By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Resturants

I am often asked where to purchase Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham, especially this time of year. So, I asked around and did some research. Then I drove through St. Mary’s and Charles County checking out some of the local favorites! I’ve never been a big fan of stuffed ham, but it had been a long time since I tried it. So…being dedicated to my readers, I took one for the team and decided to try some of the local offerings…for you!!

Stuffed ham is a traditional Southern Maryland holiday delicacy. There are many stories about the origin of stuffed ham. One I’ve heard often is of slaves who, during the 17thcentury, would get scraps of pork and, in order to use everything they had, would add greens from the garden. All the ingredients were put in a bag (cheesecloth bags are usually used now) and then boiled. As word spread about the delicious ham, the plantation owners started making the stuffed ham using better cuts of pork.

Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham is time-consuming to prepare. Traditionally, a corned (brined) ham is trimmed of fat and deboned. Deep slits are cut into the ham and then as much stuffing as possible is pushed into the slits. The stuffing is usually a mixture of cabbage, kale, onions, mustard seed, celery seed, pepper, and crushed red pepper. After the ham is wrapped in cheesecloth, it is boiled or baked. The ham is usually served cold.

I’ve heard that you can tell where in St. Mary’s County the ham was stuffed. In the southern region they often use more cabbage than kale, while in the northern area, they use more kale than cabbage. Interesting!

Local favorites include:

Chaptico Market

25466 Maddox Road

Chaptico, MD 20621

  • Hours: Sunday 5 am-7 pm, Monday through Saturday 5 am-8 pm
  • Price: $12.99 per pound
  • They have stuffed ham year-round.
  • They have sandwiches available at the deli.
  • This is one of the locations everyone mentions when I asked about stuffed ham. They have been preparing and cooking stuffed ham for generations.

Cooksey’s Store

12090 Charles Street

LaPlata, MD 20646

  • Hours: Sunday 6 am-8 pm, Monday through Saturday 5 am-8 pm
  • Price: $13.99 per pound
  • Order by the pound (sliced) for Thanksgiving by November 22nd.
  • Stuffed ham is seasonal (through Christmas).
  • They also have sandwiches available.

Linda’s Café

21779 Tulagi Place

Lexington Park, MD 20653

  • Hours: Sunday 8am-2pm, Monday 6am-2pm, Tuesday through Friday 6am-8pm, Saturday 7am-2pm
  • Price: $12.00 per pound
  • Order whole or half ham for Thanksgiving by November 23rd (12 pm).
  • They will serve sandwiches until after the holiday.
  • They also have Stuffed Ham Lumpia (spring rolls).
  • Their recipe is from a local resident (Marie Dyson) and the ham is boiled.

McKay’s Grocery Store

Three locations: 40845 Merchants Lane, Leonardtown, MD 20650

23860 Hollywood Road, Hollywood, MD 20636

37670 Mohawk Drive, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

  • Hours: Monday through Sunday (which means every day) 7 am-10pm
  • Price: $12.99 per pound (on sale now through 11/20 for $10.00 per pound)
  • They also have Bits & Pieces (which I got) for $5.99 per pound and Sliders.
  • You can order a prepared, uncooked stuffed ham.

Nick’s of Clinton and Calvert

Two locations: Clinton – 3953 St. Charles Parkway, Waldorf, MD 20601

Calvert – 930 Costley Way, Prince Frederick, MD 20678

  • Hours: Sunday 9 am-5 pm, Monday through Wednesday 10 am-7 pm, Friday 10 am -pm, Saturday 9 am-8 pm
  • Price: $5.99 per pound for frozen, prepared, uncooked whole ham (meat department) and $11.99 for slices (deli)
  • Deli ham is fully cooked, oven-baked and made in-house. It is seasonal and available through Christmas.
  • The frozen ham is available year-round.

WJ Dent & Sons

44584 Tall Timbers Road, Tall Timbers, MD 20690

  • Hours: Monday through Sunday 8:30 am-9 pm
  • Price: $11.99 per pound
  • Sandwiches are available for $7.00.
  • The deadline for Thanksgiving orders is Thursday, November 21.
  • You can even mail order a stuffed ham!
  • I didn’t pick up ham while on my travels but dined at Chief’s Bar & Restaurant (located behind the deli/market) recently. They have several menu items utilizing stuffed ham. They had delicious stuffed ham egg rolls and pizza topped with the delicacy! Also, off-topic, the Oyster Rockefeller was amazing! It’s oyster season!

I discovered a few things from my travels and tastings…I do like stuffed ham! All were good but my favorites were from Linda’s Café and Chaptico Market. The stuffed ham at Linda’s Café had the perfect amount of stuffing ingredients to balance the flavors (you know me and balanced flavors). And, if you get a chance to see Linda, she is fabulous! Look for an article on Linda’s Café soon!

The Chaptico Market stuffed ham was the thickest cut of the hams I tried and had a delightful blend of the spices. The spiciest was from Nick’s. The spice comes from the crushed red peppers and was a little too much for me, but I know people who will love it!

The south/north thing seemed to be true…Linda’s Café (more south) had more cabbage than kale, and Nick’s (more north) had more kale than cabbage!

Bottom line…if you haven’t tried Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham, you need to check it out! For those of you looking to find where to get it, I hope this helped! Enjoy!

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...