The Hamlet-- home of Oklahoma's original honey-kissed hams since 1986-- is the place for holiday hams. While The Hamlet locations do have a deli with a fine selection of sandwiches and other gourmet items, the main attraction here is ham.
Owner Larry Lyster and his son David purchased The Hamlet in 2003. "It was begun by someone else and we bought it from them," he explained, quickly adding that they are not a franchise.
The original location is at 71st and Trenton; other Hamlet locations opened later, 91st and Sheridan and most recently in Owasso on 96th Street North at the Smith Farm Marketplace.
The pride and joy of The Hamlet are the hams, which Larry said arrive lightly smoked and fully cooked. The hams undergo another treatment before being sold. They are spiral-cut (ham is placed on a skewer and slowly rotated into a stationary blade, cutting the ham into thin slices) and then fire-glazed using a honey glaze and a special blend of spices) with a blow torch, producing a sugary-spicy crust. Next, they are wrapped tightly in an attractive, thick yellow foil, placed in a plastic bag and are ready to be sold. When heated, the honey-crusted glaze melts among the slices of ham, creating a delicate sweet and spicy flavor, blending well with the gentle smoked flavor, giving each bite an irresistible juiciness.
Hams range in size from 6-7 pound half-ham, serving 8-12 for $40 to a 16-18 pound whole ham, serving 32-36 for $103.
Additionally, Larry added that moving up in popularity are the Whole Smoked Turkey and the Boneless Turkey Breast, also honey glazed and spiral sliced.
Short on time to cook for Christmas dinner? Larry said that with at least one week's notice, The Hamlet will prepare a holiday meal for families, serving 8-10 people for $110. This meal includes a 6-8 pound ham or 10-12 pound whole smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, Hamlet sage dressing and a choice of green beans almandine, corn casserole, glazed carrots or candied yams and rolls. Desserts are available for $19.95 and include Ludger's Cakes & Catering, Bavarian cream cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake, carrot cake or pie (apple, cherry, pumpkin and pecan).
Larry said The Hamlet ships hams, turkeys and gift baskets both locally and nationally. "Lots of corporate accounts (and individuals) will order gift baskets and have them shipped out," he said.
While The Hamlet provides some standard gift baskets with specialty gourmet food items from the store, people can come in and select their own items for the baskets. Baskets range in price from $25 to $125. Also, The Hamlet prepares party trays to order.
The 91st Street and Owasso stores have a complete deli with 30 different options of cold sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, wraps, salads, daily favorites (Ham N' Beans, "Pops" Chili, soup of the day, hot and cold, Frito-chili pie) and healthy choices. Ample room is available for dining inside the shop.
One item that came highly recommended to me when I visited the 91st Street location recently was the Fire and Ice, a grilled sandwich. The Fire is the Blazin' Buffalo chicken breast, pepper jack cheese and The Hamlet's own Buffalo mayo.
The Ice is the lettuce, tomato, pickle and bleu cheese dressing. This was a delightful sandwich on wheat bread (white is also available). The overall taste was not too spicy, at least for someone who enjoys a good kick with a sandwich.
Another highly recommended sandwich is The Original: honey-kissed ham, grilled and topped with baby swiss cheese, honey mustard, lettuce and tomato on Wheatberry bread.
The Hamlet also has a substantial line of gourmet items, including The Hamlet's own Roasted Raspberry Chipolte Sauce, a must-try. Others include Robert Rothchild dips, salsas, pumpkin and lemon curds, apricot-pumpkin butter; Hamlet-label products such as chow chow, a line of various olives, apple butter, black-eyed pea relish and dill green beans; Barefoot Contessa products; Dave's Gourmet sauces, Earth's Vine Provisions, such as Mango Tequila Jalapeno grilling and dipping sauce, Red Bell Pepper & Ancho Chili Jam, Spicy Apple Garlic Jam; Turtle Island dips, soups, corn chowder; San Saba River; Stonewall Kitchen Specialty Foods; Shooting Star Farms, a local company in Bartlesville, carrying Peach Mango Salsa, Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Jalapeno Salsa, Jalapeno Jelly, Three Pepper Jelly; Bad Byron's Butt Rub, barbecue seasoning; and Blues Hog Dry Rub seasoning. All of these and more can be arranged in a personalized gift basket.
While the 71st Street location is usually closed on Saturdays, all three stores are open Saturdays throughout the holiday season.
1660 E. 71st St.
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