Rating: 4.8 stars
25 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1

There are many reasons for making your own holiday ham: bragging rights that you actually did this, but also that you can flavor your ham any way you want and you can control the salt content.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
2 hrs
additional:
4 days
total:
4 days
Servings:
16
Yield:
16 servings
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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
Optional Glaze:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place kosher salt, brown sugar, pickling spice, and pink salt in a container large enough to hold the brine and the ham.

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

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

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

  • Remove roast from brining liquid. Discard the brining liquid and transfer the roast back to the brining container. Cover the roast with fresh cold water to rinse off some of the salt. Depending on how salty you want your ham, you can soak it for just a few minutes or overnight. Remove roast from the water and blot dry with paper towels.

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add a cup of water to a roasting pan with 2 whole star anise. Place roast on a rack in the roasting pan.

  • Roast until ham reaches an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees F, about 2 hours. Ham will not be fully cooked at this point. If water has nearly evaporated, add a splash more. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Continue to roast until skin is browned and crispy and ham reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees F.

  • To make the optional glaze, mix the mustard, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and salt together in a bowl. Brush glaze on the ham at this point, not before. Return roast to oven for about 5 minutes to crisp it even further.

Cook's Notes:

18 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 the ham is cured, you'll want to give it a soak to rinse off the brine, and how long you do this can affect how salty your meat is. I prefer just a quick dunk, but you can leave it for as long as 24 hours, which will produce what I'll 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 you should go, but I wanted to give you the range.

Nutrition Facts

484 calories; protein 38.8g; carbohydrates 22g; fat 25.6g; cholesterol 127.1mg; sodium 13995.6mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (18)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/15/2016
Followed recipe except for the pink curing salt. I did not have any in house. Still came out Perfect! 2 1/2 days brining followed with a half hour of clean water soak. Grilled it on the Big Green Egg. Amazing! Next time I will make the sauce. Read More
(7)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
03/07/2020
I made this with 2 pork loins, and have been making bacon and Canadian Bacon for some time. BUT the salt and cure levels are RIDICULOUSLY HIGH. Normal curing uses the EQ method. A seven pound piece of meat should use, in a brine ... just over 1/2 ounce of cure. The salt should be ... 5 ounces of salt. This is CRAZY high. Pink salt or curing salt is toxic to humans but is not present in finished, cured meats in a high enough dose to cause illness or death. Read More
(4)
25 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
07/15/2016
Followed recipe except for the pink curing salt. I did not have any in house. Still came out Perfect! 2 1/2 days brining followed with a half hour of clean water soak. Grilled it on the Big Green Egg. Amazing! Next time I will make the sauce. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2016
I have enjoyed preparing Easter dinner for the past 16 years. I seek out a good ham not smoked as local as possible with some pretty good results. This year I purchased 1/2 pig to support a friend's new farm endeavor and therefore had a leg of pork. I did not want it smoked so fresh ham it was. I followed this recipe no changes and it was the most delicious ham I have ever served up at our family Easter dinner. The flavor is complimentary to the meat but not overpowering. I did pick up a meat injector for about 4 and injected the brine evenly through the leg of pork before brining. I would recommend doing this. After brining I did the coldwater soak for about 6 hours and the salt level was just about perfect to my taste. I don't like overpowering salt flavor. I served the maple honey glaze on the side it went well with everything from the ham to the potatoes to shrimp! Try this recipe homemade is amazing! Read More
(4)
Rating: 1 stars
03/07/2020
I made this with 2 pork loins, and have been making bacon and Canadian Bacon for some time. BUT the salt and cure levels are RIDICULOUSLY HIGH. Normal curing uses the EQ method. A seven pound piece of meat should use, in a brine ... just over 1/2 ounce of cure. The salt should be ... 5 ounces of salt. This is CRAZY high. Pink salt or curing salt is toxic to humans but is not present in finished, cured meats in a high enough dose to cause illness or death. Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/02/2018
I used two boneless pork butts one 8lb one 9lb and cooked them differently. I followed the brine recipe except I didn't have pink salt so I subbed sea salt. I was able to brine both butts in same large ss stock pot. I brined for 3 days then rinsed in fresh water for about 15 min. I tied the butts. I smoked the 9lb butt in my Masterbuilt electric smoker at 275F with Hickory chips until it reached 150F about 2.5hrs. I baked the other 8lb butt in the oven as per recipe but without star anise instead used ground cloves and cinnamon. The verdict: Both were super juicy but everyone thought the smoked butt was FANTASTIC. The baked butt ended up tasting salty but still OK. Next time I will rinse in fresh water for longer. As for the sauce I used Hazelnut syrup instead of Maple and it was also Fantastic. Thanks for the recipe. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
01/14/2018
added another half cup of brown sugar 1/4 cup of pickling spice. Brined 7 days.. Apricot Rum glaze ( 1/2 cup apricot jam 1 tbs yellow mustard 1/4 cup brown sugar. 1.5 shots of rum) smoked 5 hours at 160 with hickory last 3 hours 250 degrees glazed an hour before it finished. it is just crazy good Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/04/2016
I rate 1st try with this recipe a 5 star...Recipe inspired me to fulfill another try at making a holiday ham...last year was 1st attempt and well it came out like apork roast.....this year much much much b etter...I bought a fresh ham from the market cured for 2 1/2 days...the steps to follow were self explanatory in which is another plus for me because I am the type who over thinks on things when doing for the 1st time...We are very happy with the results...Thank you Chef John Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/27/2019
I made it for the first time Followed recipe exectly it came out Perfect! 1 1/2 days of brining followed with 10 minute water soak. Grilled it in Neff Oven Using Thermo Roasting setting at 160c for 3 hours. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
05/14/2020
Very good recipe. I’ve made it several times and would recommend a couple of things. I wouldn’t make a shoulder (picnic ham) again, way too fatty for me. The butt is a much better cut of meat and makes a nice presentation. Second I would leave the meat in the cure an extra day for a 8lb. ham longer for a larger one, so that the entire center is cured. I also soaked 1 day in water to reduce the saltiness. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/25/2020
Did everything except the curing salt and it was just as delicious!! Read More