Homemade Holiday Ham

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Homemade Holiday Ham
  1. Place kosher salt, brown sugar, pink salt, and pickling spice in a container large enough to hold brine and ham.

  2. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil and pour over brine ingredients; whisk to dissolve. Pour in 1 gallon fresh cold water to cool down mixture.

  3. Score the skin side of pork roast with a sharp knife, cutting into the fat beneath the skin but not into the meat. Score about 1 inch apart, then score in the opposite direction to get a classic diamond-shaped pattern.

  4. Lower roast into brine, skin-side up. Use a plate to weigh down roast, so it cures fully submerged in liquid. Refrigerate for 1 day for every 2 pounds of pork (cure for 2 1/2 days for a 7-pound roast). Turn roast over halfway through the brining process.

  5. Remove roast from brining liquid. Discard brining liquid and transfer roast back to the brining container. Cover roast with fresh cold water to rinse off salt; let soak for a few minutes to overnight, depending on how salty you want your ham. Remove roast from water and blot dry with paper towels.

  6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  7. Add 1 cup water and 2 whole star anise to a roasting pan. Place roast on a rack in the roasting pan.

  8. Roast in the preheated oven until ham reaches an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees F (55 to 58 degrees C), about 2 hours. Ham will not be fully cooked at this point. If water has nearly evaporated, add a splash more.

  9. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Continue to roast ham until the skin is browned and crispy and the internal temperature reaches 145 to 150 degrees F (63 to 66 degrees C).

  10. Make optional glaze: Mix mustard, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and salt together in a bowl. Brush glaze on baked ham. Return roast to the oven for 5 minutes.

    Chef John

  Pavlova Made Simple

Chef’s Notes:

Eighteen ounces of kosher salt equals about 2 1/2 cups Morton’s kosher salt or 3 2/3 cups Diamond Crystal kosher salt, as they have different size grains.

Once ham is cured, you’ll want to give it a soak to rinse off the brine; how long you do this can affect how salty your meat is. I prefer a quick dunk, but you can soak it for as long as 24 hours, producing what I call a low-sodium ham. It’s still pink and flavorful but barely salty. Experimentation is the only way to figure out how long to soak it, but I wanted to give you the range.

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