Why, you may ask? Well, I personally always associate a clove-studded, crisp-skinned, honey baked ham with the holiday season and it's never too early to begin thinking about your Christmas menu....Then, too, there's the fact that I got a great deal on a ham a couple of weeks ago and just cooked it up for us last week.
Today's recipe provides the basic instructions for a tender, moist, ever-so-slightly-sweet ham that's almost impossible to screw up. Of course, cooking the ham is the easy part - it's a lot harder to come up with creative ways to serve up the inevitable leftovers (because 6 pounds of ham is a lot for two people!) so that's what the next few posts will be about. Master today's recipe and you can look forward to a whole week of ham-based meals - don't worry, I'll try to introduce a bit of variety!
Never-Fail Honey Baked Holiday Ham
1 (6-8 pound) smoked ham
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 Tablespoons butter
Whole cloves to garnish
Preheat oven to 325°F. Trim the fat from your ham, leaving only about 1/4 inch thickness in fatty areas. Score the ham and stud with whole cloves (scoring isn't necessary for a spiral cut ham, but it does make it look pretty!). Place ham cut side down in a foil lined baking pan. Baste ham with orange juice, cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes, basting frequently.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey and butter and heat until mixture is fluid. Remove ham from the oven and baste generously with brown sugar mixture, reserving some for later basting. Return ham to the oven (at this point, you can add sliced carrots if you wish) and cook for about 1hr 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Baste ham every 15-20 minutes.
During the last 4-5 minutes of cooking (i.e. after internal temperature has been reached) baste with the reserved brown sugar mixture and place under the broiler to caramelize the crust. Remove ham from the oven and let it rest about 10 minutes (covered) before slicing and serving. Serve with mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and roast vegetables (root veggies or brussels sprouts are a good accompaniment).
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