Holidays, Hammercy

I've read people don't want the cutesy backstories with the recipes. So I'll get right down to it, after one important note: If I'm ever born of a virgin or resurrected after three days of fighting the devil for the souls of mankind, please don't celebrate in my honor with one of those dry, 98-cents-a-pound, precooked, spiral-cut Honeybakes. Get a real ham. I guess you can keep the Peeps.

Let's get to it:

Our hams arrive to your freezer cured and smoked, but not cooked. This means they have been brined with salt and seasonings, smoked for that beautiful brown color and flavor. Each 10-12-?? pound leg is split into butt end and shank end. The shank end is lower and closer to the hoof, the butt end is higher and closer to the, well, you know. There are great debates RE: these things, but most scientists agree that the shank is more popular as a roast for it's shape and presentation, but the butt end has more meat and might be easier to store. These instructions apply to both kinds of ham roasts.

Here's how to prepare a Six Buckets Farm ham from one of our shares. Families all over Ohio have used this method to save Christmas:

 
 Hello, you. Ham thawed for 2-3 days in the fridge, de-vacsealed, and ready for your rub.

Hello, you. Ham thawed for 2-3 days in the fridge, de-vacsealed, and ready for your rub.

 

The first thing we do is score the fat on the outside of the roast. Take a sharp knife and make a diamond pattern in the fat. I make the lines exactly 1.5 inches, or 3.8 cm apart. Any more or less ruins the ham. (This is a lie. Just score wherever.) What you're doing is ensuring that the flavors penetrate the meat, but more importantly, you're assuring the fat diamonds get nice and crispy on the cook so you can fight over them. Is your oven on? It's supposed to be on 350 degrees. Go set it now.

Next, you're going to rub with salt, pepper and sage. Not too much salt, because remember, this thing has already taken a salt bath during the curing process. Just a touch. Measurements are never precise. Do what feels right in your soul.

If you really wanna go Fully Festive, you can stud your ham with some cloves. Shove a clove into each intersection. The romance of this task will die about halfway around the ham, but it'll make a nice picture for Instagram, and it will show your guests your dedication to Ham Perfection.

Next you're going to buy a proper thermometer. You've worked very hard to afford a good roast for your family. Don't crap out at the finish line. Please buy one of the kind that you stick in and leave in. Something like this.  It'll be the best $15 you ever spent. Now is not the time for unnecessary poking and prodding, guessing and burning yourself on oven racks during the cooking process. Pop the probed roast in the oven and don't fiddle until it's internal temp reads 130. How long this will take depends on the size of your roast. They say 10 minutes per pound. That sounds about right. I would plan for 15 or 20, because you're not going to lose anything by letting it rest longer, but you don't want everybody waiting on dinner.

 
 Probed, studded and ready for the oven. Don't probe the bone!

Probed, studded and ready for the oven. Don't probe the bone!

 

At 130 degrees you're gonna pull the roast and glaze!

For glaze, the sky is the limit. You can use the traditional mustard/honey, (a tablespoon or two of spicy mustard, 1/2 cup of honey) or brown sugar/bourbon (3/4 c brown sugar, a 1/4 c bourbon) I've seen some fruity things (blueberry/chipotle). I've seen some soda things (rootbeer/brown sugar). I've seen glazes with maple syrup, molasses, orange juice, marmalade. They are all on my list to try.

Brush the glaze all over the ham and pop it back in the oven until the internal temp reaches 140-145. It won't take long, probably about 20 minutes. If you want to split the glaze and hit it twice at 10 minute intervals, feel free.

Then you're gonna pull the whole thing, cover it with foil and let it rest, sucking all those juices back into the meat. The temp should keep rising to about 150. I'd let it rest a good half hour before carving. If you can let it rest longer, say, in an insulated Styrofoam cooler, you'll end up with a juicier product. (We found this out driving cooked hams to Grandma's house.)

Carving the ham is a matter of preference. If you want to do it proper, follow the lead of this lady for the shank roast. Don't be afraid to go rogue. It's going to eat good no matter how you slice it up.

Ham on, my friends!

In Review:

  • 350 oven

  • score, rub with salt, pepper, sage

  • stud with whole cloves (optional)

  • bake until 130

  • pull to glaze

  • return to 140-145

  • pull, rest for at least half an hour

  • Carve, win life.