I have a fresh ham that I am going to make for Christmas. It is big but it is in the freezer now so I am not exactly sure of the weight. How should I prepare this so that it is super tasty? I am limited in seasonings because of a child with food allergies. For savory things she is good with salt, garlic, onions, olive oil, carrots among other things. For sweet she is ok with apples, sweet potatoes, but I am unsure about pineapple. I think that I would prefer savory.
So, how to season?
What temp and for how long per pound?
Covered or uncovered?
Thanks and realize that I am pretty new to cooking meat (was veg for a long time until recently) so don't assume I know anything :)
I have. My FIL traps feral pigs each winter and so we usually have lots of fresh hams.
I would thaw it out in a few days and put it in a brine of 1 cup salt, 1 cup sugar, to one gallon of water (the ham should be completely covered w/the brine--you can just dump the frozen ham in there actually). Just let it sit in the fridge (or a cooler, but make sure you keep up w/the ice!) until you are ready to cook it (I'd do it for at least a week). Dissolve the salt and sugar in cold water and put that in a big heavy trash bag and then put that in a big bowl, or the cooler, and tie up the top of the bag (after you put the ham in). If you put the ham in the brine frozen, once it thaws, just take a big fork or knife and poke some holes in it here and there to let the brine in.)
For seasoning, you can go either way, savory or sweet--the sugar in the brine will not make the ham overly sweet. You can do up a mixture of fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, thyme, and pepper. I'd also add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some orange juice, too--just mix it all up and rub it on the ham. At the end of the baking, if you want a bit of a glaze, drizzle some honey over the top, or pat a handful of brown sugar on top and let melt/caramelize. To bake it, just put it on a rack in a roasting pan at about 325 F, and I'd cover it for the first hour or so with foil. (baste it w/pan juices once an hour) Plan for about 20-25 minutes per pound. If you glaze it, add that when you have about 30 minutes more of cooking time, and crank up the oven to 350 and uncover it. A meat thermometer should read 165 when you put it in the thickest part of the ham, and do not let the thermometer touch the bone.
Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids : dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)