Since an Easter ham has been a family tradition for my husband, AND my mother-in-law makes a delicious ham, it was time I took the challenge to make my first real ham…twice.
Good news – The word ‘Ham’ generally means the meat is already cured (code for preserved with salt). Hams can be purchased pre-sliced too. Sounds like a recipe for a fool-proof meal to me. Except….
My first trip to the store I purchased a “Pork Steak Ready Shoulder Butt,” as I tried to recall the recipe notes I’d left on the counter. Keywords being Pork and Butt. My first results tasted like a pork roast, not sweet-crusted, salt-tinged, hint-of-honey ham.
This time, I found the “Butt Portion Ham” and was ready to roll. What’s the difference? Both cuts have a bone, but the latter is already cured to a nice pink ham. Since ham is already cooked, I wondered why I needed to cook it again?
Cooking with this marinade adds flavor to flavor. The soda tenderizes the meat so it cuts more easily. The longer you cook it, the more easily it will fall apart as you cut it off the bone. The honey and sugar give it a bit of sweetness, but not an overpowering sugary flavor and the liquid smoke brings it all together. If you have a large enough crock pot or small enough ham, you could even use a slow cooker to make this.
Homemade Honey Baked Ham Recipe
1 large Butt Portion Ham (pyramid-shaped cut, bone-in, cured but not sliced)
1 can regular Coke
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tabelspoon liquid smoke (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove ham from packaging and place in a large roasting pan with the bottom of the “pyramid” on the bottom of the pan. Prepare the ham by lightly scoring the outside with a sharp knife, making a criss-cross pattern (or Ninja-slice it like me since I wasn’t watching where I’d already cut).
Mix together Coke, brown sugar, honey and liquid smoke in a large measuring cup until sugar and honey are dissolved. Slowly pour mixture over ham until is half-way submerged in liquid. Remember that the ham will give off some liquid during cooking, so don’t overfill the pan.
Cover with foil and place on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake covered for 60-90 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 60-90 minutes uncovered. If you’re worried about your ham getting dry, try basting the meat with the excess liquid in the pan a few times during baking. Recipe from Katy Johnson.
This year, save yourself a trip to the ham store and make your very own Honey Baked Ham. Enjoy!