Saturday, April 3, 2010

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

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

Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Bone-in Ham

A 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 cola. Ham and 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 cola - it really makes a wonderful pan sauce that I think you'll really enjoy. Here, however, I combine that with a brown sugar and mustard coating on the ham. There is something about the combination of the sweet cola, 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 cola glaze if you prefer, and by the way, other cold drinks will do too - try a good root beer like Barq's, or a 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 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 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 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!





Posted by on April 3, 2010
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