There is something so very Christmasy to me about a big, beautiful ham. The idea of cooking a ham in soda was first introduced to me in Nigella Bites. Nigella says that she ran across it in a old Southern cookbook. Apparently they've been doing it in the South for ages. Brilliant southern cooks! I love the way that the soda imparts a light sweetness, but also depth of flavor to an inherently salty piece of meat. Nigella actually cooks her ham in Coca Cola by boiling it. Stateside, it is not very easy or affordable to procure a raw ham. Ours are usually fully cooked - cured or smoked. This is not a problem. I boil it for less time than Nigella does to simply warm the ham through and impart the flavors. Then I lacquer on a glaze and broil it in a hot oven to get a sticky, crispy top for my ham. I've done Coca Cola, Cherry Coke, and now I experimented with Dr. Pepper. This was my favorite so far. You could try any soda you wanted (Ginger Ale will be my next conquest). These pictures may not do it justice, but this ham is simply fantastic and I look forward to making it all year. It provides a stunning presentation, extremely juicy meat, and very happy Christmas guests. Dr. Pepper Ham (adapted from Ham in Coca Cola by Nigella Lawson)
2 2-liter bottles Dr. Pepper
1 cinnamon stick and 1 star anise
1/2 tsp. each peppercorns, whole cloves, whole allspice
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. spicy mustard
1. Wash your ham in cold water and place in your largest pot. I didn't give a size for the ham because you need to gauge how many people you are having for dinner and what size ham will fit in your pot.
2. Add a quartered onion, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and allspice to the pot.
3. Pour in one of the bottles of Dr. Pepper.
4. I needed about 1/2 of the second bottle. You want to only come about 2 inches from the top of your pot (even if the ham is not fully submerged) or else it will make a total mess boiling away on your stove. Trust me on this. I've done the research.
5. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat and simmer the ham for about 2 hours.
6. Drain off the liquid (Nigella says that the stock makes a killer soup, but I've never done this). Reserve about 1/4 cup of the stock for your glaze. Place the ham into a foil-lined roasting dish.
7. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, both mustards, chili powder and mix to combine. Salt is not needed because the ham should be salty enough on its own.
8. Add about 2-3 Tbs. of the stock and whisk together until it forms a thick glaze.
9. Pour the glaze over the ham and blast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the glaze is bubbling and delicious.
10. Remove from the oven, slice up, and enjoy! Pineapple is a traditional side dish for ham, so I always have it.
You can use the ham bone to make stock as well...