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Double G in the Media

Article from Modern Deli - Volume 6 Issue 2 - Click here for PDF
St. Louis Business Journal - October 8, 2007
Business News - Local News
  Friday, October 5, 2007
Smoking out sales

St. Louis Business Journal - by Rick Desloge

Double-G Brands Inc. makes its hams the old-fashioned way -- a 72-hour process of trimming off fat, prepping the meat, then curing it for 10 to 12 hours in a smoke room before packaging. That steady method was producing steady, but flat, sales growth, said the sibling owners, Glenda Hoerstkamp, 56, and Greig Gatzert, 51      BRIAN CASSIDY
Glenda Hoerstkamp and Greig Gatzert produce 5 million pounds of ham each year, much of it during the fall and winter holiday season.

The two are out to change that. Within the last two years, the company added new products, including deli meats and ham steaks, and began expanding distribution into Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota and parts of Illinois. Double-G, which has been trying for years to break into the Chicago market, is near a deal with a distributor for the Windy City that would bring
Double-G products to Michigan and Wisconsin, said Gatzert, vice president of the business.

"We should be able to double sales in the next five years," said Hoerstkamp, company president.

That would take the 22-person business from just over $5 million in annual sales for its fiscal year ended June 30 to $10 million. Hoerstkamp said the goal is within reach based on sales increases Double-G has seen for its premium hams since adding new products and expanding distribution in 2006.


  Inspired Food Culture / Saint Louis
Naturally, you have preconceived notions of what to expect when you see the words, "country store." But the newly expanded Eckert's Country Store will do away with visions of rocking chairs and penny candy.

The grand reopening on July 5, 2010, marked the apple purveyor's 100th anniversary, and doubled the deli and meat departments. The cavernous, airy space also holds bakery and produce departments, plenty of dry goods and an attached classroom space for hands-on and demonstration classes

Angie Eckert, director of retail operations, told us she chooses stock with an eye to keeping it local, but also brings in high-quality and unusual items that she and her food-happy staff are excited about. Thus, their shelves include local wines, gooey-butter-cake mixes and barbecue sauces, but also European wines, panko crumbs and peach salsa. Produce-wise, they of course offer whatever's in season in their orchards, but you'll also find local items as things come into season.

Beginning in late April they'll have local rhubarb; shortly after that, local white asparagus will come in. Wine and white asparagus ... still have the same mental picture of "country store"?
Here are seven goodies I discovered at Eckert's:

Ropp Green Onion Cheddar

Eckert declared this one of her favorites from a line of local, flavored cheddars produced in Normal, Ill. The cheese itself is robust and mellow with just a touch of sharpness, and the green onions add piquancy and interest. We ate it straight out of the package and scrambled it with eggs and found the eggs overrode the delicate onion flavor. Next time, we'll try it in grilled cheese (Eckert's suggestion) or with crackers.

 Double G Hickory Smoked Slow Cured Missouri Ham

This company's motto is, "Ham that tastes like ham used to taste." Eckert's carries biscuit slices (in the dairy case, near the eggs), which one of my tasters declared to be exactly like the Canadian bacon her mother used to buy - in the 1960s. In short, I urge you to seek out this company's pork products.
All of them.

Uncle Joe's All Purpose Sauce, Sweet Smoke Flavor

No corn syrup, no MSG, developed by (who else?) Uncle Joe of Ina, Ill. To be honest, we tasted this on a hunk of bread; but based on that experience, we can't wait to barbecue with it. With just the right amount of tang on top of the sweet smokiness, it could easily become a favorite. Eckert's also carries its original and hot flavors.

Eckert's Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

This is probably the most loved of the several dressings from the restaurant next door that's on offer in the store. Developed by Grandma Eckert and produced to the family's specifications, the apply-crisp, sweet tartness is great on a simple spring salad. Or, you can follow the recipe on the bottle to make the restaurant's famed house salad. We'll be doing that, and making cole slaw with it.

Herb Seedlings from Kaiser Hill Farm

High-quality, ready-to-plant herb seedlings from Missouri's Kaiser Hill Farm are available in the Garden Center next to the store. They'll come in as their planting window approaches, so the selection will vary depending on when you visit.

Grandma's Nuts Snack Mix

Once upon a time there was a grandma who was so worried about her newly vegetarian grandson becoming protein deficient that she whipped up a mix of nuts and seeds. And that, my children, is how a tasty, crunchy, just-sweet-enough (and healthy) treat came to be. Eat it straight from the bag, toss some in a salad, or stir into yogurt. Whatever you do with it, you're sure to enjoy Grandma's Nuts.

Ann & Allen Gooey Butter Cake Mix, Double Chocolate Flavor

The nice folks at Park Avenue Coffee sidled into the baking business by making their mom's gooey butter cake for the coffee shop. Soon, they had concocted 70 flavors of the treat and then developed mixes for a few favorite flavors. We tried the double-chocolate gooey-butter cake mix. Three little packets plus butter, eggs, vanilla and cream cheese yield a gooey butter cake that does not taste remotely like a mix. The two layers are prepared separately, making this a bit more complicated than your standard box mix, but the tiny bit of extra effort is well worth the result - a classic St. Louis treat that tastes like it was made from scratch.

Eckert's Country Store, 951 S. Green Mount Road, Belleville, Ill., 618.233.0513,, 8am to 8pm daily


Posted On: 05/27/2005
Country vs. City: Family ham-curing businesses keep traditional methods alive
 by Laura Wagner -

...In Pacific, Mo., Glenda Hoerstkamp and her brother Greig Gatzert run Double G Brands, curing hams in the German tradition their father Glenn taught them. Here hams are trimmed and seasoned with a wet cure, then left for about 24 hours before being slow smoked. The result is a juicy ham with a flavor enhanced by the seasoning of the hardwoods used in the smoker.......





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