In today’s edition of “Would you eat this?” we bring you the smoked watermelon ham.
The ham look-alike comes from NYC’s Ducks Eatery located in the East Village. And it’s causing quite the frenzy online for obvious reasons (i.e. it’s not actually ham).
“Don’t let that caramelized skin fool you — this smoked ‘ham’ is 100% percent [watermelon],” Ducks Eatery writes on Instagram. It does in fact resemble a large roast. Though, it’s fruit — a fruit roast, if you will.
Chef and co-owner Will Horowitz starts by cutting off the melon’s rind. The melon then, according to TODAY, soaks in brine for four days in “a combination of salt, Oakwood ash, togarashi (a Japanese chile pepper spice), tamari, fennel seed, garlic and water.” It’s rinsed, dried and put into the smoker for about six to eight hours after that.
“The ash in the brine gives it a shocking skin-like texture,” TODAY describes. Next, Horowitz “scores the ‘skin’ and bastes it in olive oil, rosemary and its own juices until it’s nice and brown on the outside. He then carves the roast tableside to reveal that perfectly pink interior.” Sounds…delightful (and curious).
The entire process takes about a week’s time, and Horowitz says he serves only two of these “hams” per night.
The smoked watermelon ham is gaining so much traction on social media that you have to preorder it for a taste. The Ducks Eatery website reads, “please email email@example.com a minimum of 1 week in advance.” According to Eater New York, it’s already sold out until November.
“We’re getting a request every minute or two,” Horowitz says. “I had to set up an auto-reply on our email.”
Time Out New York reports that the roast comes with a snack and three side dishes. Oh, and the whole thing costs $75.
But what does this smoked watermelon ham taste like?
“The best way to describe the taste,” Horowitz tells INSIDER, “is that it’s smoky, savory, salty, hot and juicy, but it’s still a watermelon…and that’s the beauty of it.”
TODAY’s Emi Boscamp says the skin is “weirdly meat-like, but it also reminded me of super-roasted tomato skin. It was sweet, but the spices and gravy…gave it some nice saltiness.”
Time Out’s Jake Cohen says, “I not only enjoyed it, but I found it to be a thoughtful, innovative dish that gave me hope that some viral food might not be complete trash.”
Brunch Boys calls the smoked watermelon ham a “mind f**k” but delicious.
And yes, dear reader, when I find $75 to try this bad boy I will most certainly give you the full details.
For what it’s worth, Ducks Eatery also offers a cantaloupe burger, smoked the same way as the watermelon ham, for $16. Now that I have to try.
The internet isn’t sure what to think of this smoked watermelon ham
With a quick search on Instagram, you’ll find that many people are cooking their own smoked watermelon hams. But the idea in general has the internet divided.
There are the skeptics:
*logs on Facebook*
*sees a post where someone smoked a watermelon*
*logs off Facebook and calls the police*
— kylo ren (@peppermayne) August 9, 2018
If any of you people think that smoked watermelon actually looks like a ham, you shouldn’t be allowed to eat food anymore.
— melissa (@omfgitsMEL) September 4, 2018
Somebody asked me what I thought about the smoked watermelon craze…I’ll politely pass. I’ll smoke a ham instead.
— Dell Richmond (@DelltheDude) August 8, 2018
Then, there are those who claim they’d definitely try it:
IDK, grilled watermelon is great, so I would try this. Salty & sweet is usually a good thing.
— Meg Caprino (@calicobayfarm) September 6, 2018
Hands down. Would try this burger!! Sounds like heaven. https://t.co/vp2q8XxABt
— Zephan Nix (@ZephanNix) September 7, 2018
“We simply do the same thing that we’ve been doing for thousands of years to meats,” Horowitz tells INSIDER, “but we do it to a melon.” No big deal whatsoever.