Cider-cured Ham Revisited – or, we don’t need any space in the fridge do we?

So Christmas looms ever closer. We thought we would have another go at cider-curing a ham. This time, despite the fact that the first time we did it, it tasted great with the glaze, we have just decided to boil it and then serve. It was so good last time, that it really didn’t need any more tweaking, and Christmas is a busy enough time without adding to the workload.

We purchased a ham from Pete’s Fine Meats. I say ham, it’s really more of a HAM!, 25 lbs of piggy goodness. Given that the brining should take about 3 days for every 2 lbs of meat, we are once again in danger of the brining going long, and the ham not being ready in time for Christmas. Doh! We are going for it anyway, I’m sure it will work, he said somewhat nervously.

The Brine
4 lbs salt
4 qts apple juice (not from concentrate)
4 cups strong cider (we used Crispin. I wouldn’t recommend one of the sweeter brands such as Strongbow – go for an organic cider if you can get it – or better yet, some scrumpy!
2 qts water
2 lbs demerara suger
2 lbs dark brown sugar, or dark molasses
20 – 30 Juniper berries
1/4 cup black peppercorns, crushed
10 bay leaves, crushed
10 whole cloves

Add all the ingredients for the brine in a large pot (or two as we had to) and bring to the boil. Cider-brineAllow to cool – for us this happened over night. Then submerge the ham in the brine, weigh it down – we used an empty food container which pushes the ham down when the lid of the brining container is closed.Don’t use anything made of metal!


Our ham is now sitting in the fridge, taking up a huge amount of space, while the brine does it’s work. I’ll post a follow up when the brining is finished, just before Christmas (we hope)!

Container, bath, vessel, you name it.
Eek! Is it enough?
it really is that big.
Huge in fact.
Before making the ultimate sacrifice, this pig wore a Stetson
HAM! in brine

Brown Sugar, Mustard, and Beer Glazed Ham served with Herbed Fingerling Potatoes

This is a fun cooking with beer recipe and I imagine the effect isn’t too dissimilar to the notorious Coca-Cola glazed ham, although I’ve never tasted one myself. Of course whatever beer you choose will influence the taste of the ham so I recommend you drink one while preparing the food to give you a good idea of the flavor profile.
The potato salad was developed to go along with the ham served cold. The capers give it a nice kick. No mayonnaise keeps it picnic friendly.

Brown Sugar, Mustard, and Beer Glazed Ham

1 fully cooked smoked ham
12 ounces dark beer
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard, such as Coleman’s
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Place ham face down in shallow roasting pan. Pour beer over top, reserving 2 tablespoons. Cook uncovered at 350F for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes.

In small bowl combine sugar, mustard, and beer so it forms a thick paste. Score fat on ham in crisscross pattern. Spread sugar mixture over ham. Bake another 30-45 minutes until internal temperature reaches 140F.

Herbed Potato Salad

2 pounds fingerling or small new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped capers
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cover potatoes with cold salted water, bring to boil, and simmer until just tender. Drain potatoes and allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine rest of ingredients and toss with potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.