This year was the first year I made a ham! And by made a ham, I mean, I bought one (spiral-cut), made a glaze, and baked it. It was easy as pie – even easier to be honest because pie isn’t all that easy. Honey glazed ham for the win! I was a little nervous about the whole thing because a.) I’ve never made a ham before and b.) Historically, I’m not actually the biggest fan of ham.
Growing up, ham was never really a thing. We celebrated by either having Chinese banquet feasts, or, during the holidays, our big roast would always, always be a turkey. So I don’t know much about ham culture or the deep deep love people have for ham.
But, Mike’s a huge fan of ham and one Easter, long ago, we actually made a tiny one together (you know, the mini boneless kind). I pushed cloves in and had little pineapple rings and everything. Mike really dug it, but I still wasn’t that into it. But this year was the year that I decided that ham was going to be a thing. Mike and I were talking about Christmas dishes and I asked him what he thought was Christmas food and he immediately said “ham!” I’m not one to not indulge in holiday food wishes, so I set out to make a ham.
If, like me, you’ve never made ham before you might have some ham questions. I for one, did not know that most of the hams that people make come fully cooked. For some reason I thought ham was the generic term for a giant pork leg roast. I really am a ham newbie. I did a deep google dive and leaned t that there are two types: city and country. City ham is the ham that most people grow up eating. It’s the ham they sell at the supermarket, the kind that is for sandwiches. It’s wet-cured, meaning it’s brined in a salt water solution with other seasonings. Country ham is cured with a dry rub, kind of like prosciutto. Country ham tends to be more intense and have less moisture due to the way they’re cured. Country ham is typically sold raw.
Since this was my first rodeo and I didn’t want to cook my ham from scratch, I went with country ham, more specifically a bone in spiral cut country ham. Bone in because I read that bone in hams are juicier and more flavorful and spiral cut because I though that it looked cool. I placed it on a rack in a baking tray with some water, star anise and cloves for some flavored steam, and popped it in the oven for about 2 hours, glazing with a honey brown sugar glaze every 20 minutes or so.
The ham came out gloriously lacquered, juicy, and delicious. We had a couple of friends over to eat it and because it was my first ham, I had a lot of ham-xiety – what if my ham wasn’t very good? Turns out I didn’t need to worry at all because people freaking LOVE HAM. It was a ham love fest. We served it with brussel sprouts, crispy potatoes, and some ham fried rice just because. I was so happy because everyone ate a ton! Nothing makes me happier than people enjoying food. It was fun and festive and I can’t believe it took me so long to make a holiday ham.
I think it’s going to have to be a new tradition because it was incredibly easy and delicious. Mike even told me that the ham fried rice was the best fried rice I’ve ever made. But, I took it with a grain of salt because he tells me that after ever fried rice I make 🙂
Happy holidays friends! I hope there’s some glazed ham in your future!
Going HAM over the holidays,
PS – I’m an oldie so I totally had to look up HAM. I mean, I’ve seen it everywhere and I kind of got the idea that it meant something good, like going hard or something to that extent. So I finally decided to look it up and now I know, it stands for hard as a motherf*cker 😉 I’ve been telling Mike that I’m going HAM over everything here in Tokyo and I’ll admit, he’s getting rather tired of me LOL
PPS – I started a what we’re eating in Tokyo instagram! Follow along here, but be warned, it’s gonna be kind of HAM with lots and lots of photos updated daily 😉
Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham Recipe
makes 1 ham, serves 8-10 people
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 2 hours 25 minutes
total time: 2.5 hours
- 1 spiral ham
- 3/4 cups water
- 2 whole star anise
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons dijon
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
Heat the oven to 325°F.
Grab a roasting pan and fit with a wire rack. Place the water, star anise, and cloves in the roasting pan. Put the ham on a wire rack, scoring lightly against the spiral, if desired.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, honey, dijon, rice vinegar, black pepper, and Worcestershire together until thick and smooth.
Brush the glaze on to the ham and continue baking. Brush in 20 minute intervals, until deeply golden and ham is heated through, 2 hours or so or until the center is 130°F. If desired, use a kitchen torch to caramelize the glaze. Enjoy warm!