Roasted Fresh Ham with a Maple-Spice Glaze

After our existential ordeal with Wilbur, Bruce wanted to develop a recipe that honored the first taste of the meat by using the simplest preparation: roasted, not fussed up. So here’s his basic recipe for a fresh ham. Yes, it requires several hours of slow cooking. Open another bottle of Pinot Noir and relax. Feeds 6 teenage boys, 16 adults, or 26 twentysomething models.

 

Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein; Stewart, Tabori & Chang (2010)

Roasted Fresh Ham with a Maple-Spice Glaze

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    Ingredients

    One 8- to 10-pound bone-in fresh ham, preferably from the shank end, any rind removed 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon sugar teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt
    teaspoon ground allspice cup maple syrup

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      Put the Dickensian joint in a large roasting pan, preferably one that’s shiny enough to reflect lots of ambient heat and not so flimsy that it tips willy-nilly when you pick it up. Set the oven rack as high as it can go and still afford the ham at least 2 inches of head space. Leave the roast in its pan out on the counter and fire the oven up to 325 F.

    • 2

      Mix the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Wash and dry your hands, then smooth the spice mixture all over the ham’s external surface. Work it down into some of the crevices, but be careful to avoid any deep-tissue massage. A ham is a complex structure of muscle groups—too much massage and they can come apart like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.

    • 3

      Cover the whole kit and caboodle with aluminum foil, shove it in the oven, and leave it alone for 31/2 hours, while you go do whatever it is you do when a big, sweating hunk of meat is roasting in your oven.

    • 4

      Peel off the aluminum foil. Baste the ham with about half the maple syrup, preferably using a basting brush. Take it easy so you don’t knock off the spice coating. Use small strokes—think Impressionism, not Abstract Expressionism. (Or just dribble the syrup off a spoon.)

    • 5

      Continue roasting the ham, uncovered this time, basting every 15 minutes or so with more maple syrup as well as any pan drippings, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone registers 170 F, about 11/4 hours. If it starts to singe or turn too dark, tent it loosely with foil, uncovering it just at the last to get it back to crunchy-crisp.

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