Ian Boden thinks deviled ham is about to have a moment. “It’s got everything pimento cheese does,” says the James Beard Award–nominated chef at the Shack in Staunton, Virginia. “It’s creamy, it’s salty, it’s spreadable, and it’s also ubiquitous at church gatherings. Its big advantage over pimento, to me, is that it has smoke.” His version of the nostalgic spread is a balanced blend of house-smoked city ham, with local country ham, and a full spectrum of pork-friendly flavors: mustard, scallions, parsley, sorghum syrup, and more.
At the Shack, Boden uses it as the filling for a gooey toasted sandwich and serves it as an appetizer with a sheaf of his biscuit crackers—buttery, unleavened biscuit dough rolled cracker thin and baked until golden. “Years after I started making these crackers, I realized they’re basically biscuit matzo,” says Boden, who is Jewish, though his family did not keep kosher when he was growing up in Fairfax, Virginia. Ironically, the crackers are ideal vehicles for his ham-tastic topping.