We have been blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather lately. Looking back on the year we have so much to be thankful for... good health, great vacations to Maui and San Francisco, fabulous careers and wonderful friends and family who have visited. We lost our precious pug earlier this week to cancer and the sweet spirit and unconditional love that he carried until his very last moment was a testament that each day is a gift and we need to face it with joy and gratitude. Mr. Mugsy certainly did just that and he is greatly missed this Christmas morning.
So while the sun shone brightly yesterday, we sat poolside sipping Palomas, musing about how Mugsy would have been fetching his rubber ducky in the pool as we slow smoked a gorgeous fresh ham the butcher at Whole Foods set aside for us. I've never smoked a fresh ham, so was a little nervous about this adventure but we ended up really pleased with the results and plan to make this a new tradition. Here's how it all went down...
A three day brine in one of those Turkey brining bags made for a juicy, succulent little ham. We used an 8 pound, bone in ham. For the brine we heated 1 cup of salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar in a quart of water. Added:
4 dried bayleaves
5 Tbs ground allspice
3 tbs ground ginger
2 tbs ground cloves
10 garlic cloves
2 blood oranges zested and sliced.
I did add a few shakes of this tasty seasoning I bought in Jamaica.
Here's the ham before we added more cold water to completely immerse it.
After the three days were up, I took the ham out of the brine, lightly rinsed it, patted it dry then coated it in a mix of:
1/4 Cup brown sugar
poked a few cloves in the fat cap
Cracked some fresh pepper
Placed it in a roasting pan with 2 cups apple juice and oranges from the brine. I also spritzed the ham every hour with a combo of apple and orange juice to keep it moist.
Ready to Smoke!! We filled the BGE with lump coal but didn't do wood chips as we didn't want it too smoky. However, apple or cherry chips would be really nice. We let the charcoal heat up for about 40 minutes, then brought it down to 180 to cook about 6.5 hours until the center read 155.
One hour in...
Four hours in...
Snorty and Bubbles waiting for their Christmas ham and soaking up some sunshine :-)
5.5 hours in... covered the fat cap to prevent burning.
Ready for glazing!! Meat is tender and juicy and we look forward to tasty sandwiches the next few days.
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups apple juice
zest from a blood orange
Over medium low heat, while stirring constantly, reduce until thickened, about 20 minutes. Let it cool about 5 minutes then pour glaze over the ham. Let it set, carve and serve. Delish!! And no nitrates and bad stuff like the store bought cured hams.
In Memory of Mr. Mugsy...