Monday, November 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Pepper Jelly Glazed Boneless Ham

Boneless ham, cooked in a slow cooker with apple cider and glazed with a brown sugar, mustard and pepper jelly glaze.
Boneless ham, cooked in a slow cooker with apple cider and glazed with a brown sugar, mustard and pepper jelly glaze.

Slow Cooker Pepper Jelly Glazed Ham

I love baking my ham for the holidays, although a slow cooker is a great way to cook ham too, and like crockpot dressing, it's also a great way to free up space in the oven.

When you think about it, a slow cooker is really the perfect environment for ham anyway. Thanks to the natural self-basting that occurs, the ham stays moist and tender, and although a glaze may not finish quite the same as oven baking, that is easily remedied with a quick run through in the oven at the very end to get that nice, shiny set on the glaze, which is exactly how I finished the ham pictured.
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My go-to ham every holiday has always been the brown sugar Coca-Cola version that so many of us Southerners are endeared to. Some folks use Dr Pepper, 7-up or Sprite, even ginger ale, but for me personally, I think that Co-Cola is king for that ham. It's just really great flavor.

I also like to make a Cajun ham where I exchange the Coke for apple cider, reduce the brown sugar a bit to add in some cane syrup, change out the yellow mustard for spicy and bump up the holiday seasonings, making for one tasty ham. This year, I thought I'd combine a couple of all those elements and like the bottom of the jar chicken I like to do, I decided to use a nice spicy pepper jelly glaze. I was real happy with the results.

In truth, I most often buy a bone-in ham, just because I love having that ham bone for other recipes, but sometimes you just want ham, and you do get a bit more bang for your buck with a boneless ham.

I recently had the opportunity to try Kentucky Legend Off the Bone ham and I have to say The Cajun and I were both super impressed with this brand - neither one of us could stay out of it and I lost count how many times my husband said how good this ham was!

I thought I might be able to freeze some to save for our little personal Thanksgiving meal that he and I share away from the big family celebration, but looks like I'm gonna have to go buy another one for that, because it's already just about gone. In Mississippi you'll find Kentucky Legend at places like Piggly Wiggly, Winn Dixie, Food Giant and Walmart. My next post will have more detail about this delicious brand of ham so stay tuned for that too!

In the meantime, here's how to make this pepper jelly glazed ham for the slow cooker.

Score the ham about 1/4 inch deep, crosshatching the cuts in a diamond pattern. Boneless hams are netted during the process so just follow the netting lines! Place the whole cloves in the crosscuts, scattering them around the top and sides of the ham. You can use however many you like - I go with about 20 of them, and of course, if you don't enjoy the taste of cloves, you may just omit this step!

Pour 1/2 cup of apple cider in the bottom of slow cooker and place ham on top. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

For the glaze I decided on a pepper jelly. This adds a nice flavor to the ham, but doesn't overpower it with heat, so don't worry about it being overly spicy. I'm using Preservation Society which I buy from my friends at Virginia Chutney, who happen to have the best chutney you will ever put in your mouth - just in case you want to pick some up from them for holiday gift baskets.

I use their Major Grey mango chutney in my Southern tea room style chicken salad, so I place an order every year for that and an assortment of other products they carry, including this pepper jelly.

Sometimes they even include a little free bonus product in the box. Of course, use whatever your favorite pepper jelly is, or what's available to you at your store, or you may also substitute other flavors of jellies or jams with this recipe if you don't care for pepper jelly. Some good choices that go well with ham would include substitute mango, apricot, peach or apple jelly.

Mix together the brown sugar, pepper jelly, mustard and vinegar. I'm using a Creole mustard here but frankly if you prefer plain yellow mustard, that will work just fine too.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the glaze evenly all over the ham, reserving the rest for when the ham is cooked. At this stage the glaze is primarily for flavoring, not really glazing. You'll see why in a minute. Once you've added the glaze, cover and cook on low for about 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F (or about 135 degrees F if you intend to set the glaze in the oven), basting occasionally. Do not overcook.

Below is what it looks like right out of the cooker. You'll notice that I have transferred it to a foil line baking pan. That's because I intend to run it through the oven to set the final application of glaze, although that is optional. If you also want to do this, remove the ham from the slow cooker a little early, at about 135 degrees F.

Brush the reserved glaze all over the ham. Once it rests, you can slice and serve it just as it is without setting the glaze with the oven, so if your oven is otherwise occupied, this is all you need to do.

Here's the ham after placing it into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the ham is right at 140 degrees F.

Whichever method you do, whether straight slow cooker, or the slow cooker oven combo, let the ham rest a full 15 minutes, before carving.

For more of my favorite slow cooker recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Posted by on November 18, 2013

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