New York Restaurant Creates Delicious-Looking Whole Watermelon ‘Smoked Ham’

If you’re a vegetarian who is curious about or misses the taste of smoked ham, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s an interesting substitute you can try.

Will Horowitz, owner of Ducks Eatery in East Village, NYC, has caused an Internet sensation with his new “smoked ham” which actually consists not of meat, but a whole watermelon. At first glance, Will’s creation looks entirely like meat, complete with scoring and charring. And even when you cut into it, the middle has red “flesh”, reminiscent of a rare steak. But the taste is something different; while the initial taste is a salty, meaty one, it quickly transforms into sweetness, especially as you get closer into the center of the faux ham.

Photo: Ducks Eatery/Facebook

Jeremy Jacobowitzan, the creator of Brunch Boys, had this to say when he tried the dish: “It’s such like a mindf***. I don’t know how to process what I just ate, but it’s delicious.”

How does Will make a fruit taste like meat? His secret is to prepare the watermelon in a similar fashion to meat. First, he peels the watermelon of its rind and marinates it for four days in a secret combination of herbs, ash, and salt. Once the watermelon is done marinating, he smokes it for eight hours, then places it in a pan with rosemary and the run-off juices to seal in the flavor.

Photo: Ducks Eatery/Facebook

While some social media users have reacted to this vegetarian ham with positivity and eagerness to try such a culinary feat (such as “That’s so cool. I wonder how it tastes”), others aren’t as enthusiastic. Reactions include “atrocious”, “what is life anymore, this makes no sense”, and “vegans have gone too far.”

However, Will’s met the criticism readily. He enjoys pushing his creativity to the limits in order to bring his diners innovative dishes: “That’s the whole point of food and cooking! You take things, and you cook and manipulate it into something new! That’s what’s fun, that’s what’s interesting, that’s what you should be looking for. Don’t be so closed minded about foods! Taste, and then make a decision!”

Photo: Ducks Eatery/Facebook

This isn’t the first time Will’s experimented with fruit on his menu. Earlier this year, he served a burger with a meaty tasting cantaloupe patty in the middle. He achieved such a patty by curing, fermenting, smoking, slow-baking, dehydrating, and searing sliced of the fruit:

“The result is a filet with an actual skin, and though there’s no fat involved, it feels as juicy in the mouth as a steak would. It’s rich and smoky, like brisket with whispers of black pepper, pine, and a roasted pumpkin. It tastes nothing like cantaloupe.”


Sources: Business Insider, Food Beast