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“What is Hamloaf?” We are asked this question numerous times throughout the year by persons living outside the borders of Venango County, PA.
We describe our product as being similar to meatloaf but made from ground ham, ground pork, brown sugar and seasoning. Since 1976 our family has been making our hamloaf available to the public under state inspection. Recently, we made the jump to USDA federal inspection, so it could be sold wholesale and shipped nationwide. USDA federal inspection also assures our customers of a safer food product.
Traditionally, here in Pennsylvania, many stores will make their hamloaf fresh and sell it from a deli case or portion it out in small quantities in aluminum trays and aluminum foil. We believe that some of the chemicals in the ham react with the aluminum. We prefer to make our product using only the freshest ingredients and freezing it in wrapping paper or our new plastic bags.
Another tradition here in Pennsylvania is to use a sauce of vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. A friend of the family who was an old butcher explained to us that some meat markets will use old meat to make their hamloaf. These strong flavors (vinegar, brown sugar and mustard) hide this fact. Most of our customers tell us they enjoy our Hamloaf without a sauce.
We have included a sauce recipe on our cooking page for those who prefer to use the topping sauce!
Gahr’s Hamloaf, LLC