No traditional Southern Easter table would be complete without a glazed ham. There are many recipes that have sprung up over the years, but this is one that has been passed down in my family for at least seven generations. Heaven only knows where my ancestors got pineapple. We suspect that at one time, it was made with orange or peach marmalade instead, but this is how it was made by my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and me, and how I will pass it down to my children.
Choosing an Easter Ham
Most hams bought in the grocery store are pre-cooked, but still need to be thoroughly warmed to ensure safety. There are two main types of ham: butt, or rump, and shank. The butt ham comes from the upper leg and is meatier but fattier. The shank portion is leaner and easier to slice, but has less meat. I prefer the butt ham, because the fat makes it more tender.
What You’ll Need
1 fully cooked bone-in butt or shank ham (2-3 servings per pound)
20-30 whole cloves with buds
Honey or maple syrup
Light brown sugar
1 can pineapple slices
1 jar Maraschino cherries
Baking Your Easter Ham
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Line your roaster with foil and insert the rack. Place the ham fat-side up on the rack and remove any excess outer skin. Score the fat into diamond shapes and stud with cloves inside the cuts.
Place an oven-safe thermometer into the middle of the ham. Bake uncovered for approximately 18 minutes per pound, or until the thermometer reaches 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Glazing the Ham
The traditional Southern Easter ham glaze contains the following ingredients for a 6-to-8 pound ham. For larger hams, adjust the amounts accordingly.
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup brandy or bourbon (optional)
Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately two minutes, watching carefully so it doesn’t boil over.
About 20 minutes before the ham is done, apply half of the glaze. About 10 minutes before it is done, place the pineapple rings touching each other on the top of the ham and hold in place with cloves or toothpicks, if necessary. Place a maraschino cherry into the center of the pineapple ring and secure it with a wooden toothpick. Apply the other half of the glaze over the ham and pineapple and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
When the ham is done, remove it from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Remove the toothpicks. Place on a serving dish, garnish with mint sprigs, slice and serve.
Your guests will love this spicy-sweet ham, so expect to be asked for the recipe. Make this a Southern Easter tradition in your home. Pass it on to friends and family so the tradition will live on through the generations.
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