I haven't always been the biggest ham fan. I've always liked thinly sliced deli ham on sandwiches, but I couldn't get behind baked ham for the holidays.
That all changed when we went on our road trip down South last spring and tried country ham. Most of the time, when you see a ham in the grocery store it is a "city ham" that has already been cooked. Country ham is dry-cured but not cooked so it needs to be fully cooked, not just warmed up, before serving. Country ham is usually much saltier as well but it tastes amazing!
I found a small, bone-in, cured, uncooked ham at a local butcher and decided to try it. My ham was only about 3 pounds.
The ham needs to cook in a low, slow oven, covered, with some liquid. After seeing some recipes for Coca-Cola ham, I decided my favourite bourbon mixer, Dr. Pepper, would be even better.
I placed the ham on a rack in a roasting pan and poured a can of Dr. Pepper and an equivalent amount of water into the bottom. I covered it all tightly with foil and placed it in a 250 F degree oven.
I cooked it for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until the internal temperature reached 125 degrees. I removed it from the oven and increased the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
I removed the netting from the ham and scored the fat. I scored it too deeply so it looks weird. It should really just be lightly scored to let the glaze penetrate.
To make the glaze, pour a can of Dr. Pepper (about 1.5 cups) in a small saucepan and mix in 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Brush the glaze over the ham and return it to the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, brushing with remaining glaze every 5 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the ham from the oven and glaze one more time. See how pretty?
I was a little worried about slicing the ham. Many hams come pre-sliced so I assumed it was a hassle to slice it myself, especially with the bone in there. But it was no trouble at all!
I used my electric knife to slice it thinly and evenly.
I just avoided the bone, which I used for soup later on.
I served slices of ham with little hasselback potatoes and steamed yellow beans.
Ham takes some time, but not too much effort and I'm now on board with ham as a great way to feed a crowd at Easter or any time!