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Why did a single ham cost $2 million? It’s all about the ‘butt face’

A 15-pound ham was auctioned for $2 million at the Kentucky State Fair. Pictured is a chipotle-and-orange-glazed ham that goes for much less.
A 15-pound ham was auctioned for $2 million at the Kentucky State Fair. Pictured is a chipotle-and-orange-glazed ham that goes for much less.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Chances are you’re not expecting to spend seven figures at a county fair. What’s the most that cotton candy and a hot dog can cost? $20?

This year at the Kentucky State Fair, $2 million was spent on a single hunk of cured meat.

To put things in perspective (as if we really need to), for $2 million, you can buy 4,000 iPhone 6 pluses, this handwritten manuscript for Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” 1,438,848 Doritos Locos Tacos or 1,058,201 tacos if you spring for the supreme version. You get the idea.

So why the high price tag? According to Modern Farmer magazine, dropping millions at an auction for a ham happens yearly at the Kentucky State Fair. It’s a tradition that started 50 years ago. Contestants enter hams into a contest every August. The ham that takes the blue ribbon is then auctioned at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast & Auction for charity.

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This year’s winning ham had a tight and trimmed “butt face,” according to Beth and Ronny Drennan from Broadbent B&B Foods in Cadiz, Ky., who entered the ham in the contest. They are referring to the area of the ham where the hind leg is severed from the body of the pig.

The 15-pound ham broke the auction record when it sold for $2 million from three combined bidders. That’s $125,865 per pound. If you shop for the ham on the company website, it’s about $61.

In ham photos, is there a good butt face angle? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_

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