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A pride of Virginia culture, country ham is a Southern tradition that has been loved for centuries. Country Ham Biscuits combine the salty, cured smoked meat with fluffy buttermilk biscuits. They’re perfect for breakfast with eggs and grits, served as cocktail hors d’oeuvres or tailgating snacks, or prepared for grab-and-go munchies between meals. Enjoy a delicious bite at any time of day!

Tray of cocktail ham biscuits on a wooden table

Virginia Country Ham Biscuits

As a born-and-raised Virginian, it was only recently that I realized ham biscuits are a truly local specialty — and not necessarily something that the rest of the country is familiar with. Around here, you’ll find Country Ham Biscuits served at almost every holiday, tailgate, funeral, potluck or picnic. They’re a staple that is just ingrained in the culture of our community. Well, let me share the good news — no matter where you live, you can indulge in one of our favorite Southern delicacies, too — salty country ham on light and fluffy buttermilk biscuits.

Here in Madison, you’ll find individually wrapped ham biscuits at just about every gas station and country market around town. Our rural little county doesn’t have too many big businesses to boast about, but Kite’s Country Hams are renowned far beyond Virginia. The small business produces artisanal cured country hams from a converted chicken house that sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has been in business for roughly 60 years, and Madison locals enjoy the ham at any chance we get — most often on little biscuit sandwiches.

What is Country Ham?

Country ham is packed in a mixture of salts, sugar, and spices, allowed to cure for months, and then smoked. It is a popular breakfast item in the South, where it’s often served as a grilled steak alongside red-eye gravy, or even more commonly tucked inside a biscuit sandwich. Country ham is available in local shops throughout the South, but you can also order it online from just about anywhere in the country.

Plate of Virginia country ham

Ham Biscuits

Country ham biscuits are typically fairly small sandwiches that are made with little biscuits, a couple of pieces of thinly-sliced meat, and maybe a condiment like butter, mustard, or jam. There’s nothing fancy about ham biscuits, but the down-home comfort classics sure taste delicious — just like they came from Grandma’s kitchen!

What are the types of biscuits?

In addition to high-quality Virginia country ham, the key to a delicious sandwich is a really great biscuit. I’ve included my favorite Southern Buttermilk Biscuits here, but my Great Aunt Bee’s 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits or these shortcut Drop Biscuits will also work well. Really, you can use any biscuit recipe that you prefer. I highly suggest that you cut the biscuits small. The sandwiches are rich, and a little bit of the salty, smoky ham goes a long way. I recommend a 2-inch biscuit cutter, or smaller.

Of course, if you’re really in a time crunch, feel free to purchase biscuits at a local shop and assemble the sandwiches on your own. Yoder’s Country Market, which is right up the road from us, sells some great little angel biscuits that are perfect for cocktail ham biscuits. You can even use sweet potato biscuits if you like a sweet-and-savory combination.

Front shot of a Virginia country ham biscuit on a small plate

How to Make Country Ham Biscuits

There’s hardly a recipe necessary for these easy little sandwiches. Simply bake the biscuits, tuck ham inside, and you’re good to go!

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda and baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Shortening or lard
  • Buttermilk
  • Country ham

Step 1: Bake Biscuits

Prepare the biscuit dough, cut out the small biscuits, and bake in a 450 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes. Brush with melted butter and let them cool slightly.

Close up front shot of homemade southern biscuits on a baking sheet

Step 2: Assemble Sandwiches

Split a biscuit in half, spread both sides with butter or another condiment of choice, and add a couple of thin slices of Virginia country ham.

Assembling a country ham biscuit

Replace the top of the biscuit to close the sandwich and serve!

Tray of country ham biscuits with fresh parsley garnish

What to put on Country Ham Biscuits

You’ll sometimes see ham biscuits served with no condiments at all — just the biscuit and the ham sandwiched together. A really great ham biscuit, however, includes a condiment that brings everything together and complements the rich biscuit and salty meat. Add flavor to the sandwich with butter or honey butter, Dijon mustard, honey mustard, Creole mustard, or a hot mustard. Pimento cheese is less conventional, but totally delicious! A drizzle of honey adds a nice sweet touch, and so do fig preserves, spiced apple pear jam, or peach jam.

How to Keep Ham Biscuits Warm

If you’re serving cocktail ham biscuits for a party or setting up a holiday brunch spread, the sandwiches can be served at room temperature or warm. To warm the biscuits just before serving, place them on a baking sheet, tent loosely with foil, and warm in a 350 degree oven just until heated through (this should only take a few minutes — you don’t want to dry out or toast the biscuits).

