Fresh ham for xmas dinner?

Annie DeighnaughDecember 16, 2012

I found out I've got about a dozen people coming for xmas dinner now. I was thinking about cooking a fresh ham...haven't had it in years and years. I don't remember how Mom used to make it and she's no longer around to ask.

Does anyone have a favorite way of cooking a fresh ham?


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This is a wonderful recipe for a fresh ham. Make sure you get one with the skin still on. Nothing better than cracklings.

Pork - Fresh Ham With Cracklings And Pan Gravy
Adapted from a Gourmet Recipe

1 fresh ham (shank end leg of pork)
Olive for rubbing the ham
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
12 ounces beer (not dark)

For the gravy
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
. With a small sharp knife prick the ham skin all over, make 4 parallel
1/2-inch-deep incisions through the skin the entire length of the ham,
and rub the ham lightly with the oil. In a small bowl rub together the
coarse salt, the thyme, the sage, the pepper, and the mustard and rub
the mixture over the entire surface of the ham. Put the ham on a
roasting rack set in a roasting pan and put the pan in a preheated
500F. oven. Reduce the temperature immediately to 375F and roast the
ham for 1 hour. Pour half the beer over the ham, roast the ham for 30
minutes more, and pour the remaining beer over the ham. Roast the ham
until a meat thermometer registers 170F.,(the amount of time will
depend on the size of the roast) and let it cool on the rack in the
pan for 15 minutes. Pull off the brown crisp skin, leaving the layer of
fat on the ham, with scissors cut the skin into small pieces, and
arrange the cracklings in one layer in a baking pan. Sprinkle the
cracklings with salt and bake them in the middle of a preheated 350F.
oven, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until they are crisp
and browned. Transfer the cracklings to paper towels and let them
drain. Cut the remaining fat from the ham, slice the meat thinly across
the grain, and arrange it on a platter. Keep the ham warm, covered.

Skim off the fat from the juices in the roasting pan, add 1 cup broth
and deglaze the pan over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits.
Transfer the liquid to a saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together the
flour and 1/4 cup of the broth until the flour is dissolved and whisk
the mixture into the deglazing liquid with the remaining 3/4 cup broth,
the mustard, the sage, the thyme, and pepper to taste, and simmer the
gravy, whisking, for 5 minutes.

Garnish the ham with the cracklings and the watercress sprigs and serve
it with the gravy.

March 1990

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, ann t....I've never eaten cracklings!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Last fresh ham we had I cooked on the kamado smoker, came out great. Used Jamaican Jerk seasoning on it and smoked with Hickory wood

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Oh wow! looks great! but it's far too cold to grill in our area for xmas....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Oh Wow is right. That looks amazing. I can just imagine that wonderful smokey flavour.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've decided to give this one a try....I've never brined meat before, but it sounds easy enough to do. Fortunately it's cold enough here that I can just park it outside and not take up the entire fridge with the pot....

Here is a link that might be useful: Fresh ham with cider glaze

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:52AM
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I always get confused when you guys talk about a "fresh ham". It's a pork leg roast, right?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Colleen, right, a fresh ham is just a pork leg roast. Same cut used for a smoked or cured ham.

Annie, another option is to presalt rather than brine. Then you are not fighting with a bucket of water.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, AnnT, but I think i'll try this has a lot of flavoring in it and we have some nice big pots leftover from when in laws used to can, so I think we're all set.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:30PM
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this recipe is a bit time consuming, but looks pretty tasty.

Here is a link that might be useful: pure pig goodness

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks mar...looks interesting, but I won't have time for all that dry curing...also won't that make it taste more like ham? I really like the porky flavor of the fresh me it tastes like a really good roast pork, only better...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:45PM
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