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Course: main course
Total time: a day or more
Skill level: Moderate
Cost: Splurge
Yield: Makes 12 to 16 servings-fewer if people have been smelling
the thing for a while
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OK, let’s say you really want the taste of barbecue but you don’t have the patience to smoke a ham. Fake it. That is, roast the ham in the oven using smoky spices and flavorings that’ll make people swear you were at the pit all day.


  • One 8- to 10-pound bone-in fresh ham, preferably from the shank end, any rind removed.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mild smoked paprika (see Notes)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, those slices then separated into thin rings
  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree (do not use paste or sauce)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses, preferably unsulphured (see Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (see Notes), stemmed
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced


1. Rub the ham all over with the Worcestershire sauce and smoked paprika. Set the thing in a large roasting pan, cover with foil, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how deeply you want the smoky taste of that paprika to permeate the meat.

2. Uncover the ham and set it out on the counter for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Sprinkle the sliced onions on top of the ham and around it in the roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil and shove the whole thing in the oven. Leave it to bake for 3½ hours if it’s an 8-pounder. 4 hours if it’s a 10-pound monster.

4. Sometime before the stated roasting time is up, give the tomato puree, cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, cumin, allspice, cloves, salt, celery seeds, canned chipotle, and garlic clove a whir in a large blender or a food processor fitted with the chopping blade until smooth, scraping down the sides of the canister once or twice to make sure everything is evenly pureed.

5. Take the roasting pan out of the oven. Transfer the ham to a cutting board, using two silicon roasting mitts or two large metal spatulas, plus lots of shoulder strength.

6. Scoop all the onions from the pan, put them on a second cutting board, and chop them into little bits.

7. Drain off the juice and fat in the pan, but into a disposable container, not down the drain, unless your spouse is a plumber.

8. Return the ham to the pan; sprinkle the chopped onions in the bottom of the pan.

9. Pour the pureed barbecue sauce over the ham, letting some of it drip down into the pan. Knock the oven temperature down to 325°F and continue roasting (uncovered this time) until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone registers 170°F, about 1½ hours. While .the ham roasts, baste it with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so. When done, let the ham stand at room temperature on a carving board for 15 minutes before slicing it.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving

This recipe serves 16 and used an 8 pound bone-in ham.

597kcal (30%)
33mg (3%)
9mg (14%)
36mcg RAE (1%)
166mg (55%)
217mg (9%)
15g (74%)
43g (66%)
3mg (19%)