3 Nana's Baked Ham

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Today I volunteered to make our family's famous baked ham for the volunteers at a building/remodeling project at our place of worship.  I've done this ham a million times.  I've even done 20 in one day, and baked it in hot coals in the sand at a beach camp-out for a large group!  Trust me when I say, people love this ham.

Yesterday evening they gave me the ham to bake, and it was HUGE!  19 pounds on the bone, the biggest I've ever done.  I normally do a half ham and cook it all day, so I was cutting it really close with a start time of 9am, and a deliver-by time of 4pm.  The recipe below is for a half-ham on the bone, so double it for anything bigger than that.

half-ham hock, on the bone (low sodium and not sliced in any way - it dries it out!)
brown sugar (at least one box)
1 jar maraschino cherries (with juice)
2 cans pineapple chunks (with juice)
lots of ground cloves

Pre-heat your oven to 375.

Sprinkle a thick layer of the brown sugar on the bottom of your baking pot.  I had to use a huge roasting pan this time, but I normally use a regular large stainless high-walled pot or very deep baking dish where it can sit in the baking syrup against the sides of the walls of the pot.

Trim the ham so that there is only a thin layer of fat covering it (make sure you leave some fat on there!)  With this ham you can see the thick layer of fat, including the smoked brown portion you see - that is also fat.  Trim it off.

Trimmed...3 pounds worth.  Do leave a little fat on, but not a lot.  (Yeah, it looks a little Silence of the Lambs, but I'm telling you, this thing was so unweildy I had to wait until the last moment to move it to the roasting pan.)

Next, sprinkle your cloves - liberally - all over the ham.  Don't be shy.

Place the ham flattest-side down in your pot or roasting pan and sprinkle the top with cloves.

Pour all the juice from the pineapples and cherries over the sugar.  Drop in half the cherries and chunks of pineapple.

Stir around the juices in the brown sugar until it becomes syrupy and spoon all over the ham.  Cover with foil and place in hot oven and cook for an hour.  Pull it out and baste it really well, reduce the heat to 325 and then continue basting every 30-45 minutes (and I mean do this religiously!)

The picture below is after cooking for about 4 hours - it gets deliciously brown and caramelized.  Cook at least 5-6 hours, but even longer if you want it falling off the bone.  Remove the foil during the last 45 minutes of baking, but please do remember to keep basting it during the entire cooking time.

It is mouth-wateringly delicious, and even better cold the next few days on sandwiches.  It's the best, BEST ham hands-down you will ever have.

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Unknown said...

Try frozen pineapple juice... gives it a better flavor.

Elizabeth said...

This was my favorite growing up and I still crave it all the time. Sandwiches the next day are the best.

But, what do you mean you made 20 of these in one day? Did I read that right?

Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

Yes, once when we were camping on the beach in California with about a hundred people, they had me make 20 small hams in a big pit in the ground with coals.

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