A Perfect Holiday Treat; Rum & Maple Ham
Few things sing in the celebrations like a perfect Holiday Ham!
If you’re thinking of making one from scratch, deliciousness can be had on the cheap and with a minimum effort. As always, the key is to start with quality. Here I started with a leg roast [hams often come from the front (so-called picnic hams) or rear leg (“true hams”) cuts], which can often be had from preferred procurers of porcine parts for a pittance! This was from an organically raised, pastured, Berkshire breed.
If you are doing a fresh ham, you can brine without curing salt overnight and then marinate. If you are doing a traditional ham follow your favorite curing recipe; I use the guidelines in Michael Rhulman’s excellent tome, Charcuterie (a must have for any fan of cured meats).
For this ham, I created a flavor profile harkening back to classic New England flavors. Rum, maple syrup, and touch of the exotic in the spice blend of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg (AKA Pumpkin Spice) sets the traditional mood.
Brine Ingredients (this will be adequate for a 3-5 pound piece of pork):
- 2 liters of water, ~ 1/2 gallon of water
- 180 grams, ~3/4 cup of kosher salt
- 100 grams, ~1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 TBS curing salt (Insta Cure No. 1 pink salt)
Bring the water to a boil, dissolve fully all the ingredients. As the mixture cools I added rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, cut Meyer lemons, and sage. I then let it rest, fully submerged for ~ 2 weeks. The ham was removed, rinsed, and then allowed to marinate overnight.
- 1/4 cup good quality rum, preferably dark
- 1/4 cup good quality maple syrup
- 2 TBS pumpkin spice
Reserve half the liquid. Reduce the reserved half it in a small saucepan by approximately a third to half; until it has thickened. Marinate the pork in the other half.
I slow smoked the ham at roughly 225 F until it reached an internal temperature of around 190F. When it had about an hour or so left, I lathered it with the glaze and let it finish smoking. I then pulled it and allowed it to rest for several hours. If you are doing in the oven, I recommend low and slow at 225 and follow the same directions. If you are looking for a crispy glazed texture, heat the broiler for several minutes to caramelize the glaze right before you remove it.