Honey Baked Hams
Les Pierce was inspired to open his Honey Baked Ham franchise in large part because the company’s spiral cut glazed hams were a significant part of many of his own childhood memories.
The Lenten season is quickly coming to a close and Easter is upon us. For many, over the years, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was traditionally celebrated with a ham dinner. Les Pierce, owner of the Corpus Christi Honey Baked Ham, believes it’s a tradition worth bringing back.
"We're hoping to encourage people as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord during Easter to resurrect an Easter tradition of celebrating with a honey baked ham,” Pierce said. “In the South, ham tends to have become a Christmas tradition, though growing up, we had it on Easter and Thanksgiving as well.”
It’s a tradition Pierce remembers well. He was inspired to open his Honey Baked Ham franchise in large part because the company’s spiral cut glazed hams were a significant part of many of his own childhood memories.
“I knew from my upbringing how we as a family celebrated holidays and special events, how we celebrated one’s life from birth to death,” Pierce said. “Honey Baked Ham was always a part of that.”
Although Pierce doesn’t know exactly how his family was turned on to the 50-year-old ham company, he speculates that his parents must have heard about Honey Baked Ham from a friend. What he does know for sure is that, for as long as he can remember, the hams have been a regular part of family celebrations, even though it took a three-and-a-half-hour drive to get the hams when he was growing up.
Back then, Honey Baked Ham was completely corporate-owned, with outlets in major cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, but there was no outlet near Corpus Christi. Pierce’s family drove to Houston several times a year to get their pre-cooked, pre-spiral-sliced glazed hams for Easter and other special occasions.
Once Pierce was in college – in Austin, where they had a Honey Baked Ham store – it became his job to pick up the ham for holidays and family events.
Once, while picking up the spiral cut glazed ham for the family, Pierce asked about franchising opportunities. To his delight, Honey Baked Ham had just started franchising four or five years earlier. He was able to secure a franchise, opening up in Corpus Christi 10 years ago. He hopes to eventually open a second location in the area. He cites helping families to make their own memories, like his family did, as one of his favorite things about owning a Honey Baked Ham location.
According to Pierce, everything Honey Baked Ham serves is fully cooked. Advantages to buying the spiral cut hams – an idea that Honey Baked Ham originated – are that they are convenient and easy to serve, with no need to cut the ham yourself. They are hand glazed by master glazers, after being slow-smoked 20 to 24 hours, ensuring “the sweetest, crunchy glaze on every slice.”
In addition to the many families who come to buy hams this time of year, it’s becoming increasingly common for employers and businesses to give their employees quarter hams and gift certificates around Easter and other holidays.
While their signature product is their spiral sliced glazed ham, they are also becoming increasingly well-known for their turkey breast, roast beef, pork roast and ribs. They also serve a wide selection of side dishes (sweet potato soufflé, corn bread dressing, herb dressing, broccoli and rice casserole and more) and desserts. Some desserts, like their cheesecake and pumpkin pie, are available year-round, while others are available seasonally. Pierce points to the coconut cake and quiche as favorite seasonal items this time of year.
By Scott Rutherford