THIBODAUX, La. — Rouses Supermarkets is bringing customers into its meat departments this week with a miniature butane torch and the aroma of caramelization.
For the past two weekends and most of this week, Rouse associates have taken a torch to Rouses' spiral hams. First, a hand rub of brown sugar, honey and spices goes on, and then heat from the torch does the rest, making a shiny, crunchy glaze.
The result? Customers head for the butcher-shop-type meat department to see what’s going on. There, they’re offered samples of the ham, and can buy a whole ham at $4.49 a pound.
“This is the first time we’ve done this,” Rouses meat director Gregg Smith told SN. “We’re hitting all the customer’s senses with this. There’s the taste and aroma, and the sight of the ham being hand-glazed [with the torch which makes some noise].”
Customers also can buy the glaze in 8-ounce plastic containers so they can glaze their ham at home. Also, the company has partnered this year with local Abita Brewery to develop a bottled root beer glaze and with Keen’s Cane Sugar Syrup for another bottled glaze, both of which are sold exclusively at Rouses.
Another attention-getter this year in the chain’s meat departments is its promotion of “The Twelve Roasts of Christmas,” a take-off on The Twelve Days of Christmas, Tim Acosta, the 38-unit chain’s marketing director, pointed out.
“There’s the traditional whole beef tenderloin and Boston butt and then others,” Acosta said.
“They’re all value-added. We’re using 10 different stuffings, including our signature green-onion-sausage. Also shrimp and crawfish stuffing. We have an eye-round stuffed with an olive mix and provolone cheese. This emphasizes store-level craftsmanship, and customers love the roasts.”