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Restaurants & Bars

Try This: Chef Tam’s Two Sweet and Savory Hams for Easter

The Fort Worth native sells the hams at her to-go Arlington restaurant, Chef Tam's Express.
Chef Tam Patterson. Courtesy of chef Tamra Patterson

During holiday meals, chef Tamra Patterson says the best spoonful of food has a little bit of savory and sweetness in it.

“It’s like when your candied yam juice touches the macaroni and cheese,” she says. “It’s the perfect bite.”

Patterson is a Fort Worth native and the chef-owner of Chef Tam’s Express in Arlington, a restaurant that sells Cajun soul food to go. She has appeared on OWN’s “Great American Cookout,” thrice on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and once on the network’s “Chopped.”

Chef Tam’s Express is an offshoot of her main restaurant in Memphis, Chef Tam’s Underground Café.

During the pandemic, Patterson said Underground Café was forced to close and serve to-go orders only. Because of this, Patterson says she mastered the model and managed to operate to-go only in Memphis for two years. She decided to open a location in Arlington under the same to-go model after her North Texas followers asked for a place nearby.

“I reached out to a couple of friends and asked them if they knew of someplace I could go and do a pop-up,” Patterson says. “I went and did a pop-up and people stood in line for three or four hours.”

An empty space opened up in a strip mall along Randol Mill Road. She sells Cajun-southern fusion dishes like New Orleans catfish, fried green tomatoes, crawfish mac and cheese, and banana pudding. One day when Patterson and her husband were experimenting in the kitchen, he suggested putting leftover peach cobbler on a baked ham.

“I kept playing with it and kept playing with it and then the next year. I offered it through Chef Tam’s as an Easter offering,” she says. “And I think we might have sold 50 hams in one day.”

She also experimented with ham and pineapple upside-down cake, and came up with a sweet, brown sugar-coated ham baked in pineapple juices. It’s been a Chef Tam staple for years, she says.

Now, you can make your own dessert hams for this year’s Easter brunch, lunch, or dinner. Scoop it up with a heap of mac and cheese while you dig in.

By the way, if you don’t want to make these, you can certainly order them through Chef Tam’s Express. Call the restaurant at 817-583-6983 to place your order. Ham pick-up will be Saturday, March 8, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Chef Tam’s Express. 1730 W. Randol Mill Rd. Ste. 142, Arlington.

Peach Cobbler Ham


12 to 15-pound spiral sliced ham
4 cups sliced peaches
3 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 jar peach preserves
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 stick salted butter
1 tbsp molasses


  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and add in peach preserves and two cups of brown sugar. Stir on medium heat until combined.
  2. Add in pumpkin pie spice and stir constantly for 20 minutes.
  3. Add three cups of sliced peaches and reduce heat to low. Stir for about 10 minutes and add vanilla. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. In between slices of ham, sprinkle the remaining cup of sugar and add one to two uncooked peach slices. When done, place the ham in the Dutch oven and baste the ham with the cobbler filling.
  5. Cook on low for 25 minutes. Cover and transfer to oven to bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Pineapple Upside Down Ham


12 to 15-pound spiral sliced ham
3 cups crushed pineapple
3 cups brown sugar
1 jar pineapple ice cream topping
1 stick salted butter
1 jar maraschino cherries


  1. In a saucepot, melt the butter and add two cups of brown sugar over medium heat until combined.
  2. Place ham in a roaster and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Pour the brown sugar and butter mixture on top of the ham and in between the slices. Sprinkle the remaining cup of brown sugar on top.
  4. Add crushed pineapple to the base of the roaster and spread the pineapple topping on top of the ham.
  5. Bake covered for 30 minutes, basting the ham with pineapple topping every 10 minutes. Remove ham from the oven and carefully place cherries across the top and sides of the ham with toothpicks.
  6. Remove cover and return ham to oven and broil for 7 to 10 minutes.


Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…

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