Glazed Ham


In this recipe, a fully-cooked ham is glazed with sugar and spice -- and some bourbon -- to coat and permeate the meat.


  • 1 whole smoked ham (14 to 18 pounds), bone in and rind on

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • ¼ cup yellow mustard seeds

  • 2 tablespoons whole cardamom pods

  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • ¾ cup prepared mustard

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

  • ¾ cup dark-brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons whole cloves

  • 4 fresh bay leaves (optional)


  1. Rinse ham with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature. Place rack on lowest level in oven; heat oven to 250 degrees. Line a roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place a roasting rack in the pan. Transfer ham, with the thicker rind on top, to rack. Pour 1/2 cup apple cider over ham. Cook for 2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees.

  2. Meanwhile, combine mustard seeds, cardamom, and fennel in a small heavy skillet; place over medium-low heat, and toast seeds, shaking pan, for 3 to 4 minutes, until aromatic. Transfer to a spice mill or mortar and pestle, and grind just until cardamom is broken up. Transfer spice mixture to a medium bowl. Add cinnamon, ginger, mustard, 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and remaining 1/2 cup apple cider. Combine well; set aside.

  3. Remove ham from oven, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim away the hard rind from the ham. Use a sharp knife to trim fat to a layer of about 1/4 inch all over the ham; it does not need to be perfectly even. The bottom side of the ham will have less fat and more skin. Place ham -- bottom side down -- in pan. Score the remaining fat on top of the ham into a pattern of 1- to 2-inch diamonds, cutting about 1/4 to 1/2 inch through the fat and into the meat.

  4. Insert a whole clove into the intersection of each diamond. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, rub the spice glaze all over the ham and deep into the cut diamonds. In a medium bowl combine remaining cup light-brown sugar and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar. Using your fingers, gently pack sugar mixture all over scored fat. If using bay leaves, secure them with toothpick halves around the shank bone. Cover the toothpicks by inserting cloves on top of them. Return ham to oven and cook for 20 minutes. Sugar will begin to crystallize but there will be some hard spots of sugar; gently baste these areas with remaining glaze. Cook 40 minutes more, basting with remaining glaze after 20 minutes; do not baste with any pan juices. The ham should be dark brown and crusty; cook 15 minutes more if necessary. Remove and let cool slightly. Transfer to a serving platter, and let stand 30 minutes before carving.

Cook's Notes

A ham this size can serve 16 people for dinner and up to 50 for hors d'oeuvres.

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