This ham really brought home the bacon.

By Meghan Overdeep
August 29, 2019
Facebook/Penn's Hams

Wondering what the going rate for a prized ham is in Kentucky these days?

Every year at Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Country Ham Breakfast, the State Fair’s Grand Champion ham is auctioned off to the highest bidder. This year’s winner, a 16-pound wonder by Penn’s Hams in Taylor County, sold for a sizzling $1 million last week.

A mere five minutes into the auction, the porky prize was claimed by Central Bank and the bank’s President and CEO, Luther Deaton.

“We left common sense long behind,” the auctioneer said when bidding reached $900,000, Atlas Obscura reports.

Blake Penn, general manager of Penn’s Hams, said he’s still reeling from the shock of the sale. “I think it figures out to $15,000 a slice, when you actually do the math,” he told Atlas Obscura.

The family farm usually sells their country hams, which are salted, cured, and smoked over the course of four to six months, for around $50 a pop.

Now, before you call the whole thing “hogwash,” proceeds from the auction support non-profit organizations and charities of the winning bidder’s choice. According to a press release from the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the money from the sale of this year’s ham will go to Transylvania University, the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Northern Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Athletics Program, and UK HealthCare.

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As far as Deaton is concerned, $1 million is quite a steal. He took home the champion ham last year as well. He secured it for an eye-popping $2.8 million after combining his $1.4 million bid with an equal amount from a competing bidder.

The Grand Champion Country Ham auction is a Kentucky Farm Bureau state fair tradition dating back to 1964.

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