Holiday Hams Gone Wild

Christmas, Cooking How-To, Dinner, Featured Article, Holidays, How-To, Recipes
on November 21, 2011
Photo by Veer

One more holiday season, one more insipidly flavored ham, right? We can practically smell the cloves from here. Put 'em down, and don't even glance in the general direction of that can of pineapple rings that's been sitting in your pantry since you bought extras last Christmas.

Here are a few new glazes to try that will drive your ham wild with flavor for the big feast—we've done the legwork, and trust us, there's something for everyone.

Cooking times will vary according to weight and type of ham—to be safe, cook until the internal temperature registers 160F on a meat thermometer.

  • Mix 1 1/2 cups apricot or cherry jam with 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, a tablespoon or two of soy sauce, a dash or two of sesame oil, fresh minced ginger and sake to thin. Heat in a pan over low heat or in a microwave for a couple of minutes. Brush half on before baking and use the remainder for basting.
  • Mix blueberry jam or preserves with a little balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, the juice of an orange, kosher salt, pepper and garlic. Heat and use for glazing and basting. To use as as a sauce for serving, add cranberry sauce to the mix and cook until thickened.
  • Score a bone-in ham and insert spikes of fresh rosemary or thyme and sliced garlic cloves intermittantly in the slits. Mix together coarse brown mustard, a little white wine, some brown sugar, the juice of a lemon, kosher salt and pepper.  Slather all over the ham and scatter additional rosemary or thyme and garlic in the roasting pan before covering and baking.
  • Substitute flavored honey or maple syrup for the brown sugar in a traditional mustard glaze.
  • For a last-minute, uber-simple basting sauce, mix 1 jar of plum preserves and 1 jar of sweet chili sauce.
  • Marinate a bone-in ham in a bath of Guinness stout, your favorite mustard, ginger, cardamom, cloves and brown sugar before and during baking.
  • Use your favorite libation as the basis for a tangy ham baste—bourbon works beautifully with molasses, rum and pineapple are a cozy match, and vermouth is divine with honey. Up the flavor ante even more by adding a new nut oil to the mix, like pecan, walnut or pistachio.
  • Mix together pineapple preserves, apple jelly, white wine or sherry to thin, horseradish to taste, salt, and pepper. Spoon over a scored ham and cook in a crock pot until done.