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Spiral Hams


Bill Miller
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Just a heads up to all--I have ordered one to two whole spiral sliced peppered city hams from Bergers Smokehouse in Missouri for the last four holiday seasons. They are consistantly fabulous and reasonably priced. $78 delivered for a 12 lb ham. Take a look at http://www.smokehouse.com --you'll love it.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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Let me tell you about something I discovered about 20 years ago. If you buy one of the cheap "loss-leader" hams in any supermarket, you can improve it exponentially by this method.

You will prepare the ham a day (or more) before you are going to serve it.

Buy a jug of the cheapest real maple syrup you can find (I use the stuff sold at Costco or Sam's Club). Use a deep, narrow pot, just big enough for the ham, without a lot of space around it.

Start early in the morning of the prep day.

With an ice pick or a long-tined chef's fork stab the ham all over, all the way down to the bone. (this will work with a boneless ham but I have found the bone in, butt half is better).

The holes should be no more than an inch apart. Think of something frustrating and take it out on the ham.

Remove the tough skin and score the fat down to the meat.

Now rub the ham all over with dry mustard, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour. If you want to stab a few whole cloves into the ham, go for it.

At the end of the hour of chilling, remove the plastic wrap, wipe off some of the mustard powder and put the ham cut side (the big end) down in the pot and pour in the maple syrup. It should come up at least 1/2 to 2/3 depth on the ham, more is better.

Place the pot in the oven and turn the temp to 300 degrees F. and set your timer for 30 minutes.

When the timer sounds, reduce the oven heat to 250 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes.

When the timer sounds, turn the ham over, put it back in the oven and set your timer for an hour.

Turn it over again, set your timer for one hour.

Turn it over again, set your timer for an hour.

If you have a 12-pound or less ham, it is now done. lift it out of the syrup and let it drain -DON'T DISCARD THE SYRUP!

(If the ham is larger, add 30 minutes for each 2 pounds of ham. If it is a boneless ham you also need to cook it longer because without the bone to conduct the heat into the center it just takes longer for the heat to penetrate.

Continue to turn it over every hour.)

As soon as the ham has cooled down, wrap it tightly in foil then slip into a jumbo plastic bag and refrigerate.

Strain the syrup through a muslin jelly bag or a coffee filter. Reserve one cup and pour the remainder into a freezer container and freeze it. you can use it two more times.

The day you are going to serve the ham, take it out of the plastic bag and place it, still wrapped in foil, on a sheet pan and heat in the oven until warmed through - you can punch right through the foil with an instant read thermometer - you only need to get it to 110 degrees for serving.

Meanwhile, reduce the cup of syrup by 1/2 over low heat, cooking it with a couple of cloves or whole allspice in the syrup. A bit of grated orange or lemon peel is also nice.

Slice the ham, arrange the slices on a platter, pour the syrup/glaze down the center of the row of slices, or along one side and serve.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
I'd ordered a 1/2 city ham (spiral) from Berger's about 2 years ago for Thanksgiving.  I found that the meat was a bit dry upon heating it up.

How does this Missouri ham differ from Honey Baked Ham?

I've had Smithfield and other southern hams but, although I soaked them longer than suggested, just did not lose the salt. The first time I made the Smithfield en croute but it was still too salty for us.

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I'd ordered a 1/2 city ham (spiral) from Berger's about 2 years ago for Thanksgiving.  I found that the meat was a bit dry upon heating it up.

How does this Missouri ham differ from Honey Baked Ham?

I've had Smithfield and other southern hams but, although I soaked them longer than suggested, just did not lose the salt. The first time I made the Smithfield en croute but it was still too salty for us.

I'm not sure how it differs. But the one I ordered was specifically referred to as a city ham. When I reheated it with the glaze, it was somewhat dry and not juicy. I served it for Thanksgiving a few years ago and my mom and sister remarked that it was somewhat dry.

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The real question, now that the holidays are about over, is what to do with al this leftover ham?

You can freeze it it in slabs to eat later.

You can make ham and white bean soup! :biggrin:

Home-made mac and cheese w/ham

Ham and eggs (had it today for breakfast!)

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Let me tell you about something I discovered about 20 years ago.  If you buy one of the cheap "loss-leader" hams in any supermarket, you can improve it exponentially by this method.

I often wonder, when I hear about expensive mail-order hams, where the smokehouses are getting their raw hams from. I bet in a lot of cases they're using the same hams as the supermarket brands. I've found that a well-prepared supermarket ham -- not the absolute rock-bottom ham but the next one up -- at a couple of dollars a pound is often as enjoyable as a mail-order ham at six or seven dollars a pound.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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