"Black Forest Ham" is what Subway is pushing now, so of course it’s what we Lunch Guys are eating. In the franchise that Jared built, this ham is a lean option with the promise of you ending up an "after" picture in Subway’s next weight-loss ad. But is this Black Forest Ham sub all promise and no punch?
Chris: To me, this is all about the marketing, not the lunching, Tom. Remember when we ordered that Kobe burger at the Cheesecake Factory and were so excited to dine on the legendary beef from the massaged, beer-drinking cows of Japan? Then we read that real Kobe beef hadn’t been imported in years and "American" Kobe was basically a marketing term for "pretty good burger"? Same here.
I doubt this Black Forest Ham has been cured for three months deep in Germany’s Black Forest region. In fact, if Wikipedia serves me, our Europeans can only call ham "Black Forest" if it’s actually Black Forest ham; we Americans don’t have any such restrictions/integrity.
The good news is, this is pretty good ham. Unlike Subway’s ad that features billowing meat cascading out of the sandwich, though, this ham is the usual paper-thin slices buried under the toppings. But it’s slightly sweet with none of the slimy wetness I’ve seen on deli ham from the grocer’s meat case.
It would have a welcome robustness if it was actually a robust amount. Sure, I’ll be losing weight, but because I’m not eating much ham, whether I like it or not.
Tom: I’ve been on record in columns past complaining about Subway’s ham, so obviously a ham change at the world’s largest chain is good news for me. But will anyone else care? They should.
Ham is the building block of so many Subway sandwiches that bad ham there can permeate the menu like bad cooking oil ruins the food row at a county fair.
You are right about the ham being sliced so thin it’s nearly see-through ... but I could still appreciate the ham upgrade from the first bite. It’s no Honey Baked Ham but at least it now falls between the cheap squares in Lunchables and those high-end spiral slices.
All that said, I wouldn’t exactly call this sandwich healthy. Sure, there’s not much fat, but that billowy Subway bread packs on a ton of carbs, and somehow you get over a day’s worth of salt in just a foot-long sub. That doesn’t even count all my condiments and chips.
Chris: Just when I was back in the Subway fan club with the new Feast sandwich, I might be out again. Bury the ham in the Feast, but don’t make it the star to build an ad campaign around. Subway is hamming it up on this one.
Tom: Also, let’s give up on the diet angle and use Subway for what it is — a place to get a fairly decent sub with better than average ham.
Tom James and Chris Tauber are freelance writers.