We keep our ham pretty simple and traditional at Easter.
I always like to learn about traditions and did some reading on how “ham” came to be what’s featured on many an Easter table every year.
Apparently back in the good ol’ days when everyone didn’t have an electrically-charged refrigerator in their kitchen, pork was cured throughout the long winter months and the first hams were ready…
Right around Easter!
I confess to you, we don’t eat a lot of pork in general at our household, except that magical food that unites us all in the culinary world – bacon.
If I were to purchase an entire whole ham, we would be partitioning it out into bags for the freezer the next week, so, I don’t usually get anything larger than a 10-pound ham, and I get the hickory-smoked version with the bone still in it.
The spiral sliced hams are wonderful,but arguably let the ham dry out somewhat, as they have all this slices cut through them to the bone and man o man are they pricey as well! You can still make a great ham using this method without buying one though! here we go!
I also HAVE to do the traditional “cut the diamond shapes and stick a clove in the center of each one” thing. It just makes it so pretty when you’re done.
I took my ham and using a large knife, cut through the layer of skin and fat on top about ¼ inch spaced one inch a apart.
Next, I turned my knife around and angled it in a diamond with the other cuts. This is kind of fun to do when you get going.
Next, I stuck one clove in the center of each exposed diamond. Sometimes the cloves are brittle and break so you can use a skewer or even the tip of a point knife to make a guide hole for the clove.
I pour one can of pineapple juice over top of the ham to keep it moist while baking.
I get the 6-pack of 6 ounce cans and keep them handy for marinades so I just used one of these (you’ll need another two for the glaze).
Loosely tent foil over the top to seal it shut on your pan and put this in the oven on 350º for 2 hours, but depending on the size of your ham, follow the package directions.
I took mine out every half hour for the first hour and ½ and used a spoon to pour the juices from the bottom of the pan over the entire ham, then covered it and stuck it back in to roast some more.
While it’s baking, you can get the glaze made.
Dump two more cans of pineapple juice in a medium saucepan and add 8 ounces of brown sugar (or 1 cup or ½ of a 16-ounce package) and 2/3 cup of coarse ground mustard. That’s it. You don’t need to do anything fancy, unless, you want to be naughty and add a splash or two of bourbon. That would be really good.
Take a whisk and mix this all up and then set it on the stove on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Then turn it down a bit so that it simmers and reduces by half and gets thicker. This should take about 20 minutes and if you remove it from the heat, it will thicken up even more.
After one and one-half hours, your ham will look like the pale fleshy-pink and non-exciting thing that it is…but don’t worry.
Adding glaze to a ham creates a magical glossy wonder that fixes it up…and quick!
Take a brush and generously brush the sticky syrupy glaze all over every side of the ham.
Make sure you even get the cut side with the bone if you’re using a half ham like me.
Pop it back into the oven for 15 minutes and then take it out and glaze it again.
You’ll want to do this every 15 minutes for another hour, or four more basting times.
Then take it out and use an electric knife or very sharp knife to cut the ham thinly down to the bone and all around the ham.
I think it’s rather beautiful don’t you?
I mean, who needs a centerpiece when you have this?
- 1 ham, hickory smoked 8-10 pounds)
- 30-40 whole cloves
- 3 (6 oz.) cans pineapple juice (or 2¼ c.), divided
- ⅔ c. Whole grain mustard
- 1 c. Brown sugar
- Optional ½ c. Bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Cut diamond shapes in ham by using a large sharp knife to score down about ¼ inch all the way across the ham where it will be exposed. Angle the knife and go back across the ham to make diamond shapes.
- Poke a clove in center of each diamond. Use the tip of a skewer or pointy knife to make a hole to stick the clove in if necessary.
- Pour one six ounce can (or ¾ cups of pineapple juice over top of ham laid in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Tent the dish with foil and bake ham for 2 hours making sure to baste it with juices from the pan every half hour.
- mix remaining two cans of pineapple juice (or 1½ cups) together with brown sugar and mustard (and bourbon, if using) in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- When sauce boils, turn it down and simmer it until it reduces by half. Around 15-20 minutes.
- After ham cooks for two hours, remove and brush with glaze all over all sides then return to oven for fifteen minutes
- Repeat this three times for and hour or four glaze times.
- Let ham I rest 15 minutes before carving
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