Glazed ham taste test

The invitation on March 6, 2023

The NCSU Sensory Service Center has a new INDOOR* taste test opportunity. This test will occur on Thursday, March 9th from 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM inside of Schaub Hall on the NC State main campus. The test will take about 30 minutes to complete. If you qualify and fully participate in the taste test, you will receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card!

The qualifying

I had to qualify by answering a brief (< 5-minute) screening survey, including the—probably most salient—qualifying question asking which brand of spiral-cut hams I’d both bought and eaten in the past several months. I enumerated 4 brands: Honey Baked, Hillshire Farms, Smithfield, and Costco’s Kirkland brand.

As it turned out, the tastings we did were for some potential new glaze flavors of Smithfield ham, so I’m glad I checked that one, or I might not have qualified.

The test

They were testing 4 glaze flavors:

  • Honey Orange Bourbon
  • Sweet and Spicy Maple
  • Baked Apple Spice
  • Spiced Apple Cinnamon

There were 3 parts to the test:

  1. Before tasting each sample, answer some questions about its look, aroma, and likelihood that you’d purchase it on those characteristics alone.
  2. Taste each sample, saving enough of it to taste again for the ranking part of the test, and answer questions about:
    • It overall.
    • Its flavors (e.g., honey, orange, bourbon, apple).
    • Characteristics like its texture, moistness, saltiness, and the amount of glaze on it.
    • Your likelihood of purchasing it.
  3. Upon finishing all tastings, taste all of the samples again and rank them in the order of your preference.
The ranking

How I ranked them:

The payoff

*For posterity, this is highlighted because during the proceeding 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, they held outdoor taste tests.

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