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 or bone in ham is what you want. One more thing: The drippings get so crusty in the pan that you’ll want to use a disposable pan to bake the ham. The stuff is very hard to dislodge.
24 oz. (two cans) GOOD root beer
1 1/2 Tbs. pepper jelly
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbs. Tabasco Caribbean style steak sauce (or Pickapeppa)
1 stick cinnamon
Peel and juice of one-half an orange
Peel of half a lemon
1 cured, smoked ham, about 8-10 pounds (spiral cut works well with this.)
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1. I usually make the glaze the night before, so I can get the ham right into the oven in the morning. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer, and cook for about a half-hour. Strain the pan contents and discard the solids. Reduce the liquid to about a half-cup. Refrigerate if you do this in advance.
2. Place the ham on a rack in a disposable aluminum pan, (for a bone in butt or shank portion place the ham on the flat ((cut)) side.) Cut shallow gashes in a crisscross pattern across the top half. Spoon the glaze over the ham to completely wet the surface.
3. Combine the brown sugar and the dry mustard and pat it all over the ham. Pour a half-cup of water into the pan. Put the ham in the oven at 350 degrees.
4. Spoon some of the glaze over the top of the ham at 15-minute intervals until it’s all used up. Try to get some glaze on all parts of the ham. Add more water to the pan when it dries up.
5. Continue baking until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a half-hour, forty minutes covered before carving.
Serves about twenty.