Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ham in the 14” Dutch Oven

Here’s a tradition in many Mormon wards (congregations): The Dinner Group. Maybe John, over at Mormon Foodie will take it up and talk about it some day. The basic idea is that everyone that wants to signs up, and then each family is assigned to a group, usually of 3-5 total families. They get together for dinner once a month, rotating the household that hosts each time, until everyone has had a turn, and they’ve all gotten to know each other.

Then it’s all shuffled up and it starts all over again. Fellowship over food.

So, tonight was our turn to host. I immediately thought about cooking up a meal in my dutch oven, so that I could show off my mad dutchin’ skillz—I mean: humbly serve my fellow man… of course...

But what to cook that would do both?

Last Easter, I’d done a big ham in a Dr Pepper sauce, and I wanted to try that again. I looked through my records and I couldn’t find the recipe. So, I dug into the ‘net and looked all over but I couldn’t find the one I’d done. I did, however, find one at Byron’s site, for Dutch Oven Dr Pepper Pork Ribs. I thought I could mod it for the ham, so I did.

Dutch Oven Dr Pepper Ham

14” Dutch Oven
15-17 briquettes each above and below

  • 10 lb ham shank
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks
  • 1 11 oz can mandarin oranges
  • 20-24 oz Dr Pepper (2 cans, 1 bottle, etc…)
  • 1 cup mild-medium commercial salsa
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt & Pepper (lots of coarse ground pepper, for my taste)

I started by thawing the ham overnight in the fridge. I took it out of the fridge, and put it in the sink (still in its plastic packaging) when I woke up this morning. I’d start cooking it at around 3:00.

I put the ham into the dutch oven, and cut half-inch scores criss-crossed over the top of the meat, about 2 inches apart. Then I added the pepper, the tomato, and the onion. I drained the syrup of the canned fruits into a bowl, and dumped the pineapples and oranges into the oven, too.

I mixed the fruit syrups, the Dr Pepper, the salsa, the brown sugar and the garlic in the bowl, then poured that into the dutch oven. I suppose you could dump it all into the oven at once, but the Dr Pepper helps dissolve the sugar.

Then I put it on the heat. I actually didn’t use the briquettes I recommend above, but I think that using these numbers, especially on the higher side, will yield better results. I cooked the ham for about 3 hours, and, while it was done, I think it would have been better done had the oven been a bit hotter. Every half hour, I'd open it up, and use a ladle to pour the juice and veggies/fruits on top of the ham. About every hour, I'd refresh the coals, so if you do this, make sure you've got your side fire goin' on.

(Note from Mark, posted 8/5/07: I found a chart published by Lodge that showed that the amount coals I had started with would have produced only about 300 to 315 degrees. The numbers listed above, especially on the high side, will give you 350 to 375, which will cook much better.)

Now, through all this time, I was also making my becoming-famous rolls, that I did at the cookoff. You can find that recipe here. I actually did a double batch, because we were having a lot of people coming over, and I wanted to make sure that there was enough. I did those in two 12” shallow dutch ovens.

When it was all done, I carved the ham from the oven, and served those slices on a plate. In a separate bowl, I used a straining spoon to pull up the veggies and fruits as a sweet/salty side dish.

The verdict was that everyone was thrilled with the meal. One family brought a salad, another brought dessert, and we all had a great time. And what a spread!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the plug! I've only been in one ward where they tried the "Dinner Group" thing. I don't remember it going over very well, though.

    The "progressive dinner" is an interesting concept, too. I've seen that one with the youth groups, more than adults, though. It takes place over the course of one evening.

    With progressive dinner, each family participating makes only one part of the meal: the appetizer, the salad, the main course, the dessert, and so on. They just make sure they make enough for everyone. Then different groups go from house to house having a different portion of the meal at each house. The kicker is, you don't know which house has what part of the dinner. You just have an itinerary of houses and times that you travel, and each groups route is different.

    John Newman



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