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Root Beer-Glazed Ham

This is without a doubt the most asked-for recipe in the seventeen-year history of my radio show. Demand for it rises during the holidays, but never goes away completely.

The root beer-glazed ham is a fixture on my table on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. It’s in the oven all morning (good thing my turkey is usually out on the grill!), and it makes the whole house smell good. You’ll find that lots of your guests will fight over the black crusty parts of the ham. (And all the rest of it, too.)

If you live in New Orleans, I strongly urge you to buy the superb locally-produced Chisesi ham for this. It’s widely available at supermarkets, usually in the deli department. Otherwise, a top-quality, lean, naturally-smoked boneless ham is what you want.

One more thing: The drippings get so crusty in the pan that you’ll want to use a disposable pan to bake the ham. The stuff is very hard to dislodge.

  • Glaze:
  • 24 oz. (two cans) Barq’s root beer
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. pepper jelly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Tabasco Caribbean style steak sauce (or Pickapeppa)
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • Peel and juice of one-half an orange
  • Peel of half a lemon
  • ~
  • 1 cured, smoked ham, about 8-10 pounds
  • ~
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1. I usually make the glaze the night before, so I can get the ham right into the oven in the morning. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer, and cook for about a half-hour. Strain the pan contents and discard the solids. Reduce the liquid to about a half-cup. Refrigerate if you do this in advance.

2. Place the ham on a rack in a disposable aluminum pan. Cut shallow gashes in a criss-cross pattern across the top half. Spoon the glaze over the ham to completely wet the surface.

3. Combine the brown sugar and the dry mustard and pat it all over the ham. Pour a half-cup of water into the pan. Put the ham in the oven at 350 degrees.

4. Spoon some of the glaze over the top of the ham at 15-minute intervals until it’s all used up. Try to get some glaze on all parts of the ham. Add more water to the pan when it dries up.

5. Continue baking until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a half-hour before carving.

Serves about twenty.

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RecipeSquare-150x150 This is without a doubt the most asked-for recipe in the seventeen-year history of my radio show. Demand for it rises during the holidays, but never goes away completely.

The root beer-glazed ham is a fixture on my table on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. It’s in the oven all morning (good thing my turkey is usually out on the grill!), and it makes the whole house smell good. You’ll find that lots of your guests will fight over the black crusty parts of the ham. (And all the rest of it, too.)

Click here for recipe details.

17 Readers Commented

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  1. ann on April 14, 2014

    Tom,

    What is the average cooking time?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on May 3, 2014

      The time it takes to reach 160 internal temperature, which varies from ham to ham and oven to oven. Forget the clock, and check the meat thermometer. An eight-pound ham takes about four hours, but that’s an inexact index.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Richard on November 15, 2014

    Tom u have 6 cloves in recipe, what kind of cloves?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on November 15, 2014

      The spice called cloves. Just plain cloves.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  3. Bob on November 27, 2014

    Step one says to combine all of the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan and bring to a boil. The list of ingredients for the GLAZE includes the mustard and the brown sugar yet Step 3 says to combine the mustard and the brown sugar and pat it over the ham.

    I’m confused… Do those get held out of the liquid that is boiled? Or, is there an additional amount that gets used? Or, is it supposed to be separated into smaller portions and used in the different steps?

    It’s too late for THIS year, the ham is in the oven… (I put it all together in the glaze and did not use more for the rub).

    Thanks…

    TOM SEZ:
    It was a goof in the way the website displayed line breaks. Everything up to the ham is cooked together with the root beer. The ham should have had a break before and after in the list, leaving the brown sugar and mustard together but alone.

    However, it really doesn’t make that much difference.

    Tastefully yours,
    Tom Fitzmorris

    • bob on December 16, 2014

      You were right Tom… It was delicious… Definitely a keeper.

  4. Root on December 25, 2014

    Tom – I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I bought your cookbook and finally got the chance for Christmas, 2014. Being a tad frugal, I bought a ten pound butt portion ham and followed your instructions precisely, and it came out great. I’m sure a Chisesi or similar ham would taste and slice better, but for $1.79 per pound, I can live with the butt portion. This will be a hit at the deer camp in the future. Thanks.

  5. Sue on December 29, 2014

    How long in advance can the glaze be prepared? Is night before or morning of optimal?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on December 30, 2014

      You can make it weeks in advance, as long as you keep it refrigerated. If it’s been many days, I’d , then warm it back up to a boil before using it.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

      • Sue on January 1, 2015

        Wow! Next time I need to do a better job of scoring the ham and reduce the glaze a little more, but the ham was still excellent. I’ll definitely do this again.

  6. Pam Ballantyne on February 26, 2015

    Could a spiral sliced ham be used in this recipe or does that create a problem with the crisscross gashes?

    TOMMENT:
    No, a spiral-sliced ham won’t work for the root-beer-glazed ham, because it’s already baked and glazed.

  7. Duncan Blue on November 19, 2015

    Isn’t a Chisesi ham already cooked? This is the same ham that the deli uses for their sliced ham?

  8. Jim on November 24, 2015

    Tom,
    You say no-way for a spiral-cut ham, but what about a non-glazed smoked ham (quality examples are becoming fairly available)

    Cheers!

    • Tom Fitzmorris on November 27, 2015

      A non-glazed smoked ham is exactly what I recommend in my recipe. The standard Chisesi ham that everybody gets in the deli is the one you want. A spiral-sliced ham is already baked and glazed, and with the cuts made there’s no way for the glaze to seep through right. One more thing: spirally-sliced hams are always sliced too thick.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  9. Ron on November 28, 2015

    Tom, for the orange and lemon do you mean the entire peel or just the zest?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on November 29, 2015

      For the root beer glaze, you will throw away all of the solids, so you don’t need to zest the citrus skins.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  10. Charlie Mutter on December 30, 2017

    Is there a place on your site where I can print recipe only? I can’t seem to find it.
    Thanks
    Charlie

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