Sweet and Spicy Holiday Ham

I love all things pork.  This should be known and accepted as one of life’s great truths.  When I need an easy dinner main course that goes really well with just about any side you can think of, especially if I need a dinner that doesn’t require a great deal of hands-on time, I go for a ham.  It feeds a crowd, is always delicious, and can be dressed up and paired with fancy sides or toned down and served as one of life’s ultimate comfort foods.

One of my favorite things to do to make a ham MY ham, is brush it with my sweet and spicy glaze.  It’s one of the easiest things in the world to whip up and it makes a fool-proof main dish.  If you’ve never cooked a ham, you should also know that if you’re not feeding a crowd, you should be prepared for lots of leftovers.  These leftovers can be used in soups, sandwiches, breakfast dishes, and casseroles galore.  Ham also freezes very well, so you can use some now and grab more out of the freezer on one of those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

To begin, you need a ham…I usually buy a 5-6 pound ham from whichever grocery store has the best price at the time.  You’ll be looking for a fully cooked ham — the kind that you really just need to take out of the package and heat in the oven for about an hour.  If you’re ham illiterate, you’ll find a good example here.

So, now that you have your ham, you need to score the ham.  To do this, you make cuts (shallow) in long lines from front to back and then from side to side.  You should end up with a diamond pattern when you’re done.  I’ve seen beautifully scored hams with even cuts and these hams are a thing of beauty.  As you can see below, mine is neither beautiful nor even, but it serves the purpose. 

I forgot to take a picture of the ham before I glazed it and threw it in the oven, but the cuts wouldn’t have shown that well anyway.  This pic is post glaze and post cooking.

So…for the glaze….

1 c. honey

1 c. dark brown sugar

3 T. cider vinegar

1 t. ground nutmeg

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cloves

**If you’re really feeling daring, throw 1/8 to 1/4 t. cayenne to the mix…that will really spice it up!!!!

Mix all the ingredients together and brush on your ham. Cook the ham in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until the ham is heated through.

*Note:  Please do not dump all of this glaze over the ham all at once.  The glaze has a tendency to bubble over if you add too much at once.  This will, inevitably, cause you to have to spend countless hours cleaning your oven and smelling burnt sugar.  Yes, I made this mistake.  And no, I’ll never make this mistake again.

Your finished product will look like this…

You really can pair just about any side with this.  Some of my favorites include…

  • macaroni and cheese (from scratch, of course)
  • green beans
  • corn bread
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet potatoes of any variety — baked, sautéed, mashed, fries…you name it
  • broccoli (steamed or roasted)

I’m sure I could come up with about a million acceptable ham sides…these are just the ones I’ve done lately!

Happy eating!

 

 

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