just the ham.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I like you, Tipper, every once and a while want a deviled ham sandwich made just like you described making yours. Underwood is the only brand that I have ever eaten. My mother used to take the smallest can of deviled ham and add it to her yolks along with a little mustard, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish when she made deviled eggs. They are so good! Spam is another thing that I have to have every once and awhile. I love to make a sandwich with the soft white bread, mayonnaise, Spam, and a thin slice of sweet onion. I also like it sliced and fried. These are things that make me think of my childhood too. Back then deviled ham and Spam were considered treats to us kids.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

    You ain’t never ate ‘Deviled Ham” until you remember eatin’ one of my Moms Deviled Ham samwichs!
    Mom used, (at least this is the way I think I remember it) to take a small bowl fork stir up some eggs in it, add a smidgeon of milk, salt/pepper and a can of Deviled Ham…She had the cast iron skillet how with a little bacon grease, dump that mixture in the pan, scramble it together and the samwich supper was ready!
    She also loved to take saltine crackers and smear on Deviled Ham and get her a glass of buttermilk….ewwwwwww!
    This type eating all comes from being grown and raised thru the depression, I suppose! Back then you could buy a can of Deviled ham for 10 cents. One of the cheapest canned meats…
    I still get tickled when I hear my son say, “Well, if things get tight, it will be back to light bread and potted meat”!
    I haven’t had a Deviled Ham samwich in years! I guess I still like it…but the fat content is not good!
    Thanks Tipper for the memory!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    October 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I like Deviled Ham, too, Tipper.
    I like to make a “deviled ham salad,” sort of like chicken salad or tuna salad, only using a can or two of deviled ham for the treat, with boiled eggs, pickle chips, a bit of chopped onion, and mayonnaise. Anyone else like Deviled Ham Salad?
    (It can be used as a dip with chips or crackers, too.) I think my introduction to it may have been in the late 1930’s as my Grandpa Collins began to have some of it for sale in his country store at Choestoe.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 25, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I did like it as a child, but we didn’t have it much. My hubby and I made our own when we were first married and got a new blender. I liked mine better

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    October 25, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Yes, perfect for fishing trips switch my daddy. A pack of saltines, a can of deviled ham and a can of Vienna sausages. Daddy would spread the deviled ham on the crackers with his big old pocketknife. Totaly unsanitary and totally delicious. Thanks for jogging the old memory.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Is that the same thing as ‘ham salad’? I like that stuff a lot, but don’t have it very much.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Deviled ham – YES! When I was a kid mom mixed mayonnaise and a little pickle relish in with it for sandwiches. I still buy it every now and then.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 7:29 am

    It has been a long time since I bought any deviled ham. I used to buy it when the kids were at home. They always had to have pickles on their deviled ham sandwiches.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I make my own when I have leftover ham. Just grind, spice, add mayo. A great way to have something different for lunch.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Devilicious!I remember that from their commercials. Pap probably don’t remember deviled ham from his childhood because it was way more expensive that potted meat. It had to be because they could not only identify the cut of meat from which it was made but also the creature. No donkey or dog in there. At least that is what they claim.
    I like it smeared between saltine crackers.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Yuck,, my wife and daughter like it but not me, don’t like my ham already digested… I think it’s Little Freskies with a different wrapper and it don’t really taste like ham.. guess it would keep you from starving tho..

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Sadly, Mr Underwood’s fine produce does not seem to have reached the UK.

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