The Secret Behind Firehouse Subs’ Delicious Virginia Honey Ham

As a fast-growing sandwich franchise, Firehouse Subs has earned a reputation for serving premium meats piled high on fresh baked bread. But when it comes to their star protein, Virginia honey ham, many fans wonder – what’s the story behind this tasty deli meat?

In this article, we’ll explore the details of the unique variety of ham featured in many Firehouse Subs classics We’ll look at why they chose it, how it’s cured and prepared, and what sets it apart from your average sliced ham

First, a quick intro to Firehouse Subs for the uninitiated. The restaurant chain was founded in 1994 by former firefighters Chris and Robin Sorensen in Jacksonville, Florida The brothers used their life savings of just $75,000 to launch the first location

The concept was built around hearty, overstuffed sandwiches made with high-quality meats and cheeses. All subs are served “Fully Involved” with veggies and condiments for maximum flavor.

Thanks to its premium ingredients and connection to first responders Firehouse Subs has grown to over 1200 locations across the U.S. and Canada today.

The Premium Virginia Honey Ham Selection

One prime example of Firehouse Subs’ commitment to quality is their choice of Virginia honey ham. This specialty cured ham is featured in customer favorites like the Hook and Ladder sub.

Virginia honey ham refers to a specific style of ham produced in the state of Virginia. It’s made from the fresh hind leg of a pig that’s dry cured with salt, then coated in honey for added sweetness.

This results in a tender, slightly sweet ham that perfectly complements the bold flavors in a Firehouse sandwich. The honey also gives the meat a lovely glaze when cooked.

The Curing and Cooking Process

Firehouse Subs doesn’t actually produce their own ham in-house. Instead, they source it from specific high-end providers who cure Virginia honey hams using traditional techniques.

The process starts with a fresh, high-quality pork leg. The meat is rubbed with salt and cured for at least three months. This dry curing draws out moisture and concentrates the pork flavor.

The hams are then smoked over hickory wood for up to a full day. This imparts a lovely smoky aroma and the distinct Virginia honey ham finish. Finally, the ham is cooked in steam to warm it through while keeping it tender and juicy.

What Sets It Apart from Regular Ham

There are a few key differences that make Virginia honey ham stand out from typical sliced deli ham:

  • It’s made from fresh uncured pork, not processed reformed ham slices. This gives it superior texture and flavor.

  • The dry curing and smoking process adds complex, robust taste compared to quick-cured ham.

  • It contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives which are common in pre-packaged sliced hams.

  • The honey glaze provides subtle sweetness to balance the saltiness and smokiness.

  • It’s cooked gently through steaming rather than aggressive roasting or frying which can dry out the meat.

In short, the extra steps required for true Virginia honey ham result in exceptional quality you can taste in every bite.

Enjoying That Signature Taste at Home

Want to get a taste of Firehouse Subs’ delicious ham without leaving the house? Recreating those flavors at home is totally doable with a few simple tips:

  • Check specialty markets or online mail order for authentic Virginia honey ham. Brands like Edwards and Broadbent are great choices.

  • Warm slices gently in the oven or microwave rather than full-on cooking to prevent drying out.

  • For sandwiches, use a fresh sub roll and be generous with the condiments like mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomato to complement the ham.

  • Add Swiss, provolone, or pepper jack cheese for extra flavor. Melt on top for hot subs.

  • For a Hook and Ladder vibe, layer ham with smoked turkey, cheese, and zesty onion and bell peppers.

  • Whip up some classic sides like mac and cheese or potato salad to round out the meal.

With quality ingredients and a little prep, you can recreate Firehouse Subs’ signature ham tastes in your own kitchen. Use their subs for inspiration for easy yet delicious meals and sandwiches.

Why Firehouse Subs Chose Virginia Honey Ham

When Firehouse Subs was getting its start back in the 1990s, founders and former firefighters Chris and Robin Sorensen knew they wanted quality ingredients that would set their subs apart. After tasting authentic Virginia honey ham, they knew they had found their star deli meat.

Compared to regular sliced ham, Virginia honey ham offered superior richness, juiciness and flavor. It gave subs like the Hook and Ladder a distinct sweet and smoky taste that customers couldn’t find elsewhere.

