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Root Beer-Glazed Ham

Updated February 23, 2016
(1 Votes)

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This is without a doubt the most-asked-for recipe in the 17-year history of my radio show. Demand for it rises during the holidays but never goes away completely. The root beer-glazed ham is a fixture on my table on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. It’s in the oven all morning (good thing my turkey is usually out on the grill!), and it makes the whole house smell good. You’ll find that lots of your guests will fight over the black crusty parts of the ham (and all the rest of it, too).

If you live in New Orleans, I strongly urge you to buy the superb locally produced Chisesi ham for this. It’s widely available at supermarkets, usually in the deli department. Otherwise, a top-quality, lean, naturally smoked boneless ham is what you want.

I usually make the glaze the night before so I can get the ham right into the oven in the morning. You’ll also want to use a disposable pan to bake the ham. The drippings get so crusty that they are very hard to dislodge.

Serves25 to 30

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Moodfestive

Taste and Texturefruity, meaty, savory, smoky, spiced, sweet

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. (2 cans) Barq’s root beer
  • 4½ tsp. pepper jelly
  • 4½ tsp. Tabasco Caribbean Style Steak Sauce or Pickapeppa
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Peel and juice of ½ orange
  • Peel of ½ lemon
  • One 10-14-lb. cured, smoked ham
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard

Instructions

Combine all of the glaze ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Strain the pan contents and discard the solids. Reduce the liquid to about ½ cup. Refrigerate if you do this in advance.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the ham on a rack in a disposable aluminum pan. Cut shallow gashes in a crisscross pattern across the top half of the ham. Spoon just enough of the glaze over the ham to completely wet the surface. Combine the brown sugar and mustard together and pat it all over the ham. Pour ½ cup of water into the pan.

Bake the ham, spooning some of the remaining glaze over it every 15 minutes until the glaze is all used up. Try to get some glaze on all parts of the ham. Add more water to the pan when it dries up. Continue baking for a total of 3½-4 hours, or until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

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