Best From Scratch Ham, EVER!

Ok, so I've never actually made a ham from scratch before, this was my first.

I've been meaning to try this ham recipe for some time now.  I was going to do it over Christmas break, but somehow time got away from me.  As usual.

I started it last week on Thursday, as the recipe had the ham in a brine solution in the fridge for 5-7 days.  

I slow cooked in the oven all afternoon yesterday.  It smelled so good, the kids were begging for dinner by the time it was ready!

This is a super simple recipe.  You will need a food safe container large enough to hold your ham.  I used a 3LB ham steak, as that size is more manageable for four people.  I couldn't see preparing a 20 pounder . . .

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 gal hot water

1 c brown sugar (I used a cup of maple syrup.  I recently found out that I have a very real food sensitivity to cane sugar, and so recently cut that from my diet.  I think it would also be good with honey, but honey is more expensive than maple syrup . . . )

1 c salt

1/2 cup mustard (I used French's classic yellow.  I deliberately did not read the ingredient list so that I would not know whether or not it was on my extensive "I can't eat that list.")

1 TBSP dried rosemary (you could certainly use fresh)

1TBSP dried thyme (again - would be great with fresh)

1/2 TBSP cloves

1 TBSP cracked black pepper

5 crushed garlic cloves

1 chopped onion

2-6 lb ham steak - available for purchase at our online farm store!

Mix the salt and sugar/maple syrup/honey with the hot water in your container, stirring to dissolve. Add the mustard, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and cloves and stir to get the mustard to blend in. Toss in the onion and garlic then gently place your ham in making sure your container does not overflow.

Seal up the container and leave it in your fridge for 5-7 days.  

This process is brining.  It adds flavor and the salt helps protein molecules expand and absorb moisture.

The original recipe said to roast the ham at 225 degrees to an internal temp 165 degrees.  The original recipe also used a 20 pound ham.  I put mine in the oven in a casserole dish with a lid and baked it for 5 1/2 hours.  

During this time the ham released a lot of "juice" or mostly brine solution.  This was good, as I baked potatoes to go with it, and since butter is also on my no eat list, I ladled the juices over my potato and it was fantastic.

I think you could roast this uncovered, you might get a nice caramelized exterior.  It might come out saltier though as the moisture evaporated and the salts were left behind.  However, for a smaller family sized ham like this, it may also dry it out.

Meanwhile, I was telling a friend about my ham yesterday afternoon and she informed me that she usually puts hers in the crock pot! Mine was already in the oven, so I'll try that another day.