And since Firehouse had a theme around firefighting, the fact that Virginia was one of the early curing and smoking centers added to the appeal. The decision to use this premium regional ham has been a key aspect of the Firehouse Subs brand ever since.

The Distinct Flavor of Virginia Honey Ham

So what exactly gives Virginia honey ham its one-of-a-kind flavor? There are a few key aspects:

  • Hickory Wood Smoking – The hours of gentle smoking over fragrant hickory wood gives the meat a lovely smoky flavor and aroma.

  • Dry Curing – Rubbing the raw hams with salt draws out moisture for concentrated pork taste.

  • Honey Glaze – A light honey coating provides subtle sweetness to balance the saltiness and smokiness.

  • Steam Cooking – Steaming cooks the ham gently to optimal doneness without drying it out.

When these elements come together, the result is a ham that’s tender and juicy on the inside with a slightly crispy, candied exterior that’s an ideal sandwich meat.

How Firehouse Subs Prepares Their Honey Ham

While Firehouse doesn’t actually cure and smoke their own hams from scratch, they do follow specific steps to get the most flavor and the perfect texture after delivery:

  • They only use premium whole muscle Virginia honey hams with no artificial ingredients added. Lower quality hams won’t make the cut.

  • Hams are trimmed of excess fat and the skin is removed. This reduces the amount of chewing required per bite.

  • Slices are then cut to the ideal thickness – not too thin and stringy or too thick and fatty.

  • The sliced ham is then gently steamed until warm all the way through. This preserves moisture and juiciness.

  • Only the amount needed for sandwiches that day is prepped. The rest stays protected from drying out.

It’s this careful handling and prep that allows the natural flavors of the ham to really shine through in every Firehouse Subs creation.

Satisfy Your Craving at Home

The next time your tastebuds are craving the sweet, smoky Virginia honey ham from your favorite Firehouse Subs sandwich, consider recreating it at home.

Seek out high-quality Virginia honey ham at delis or online mail order companies. Brands like Edwards, Broadbent, and Burgers smoke their hams using time-honored traditional methods.

Gently warm slices in the oven or microwave rather than full-on cooking to prevent drying out. Layer on fresh, soft bread with ample veggies and condiments. Add cheese if desired.

With quality ingredients and careful preparation, you can bring the signature Firehouse Subs ham flavors into your own kitchen. Your tastebuds will thank you.

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What honey ham do Firehouse Subs use?

Turns out, people absolutely LOVE the same things as our Founders – the best meats, cheeses, and toppings we can find. Take our Hook & Ladder® Sub for example, with Virginia honey ham, smoked turkey breast, and melted Monterey Jack.

What brand of meat do Firehouse Subs use?

Firehouse subs are consistent no matter which location. I like it over others because they use Boar’s Head meats, which crush Subway and others on quality. Subs are loaded with meat and are always fresh.

How do Firehouse Subs cook their meat?

Steaming the meat and cheese means our sandwiches are always juicy and flavorful!

What brand of pickles do Firehouse Subs use?

Proudly supplied to. Firehouse Subs by United Pickle Products Corp.

What meats does Firehouse Subs use?

The meats Firehouse Subs uses to make their sandwiches is turkey, ham, steak, corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, brisket, chicken, meatballs, salami, pepperoni, tuna, and bacon. These are all the meats used for making their ten main sandwiches on the menu, and their special subs as well.

Does Firehouse Subs have a turkey sandwich?

You can order most Firehouse Subs sandwich options, such as ham, meatball, and turkey, in a kid’s size. The kids’ menu also includes a grilled cheese sandwich. The kids’ turkey sub on wheat has 340 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 48g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 940mg sodium.

Are Firehouse Subs processed?

All of Firehouse subs meats are processed. The corned beef is cured, all of the meats are pre-flavored, and the bacon is definitely processed. None of their meats are 100% fresh, thus making them processed.

Does firehouse sub have cheese?

All of Firehouse Sub’s cheese is also made beforehand. They come packaged in boxes filled with cheese that is packaged similar to the sliced cheese at the store. For their sub sandwiches, the only thing that needs to be done is placing the cheese unto the meat before it is thrown into the steamer.

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