Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Bone-in Ham with Coca Cola Pan Sauce - Plus Bonus Glazes

A bone-in ham, glazed with mustard and brown sugar, and cooked in a Coca-cola syrup is a traditional southern holiday feature.
A bone-in ham, glazed with mustard and brown sugar, and cooked in a Coca-cola syrup is a traditional southern holiday feature.

Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Bone-in Ham

A homemade baked ham is a southern holiday staple. My Mama used to make ham one of two ways. One was with this absolutely marvelous glaze produced by using simply one ingredient - classic Coca-Cola. Ham and Coca-Cola. How much more old fashioned and southern can you get than that? The other was baked in a plain brown paper bag, studded with pineapples and cloves.

I love the ham with the plain Coca Cola - it really makes a wonderful pan sauce that I think you'll really enjoy. Here, however, I combine that Coke with a brown sugar and mustard coating on the ham. There is something about the combination of the sweet Coke, the brown sugar, the tang of the mustard, and the saltiness of the ham that just makes for a perfect marriage. Oh my gosh is this good.

You can eliminate the mustard and brown sugar and just go with the Coke glaze if you prefer, and by the way, other cold drinks will do too - try a good root beer like Barq's or Dr Pepper for a change. Either way, be sure to dredge the ham slices back through those pan drippings and serve the rest on the table as a dipping sauce. Transfer the drippings into a skillet, bring to a boil, add a bit of butter to give it some richness, and cook it down a bit to reduce it and thicken. Put that in a pouring vessel and pass it at the table.

Now first, let's talk about ham a little bit.

What you do not want here is a picnic ham or any kind of pork shoulder ham. That's also delicious but it's a whole 'nother animal from what we are trying to achieve here, because it's basically raw pork so you'll end up with more of a pork loin or pork roast type of flavor instead of what you know as ham.

What you also do not want is what is commonly called a Smithfield {or other brand} country ham for this recipe. Also an excellent ham, but this one has only been dry cured and is not fully cooked, so you would need to cook it for a much longer period of time.

What you DO want to look for when you go to the store is a fully cooked, ready to eat half ham, preferably a shank end portion. Yes, you are gonna bake it, but a fully cooked ham does not require that you cook it long. You are really only warming it through and infusing it with a bit of flavor.

Do try to get a bone-in ham - it provides more flavor and plus you'll have a nice ham bone leftover for some red beans and rice, soup or butter beans. Be sure to check the bottom of the post for ideas on using up the leftover ham too - I'll try to update that list as I post new recipes. In the meantime I am certain you'll be delighted with this main course ham!

We interrupt this program briefly to bring you...
How to Bake a Ham in a Paper Bag

*Note: There is debate on the safety of paper bag cooking. Well, my Mama did it for years and we're all still around but for the purposes of full disclosure I must add what the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says about the practice of using brown paper bags for cooking:
"Do not use brown paper bags from grocery or other stores for cooking. They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and can emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven. The ink, glue, and recycled materials in paper bags can emit toxic fumes when they are exposed to heat. Instead, use purchased oven cooking bags."

Experts agree that brown paper bags were never intended for use as cooking utensils. The glue, ink, chemicals and non-food colors may leach into the food. Other materials used in recycling grocery bags are unsanitary, and some bags may even contain tiny metal shavings.
So, there ya are straight from Uncle Sam himself. But...

If you happen to be a rebel, here's how to do it - disclaimer - if you choose to accept this assignment you are on your own and do so at your own risk.

Place the plain, un-scored ham in a plain (no ink, no ads, no writing etc.) brown paper bag, (no coca cola for this version ... sorry) fold the end up and place the bag into an over-sized roasting pan so that there is no part of the bag hanging off of the pan, or touching any part of the oven. Bake at 325 degrees F about 15 minutes per pound or until the center of the ham reaches 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Tear away the bag, score the ham, mix up the brown sugar with the mustard and smear it all over. Add the cloves, pineapple and cherries if desired and bake uncovered from about 30 more minutes.

Again... the use of this version is at your own risk!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

This has been my favorite way to do a ham from the first time I cooked one - with a brown sugar and mustard glaze, and a hot tub of Coca Cola.  I use a bone-in, shank portion, fully cooked, smoked ham {you know... the cheap ones!} because they are full of flavor, and I want that ham bone for later!

*By the way, this method is more about the pan sauce and basting that flavor throughout the ham, rather than a heavy glaze. If you prefer a heavier glaze, follow the instructions at the bottom on this recipe post below.

Whatever roasting pan you use, cover it with some aluminum foil, in case any of the cola leaks out to make the clean up job a little bit easier.  Then make another separate foil tub inside that for the ham itself.  You'll want enough excess foil to pull up around the ham and loosely cover it.  Combine the brown sugar and the mustard. 

You'll have a thick mixture that looks like this; set aside. Score the ham and poke in some whole cloves at the intersections if you like.

Place the ham with the cut side down, and fat side up into the foil tub.  Smear the brown sugar mustard all over the ham, add pineapple and cherries if using, and pour in the Coke.

Pull up the foil so that it loosely surrounds the ham and bake according to the package directions.  Remove the pan from the oven, carefully open up the foil, and baste the ham with the juices periodically during the baking time.

My ham was 8 pounds and went for about 2 and 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, until an instant read thermometer read a little over 140 degrees. When its done, let it rest about 15 minutes before cutting. Make your pan sauce while it's resting.

