Ham is a meat that we rarely give much attention to. You buy the cured, pre-smoked version, you mix the little glaze packet together and then you serve it alongside something else that you put way more effort into, like a fried turkey, etc...
But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you’re hosting for upcoming Easter, you can take ham in a new and exciting direction with this recipe out of the John Folse Encyclopedia: Root Beer-Glazed Ham!
1 (5-10 lb) smoked ham
6 bottles of high-quality root beer
1 red apple, sliced
1 green apple, sliced
1 cup red seedless grapes
1⁄2 orange, sliced
1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp filé powder
**Note: You can roll with your basic Smithfield ham like you’d typically find at the grocery for this one. For the root beer, you’re going to want something better than what you’d get in a can, something like Abita or Swamp Pop if you’re local or maybe IBC.
Root Beer-Mustard Sauce:
1⁄2 cup root-beer syrup (see instructions)
1 cup Creole mustard (any spicy brown mustard will work)
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄4 cup pineapple juice
1⁄4 cup cracked black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
6 pineapple slices
The sauce will be one of your last steps — this whole process will take a few hours, so plan accordingly.
1. Place the ham in a large pot or Dutch oven — the latter is preferable so you have maximum room round it for the other items. Surround it with the apples, grapes, oranges and ground cloves. Pour in the root beer, and then dust the ham in filé powder and pepper.
2. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer and boil for approximately one hour. Turn and rotate the ham to prevent sticking or burning, and boil until the root beer has reduced to a syrup consistency.
3. Remove the ham and strain out the fruit — it will cook down to mush, basically:
You’ll want to be careful handling the ham if it is pre-sliced, as it will be very delicate after boiling.
4. Continue to reduce the syrup until it is very thick and viscous, almost like molasses. Be careful not to scorch. Remove and place in a mixing bowl.
5. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In the mixing bowl, combine the mustard and other ingredients and whisk well. Place the ham back in the Dutch oven, coat with the sauce mixture and place in the oven. Bake uncovered, for one hour, basting with the sauce every so often. If you want, you can garnish with the pineapples and cloves.
Remove, slice and serve, drizzled with some pan drippings.