MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – Many love tradition this time of year, and for many of you, a trip to Rice’s Country Hams is a must-do.
News 2 stopped by the Mt. Juliet store to find out how it all started.
Generations of customers come to experience everything Rice’s has to offer—the sights, sounds, and smells.
“We turned the saw on when we come to work and it stays on all day long,” said owner Ed Rice.
Rice’s father started the business as a country store, and when the family began specializing in cured hams, their reputation was born.
“And then my son-in-law came along, and I taught him all I know,” he told News 2.
“Being able to keep the tradition alive is something that gives me pride,” said manager Scott Dabbs.
And Dabbs has done that well. He admits to wearing several hats.
“Manager, butcher, son-in-law…” he said. Dabbs slices about 100 hams a day.
While they’ve won many awards, the best recognition they say is from their customers. Some of them have been coming back for decades.
The store opens every year in October and closes on Christmas Eve.
“And we sell out every year. When we sell out at Christmas time, we start curing ham for the next year. It’s just a cycle,” Rice told News 2.
He says what sets their country hams out from what you can buy in stores is theirs are cured all year long.
“It takes Mother Nature and Father Time. Gives our hams the flavor and separates them from grocery store ham,” Rice added.