To carve, take a knife and go completely around the bone to loosen the meat away from the bone.

Locate the natural seams of the ham.

Cut into those seams to loosen the sections.

Remove those sections and slice each of them individually. Beautiful.

I like to dredge the slices back into the Coca Cola pan juices and let them sort of soak a bit before plating. You can also make a pan sauce with the drippings (recommended), or you can also turn them into gravy.

To make the pan gravy, plate the ham and drizzle on a few spoons of the juice or gravy. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Transfer the pan drippings to a skillet, bring to a boil, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to add richness, and let reduce and thicken slightly. Place into a gravy boat or pourable vessel to pass at the table.
I served your ham with coke and strawberry pie recipes for Easter dinner. They were both a hit. ~Jeanne S.

Well, the ham was a hit! The sauce was so delicious, everyone loved it! I made it with the brown sugar and mustard included. Thank you so much! ~Becky

We made this ham for Easter supper -- WOW, it is great!!! Going to do this from now on, as it's definitely a KEEPER!!! Love this recipe, thanks for sharing it. ~Barbara

Thanks y'all! I love feedback from readers the most! It makes my heart sing. ~Mary

For more of my favorite baked ham recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Recipe: Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Bone-in Ham

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Total time: 2 hours 40 min
Yield: About 12+ servings

  • 1 (6 to 8 pound) fully cooked, shank-end half ham
  • 1 to 2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup yellow or Dijon mustard
  • Sliced pineapple, optional
  • Whole cloves, optional
  • Cherries, optional
  • 1/2 can of (regular) Coca-Cola Classic

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan that is just large enough for the ham with aluminum foil to help with clean-up. Add another section of aluminum foil for wrapping loosely around the ham.

Score the ham into a crosshatch pattern and, if desired, stud the intersections of the crosshatches with whole cloves. Place the ham cut side down into the aluminum foil tub. Mix 1 cup of the brown sugar and mustard together to form a thick paste and smear it all over the ham. Use 2 cups if you like it sweeter. If you are going to use pineapple, you can substitute most or all of the mustard with the pineapple juice - also very delicious. Add pineapple slices if desired, and using a toothpick, decorate the center of the pineapples with a cherry.

Pour the cola carefully over and around the ham, pull the foil up loosely around the ham and bring it together, but in a manner that you can easily get into it because you are going to be basting. Bake at 350 degrees F for roughly about 18 minutes per pound, or until the center of the ham reaches slightly over 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, basting occasionally. Check the instructions on your brand of ham for their recommendations as different companies do give variations on baking.

If desired, unwrap the ham and place it under the broiler to brown, with the door ajar, about 5 minutes, watching it carefully. Remove ham to cutting board and allow to cool. Mine was browned enough to suit me.

Plate the ham and pour the pan drippings all over the top, or to make a pan gravy, plate the ham and drizzle on a few spoons of the drippings. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Transfer the remaining pan drippings to a skillet, bring to a boil, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to add richness, and let reduce and thicken slightly. Place into a gravy boat or pourable vessel to pass at the table.

For a Heavier Glaze: I have started cooking most of my hams using this sweating method. Bring ham to room temperature for 30 minutes. Prepare foil tub, score ham, studding intersections with cloves if desired and preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Sweat the ham first by baking it with the coke (or other liquid) but without any glaze for 2 hours, loosely covered with foil. Remove ham, increase heat to 350 degrees F, brush desired glaze all over ham and return to oven, uncovered, for about another hour, or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F, basting about every 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Notes: May also substitute root beer, Dr Pepper, lemon lime soda or ginger ale.

Glaze Variations:

Brown Sugar and Bourbon Glaze: Prepare as above, except reduce mustard and Coke by half and add in 1/2 cup of bourbon or whiskey.

Brown Sugar and Orange Glaze: Prepare as directed, except reduce the mustard by half and substitute 1/2 cup orange juice (for the Coke) and 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest.

Brown Sugar Cranberry Orange Glaze: Prepare as above, except omit the mustard and substitute 1/2 cup orange juice with 1 (15 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce.

Brown Sugar and Ginger Glaze: Prepare as directed, except reduce the mustard by half and substitute 1/2 cup ginger ale or lemon-lime soda and 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger.

Brown Sugar and Maple Glaze: Prepare as directed, except reduce the mustard by half, use the Coke and add 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice and cloves.

Brown Sugar and Cane Syrup Glaze: Prepare as directed, except reduce the mustard by half and substitute 1/4 cup pure cane syrup, like Steens, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice and cloves.

Brown Sugar Pepper Jelly Glaze: Prepare as above, except reduce mustard by half and substitute 1/4 cup pepper jelly.

Brown Sugar Orange Marmalade Glaze: Prepare as above, except substitute Creole or other spicy mustard and substitute 1-1/2 cups orange marmalade.


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©Deep South Dish
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Some Things to Do with Leftover Ham:

Jambalaya with Chicken, Smoked Sausage and Shrimp
Southern Red Beans and Rice
Southern Style Creamy Butter Beans (Large Limas)
Cajun White Beans

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Sage Pork Roast with Apple Pan Sauce
The Easiest Pulled Pork Ever, No Kidding!
Roast Pork with Spicy Sweet Onion Pan Sauce

Posted by on April 3, 2010
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