Julie Horowitz of Ducks Eatery

Don't expect instant gratification from this viral food trend.

Alison Spiegel
September 12, 2018

If you haven't yet heard of the smoked watermelon "ham" from Duck's Eatery in NYC's East Village, you're clearly not up on your viral food trends. The previously off-menu watermelon made waves this August when Instagram started going, er, ham of the thing. And now, according to Gothamist, the $75 viral hit (yep, that's $75 for a whole watermelon) has a 30-day waitlist. 

Duck's Eatery, which opened in September 2012, has always been known for having an experimental kitchen (an early menu included blowfish-tail and shrimp ceviche presented in a canning jar, out of which smoke would pour once opened), and its weekly brisket night has kept diners coming in for years.

But chef and owner William Horowitz has been playing around with meat alternatives for a while in an effort to offer more choices to vegans and vegetarians. Indeed, watermelon isn't the first melon he's smoked. Horowitz also makes cantaloupe burgers—slow-baked and dehydrated after they're smoked—which have also caused quite a stir on the internet. You also won't have to wait 30 days to try them.

Why so long for the watermelon ham? For one, it takes four to six days to make. First, it's brined in a salty solution with coriander, oregano and wood ash, which gives the end result a tough exterior. Then, it's dried and smoked for half a day. Finally, it's scored—like a ham—seared in a pan, and basted in its own juices for a smoky and juicy creation that feeds three to five people. 

People are champing at the bit to find out what the thing actually tastes like (we've been told, not like meat, but not like fresh watermelon either. Salty, smokey, tender and juicy. So... sort of what you might expect?), and, like any good viral food demands, they're also lining up to get their 'gram

According to Ducks' website, "To preorder our Whole Smoked Watermelon "Ham," please email info@duckseatery.com a minimum of 1 week in advance."