There’s a reason everyone hovers in the kitchen while Christmas dinner is cooking. Few things make the mouth water like a succulent holiday ham, pleasantly salty and covered in a sinfully sticky glaze.
Most holiday hams available at the grocery store come already smoked, ready to warm up and eat. But adding a glaze can give your ham a little extra something, a layer of flavor and decadence that will have your guests begging for the leftovers.
Below are five great ways to glaze your holiday ham, from the classic pineapple-studded version to a more savory mustard-based glaze. Give one of these recipes a try this year with your holiday ham and make your dinner party one to remember.
Pineapple and ham is a wonderful sweet-and-salty combination so well-established, it’s become a standard pizza topping. Parade Magazine’s recipe starts with a bone-in smoked Virginia ham and makes a sweet-spicy glaze using four cups of pineapple juice, peeled fresh ginger and four cloves of garlic.
With flavors of cloves, Dijon mustard and light brown sugar, the finishing touch is a geometric pattern of pineapple rings and bright red maraschino cherries.
Bill’s Honey Ham from Penzey’s Spices smells and tastes wonderful, thanks to whole Ceylon cloves studding the meat. Bill’s glaze is a sweet and spicy blend of orange juice, a proprietary sauce called “Raspberry Enlightenment,” black pepper, honey, dill and mustard powder.
Sandra Lee makes holiday ham simple with a glaze reviewers call “a huge hit,” “fast and easy” and “the best glaze I have ever had on a ham.”
You probably have most of the ingredients on hand already, too: bourbon or whiskey, honey, molasses, 100 percent fruit marmalade (apricot preserves work in a pinch) and whole cloves. And while you have the bourbon out, whip up some amaretto bourbon punch — Martha Stewart Living calls it “robust” yet “mellow.”
“Only those who have never tried this raise an eyebrow at the idea,” writes Nigella Lawson, who has published a recipe for ham in Coca-Cola in at least two of her cookbooks: the classic “How to Eat” and her namesake “Nigella Bites.” “Don’t hesitate,” she adds, “don’t be anxious: this really works. No one who cooks it, cooks it just once: it always earns a place in every repertoire.”
Beyond sounding delicious in a delightfully low-brow way, ham in cola also looks nearly impossible to mess up. The only ingredients are ham, onion, Coke, cloves, molasses (which Nigella, being British, calls “treacle”), mustard powder and brown sugar. It involves a little bit of boiling, but the results sound divine.
With all the sweetness in a holiday ham from things like brown sugar, molasses, honey and cola, it’s nice to cut it a little bit with the spiciness of a good ground mustard. CHOW’s recipe for honey mustard ham is the simplest of them all, with only four elements in addition to ham — and one of them is butter.
With its “crunchy, sweet crust and juicy interior,” according to CHOW’s Amy Wisniewski, “all you need to worry about is getting a good-quality ham.”
Check out our free “Holiday Ham Guide” and start planning your ham dinner today.
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