In New Orleans, the ham of choice is Chisesi. You'll want to use a top-quality, lean, naturally smoked ham. The glaze gives the ham its distinctive dark, crusty appearance. Use a disposable pan; the drippings are hard to dislodge.
- 24 ounces root beer, preferably Barq's
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pepper jelly
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Caribbean-style steak sauce, such as Pickapeppa
- 6 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 orange, peel and juice
- 1/2 lemon, peel only
- 1 (4 to 5 pounds) cured, smoked ham, preferably boneless
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the root beer, the pepper jelly, the bay leaf, the steak sauce, the cloves, the cinnamon, the orange peel and juice and the lemon peel. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture, discarding the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and cook, on medium-low heat, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup and is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 30 minutes. If done in advance, transfer to a sealable container.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the ham on a rack in a disposable aluminum foil pan. Using a knife, score the top half of the ham in a crisscross pattern. Spoon the glaze over the entire ham to completely moisten the surface.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and the dry mustard. Pat the mixture all over the ham. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on a meat thermometer, 3 to 4 hours. While it is baking, spoon some of the glaze over the ham, letting it dribble down the sides, at 15-minute intervals until the glaze is used up. Add more water to the pan as needed to keep it from getting dry.
Transfer the ham to a work surface. Let it rest, uncovered, for about 30 minutes before carving.
Adapted from Tom Fitzmorris, a restaurant critic and radio talk-show host and the author of "New Orleans Food," which was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang after this article appeared.
Tested by Belle Elving.
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