What to serve with Country Ham Biscuits

Here are a few sides that go well with ham biscuits:

Front shot of a tray of ham biscuits in front of a dark background

Make Ahead

You can bake the biscuits up to 2 days in advance and keep them stored in an airtight container on your counter. You can also freeze the biscuits for up to 3 months, then thaw on the counter before using. When ready to assemble the sandwiches, warm the biscuits in the oven.

How to Reheat Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and and heat in the oven just until warm (about 5-7 minutes).

Storage

Wrap leftover sandwiches in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat individual ham biscuits in the microwave just until warmed through (about 15-30 seconds at most).

Tips for the Best Ham Biscuit Recipe

  • When planning your menu, it’s safe to assume about 1-2 ham biscuits per person.
  • The ham biscuits are delicious served warm or at room temperature.
  • Start with a really great biscuit, and cut them fairly small (2-inches or less) to make smaller, manageable sandwiches. You can use the Southern Buttermilk Biscuits included here, or try angel biscuits or drop biscuits.
  • Use true country ham from Virginia, Kentucky or other parts of the South.
  • Offer a variety of condiments for your sandwiches, from sweet to savory. Butter, mustard, honey mustard, spicy mustard, fig preserves, honey, and pimento cheese are all tasty options.
Front shot of a small plate of country ham biscuits with a larger serving tray in the background

More biscuit recipes that you might enjoy:

Tray of cocktail ham biscuits on a wooden table

Virginia Country Ham Biscuits

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 32 minutes
Servings 8 – 10 ham biscuits (using a 2-inch or smaller cutter)
Calories 254 kcal
A pride of Virginia culture, these Country Ham Biscuits are a Southern tradition that have been loved for centuries!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE BISCUITS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour such as White Lily brand
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter diced into small pieces and chilled, plus about 2 tablespoons of melted butter for brushing tops
  • 2 tablespoons shortening diced into small pieces and chilled (or can sub with lard)
  • ¾ – 1 cup cold buttermilk

FOR SERVING

  • ½ lb. country ham
  • Optional condiments, such as butter, mustard, honey mustard, spicy mustard, fig preserves, peach jam or pimento cheese

Instructions

MAKE THE BISCUITS

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or round cake pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse meal. You will still see flakes of butter and shortening throughout, which is good!
  • Gradually add the buttermilk, stirring with a wooden spoon until a fairly wet, sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 1 minute, adding flour to the counter and your hands, as necessary, to prevent sticking. Roll or pat to ¾-inch thickness. Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out rounds (I recommend a 2-inch cutter or smaller for ham biscuits). Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, but do not twist. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
  • Arrange biscuits (with sides touching) on the parchment-lined baking sheet or round pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with a little bit of the melted butter. Place the tray of biscuits in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes (if you have time) to chill before popping them in the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Brush the tops with additional melted butter, transfer to wire rack to cool slightly, and assemble sandwiches.

ASSEMBLE SANDWICHES

  • Once the biscuits are cool enough to handle, split each biscuit in half (don't slice the biscuits with a knife — use the tines of a fork to poke holes around the edge and then gently pull apart).
  • Spread a dollop of your preferred condiment (butter, mustard, etc.) on each side of the biscuit, add a couple of thin slices of country ham, and then close the sandwich and enjoy!

Notes

  • When planning your menu, it’s safe to assume about 1-2 ham biscuits per person.
  • The ham biscuits are delicious served warm or at room temperature.
  • Start with a really great biscuit, and cut them fairly small (2-inches or less) to make smaller, manageable sandwiches. You can use the Southern Buttermilk Biscuits included here, or try angel biscuits or drop biscuits.
  • Use true country ham from Virginia, Kentucky or other parts of the South.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ham biscuit (assuming you make 8 total biscuits)Calories: 254kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 10gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 640mgPotassium: 347mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 125IUCalcium: 119mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: country ham biscuits, ham biscuits
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. We buy Kite’s country ham from Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton. I am taking them to the Rapadan Hunt Club on Sunday to our 63rd annual Cole family reunion, started by my father’s first cousin, Mildred McDaniel of the former River View Farm in Wolftown. I won’t use anything but Kite’s!

  2. I have purchased Smithfield Country Ham biscuit slices as they are the only country ham item I can get locally. Do I need to soak the slices before making the ham biscuits?

    1. Hi, Judy! I’ve never purchased or seen that type of country ham, so I’m not sure. I would refer to the preparation instructions on the package. The country ham that I use does not require cooking — it’s thinly sliced at the deli counter at a local country market and ready to eat.