An Easter Tradition: Glazed, Old-Fashioned Baked Ham

Orange Marmalade-Glazed Baked Ham with Baking Powder Biscuit Sandwich. (Wendy Goodfriend)

My favorite part of the Easter holiday, besides watching my young daughter scampering around Holly Park with hordes of other Bernal Heights kids searching for eggs, is Easter dinner. For me, Easter is a time to celebrate spring and re-birth and new growth, and all the yummy fresh new foods available after a winter of heavy root vegetables and greens.

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At the center of my fantasy Easter dinner table (which always includes biscuits, some kind of asparagus dish, and scalloped potatoes), is a beautiful bone-in ham. Now, I say “fantasy” dinner because an entire ham doesn’t make sense unless I really have a crowd to feed, and most years, it’s just my immediate family or a few friends. But every so often, we do it up, invite loads of people and serve this magnificent piece of meat.

When we decided to make it this year, I went in search of my perfect ham (not an easy feat unless it’s around one of the ham-centric holidays, such as Easter). After calling around to a number of local places, I came to Chef Guy Sidey, chef of Bi-Rite Market in the Mission. Unbeknownst to me, Bi-Rite breaks down a whole hog every week and uses one of the whole legs to make their own in-house ham. They brine it for 6 days, let it dry for 1 day, then slow-smoke it over a mixture of apple, cherry, almond, and hickory wood. Then, typically, they serve it for their family-style dinners in the deli.

Well, this was one week that I got incredibly lucky. Chef Guy just so happened to have a ham available and was willing to sell me a whole ham. (In fact, around the holidays they do a few hams per week, so if you are lucky, and persistent, and call in advance, you too can get in on their ham action.)

Wherever you get your ham, make sure to purchase a fully cooked, smoked, uncut, unglazed bone-in ham (read: not spiral cut and certainly not honey-glazed unless that’s what you really like in which case you don’t need my recipe).

Choose a whole ham, which will weigh around 17–20 pounds or choose a smaller half ham, which should weigh around 9–11 pounds. If you go for the half ham, choose one from the shank end rather than the butt end, as it will be easier to slice and will contain less gristle.

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Here’s my recipe for a marmalade-glazed ham, followed by Chef Guy’s recipe for his brown sugar and whiskey glazed ham. Whichever you make, I recommend serving it with biscuits and mustard or your favorite chutney.

Orange Marmalade-Glazed Baked Ham
Orange Marmalade-Glazed Baked Ham (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Orange Marmalade-Glazed Baked Ham

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 fully cooked, bone-in, smoked ham, preferably shank end, about 10–12 pounds
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

Instructions:

  1. About 2 hours before you want to bake the ham, take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. If necessary, cut away any skin and trim the fat to about 1/2 inch. Place the ham, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan big enough to hold it. Score the fat in a crosshatch pattern. Cover the ham with foil. Bake the ham for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the orange marmalade and orange juice together until the marmalade melts, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the ham from the oven and brush the orange glaze all over the ham. Continue cooking, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer reads 140F when stuck into the center (but not touching the bone); another 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours (2 to 3 hours total) depending on the size of the ham. While baking, occasionally baste the ham with any pan juices once or twice, until the glaze thickens.
  5. Remove the ham from the oven, loosely tent it with foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving.
About 2 hours before you want to bake the ham, take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature
About 2 hours before you want to bake the ham, take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature (Wendy Goodfriend)
Remove the ham from the oven and brush the orange glaze all over the ham
Remove the ham from the oven and brush the orange glaze all over the ham (Wendy Goodfriend)
Let the ham rest for 30 minutes before carving
Let the ham rest for 30 minutes before carving (Wendy Goodfriend)

Guy’s Brown Sugar–Whiskey Glazed Ham

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 fully cooked, bone-in, smoked ham, preferably shank end, about 10–12 pounds
  • 2 packed cups light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp English mustard
  • 1 cup whiskey (I’d suggest a sweeter whiskey, not too peaty)
  • 15–20 whole cloves

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Instructions:

  1. About 2 hours before you want to bake the ham, take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. If necessary, cut away any skin and trim the fat to about 1/2 inch. Place the ham, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan big enough to hold it. Score the fat in a diamond pattern.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar and mustard. Add enough whiskey to create a thick paste. Pour any remaining whiskey over the ham, then smear on the glaze paste. In the vertices of the diamond, push in the cloves.
  4. Roast, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer reads 140F when stuck into the center (but not touching the bone); about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While baking, occasionally baste the ham with any pan juices once or twice, until the glaze thickens.
  5. Remove the ham from the oven, loosely tent it with foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving.

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