The centerpiece of the meal was a dutch oven ham recipe that was actually done pretty simply, with just a few ingredients. Basically, it's a honey and brown sugar glaze. I'd seen some recipes that used this particular approach, but I took it in a slightly different direction.
At first, I thought I'd flavor it up a bit with maybe some apple juice or dried apples, and cinnamon and nutmeg. But then, I decided that was going to be too obvious, and I should shake things up a bit. So, I ended up going with a chili powder in the mix.
That worked really well, because you get this three-layered flavor thing happening. When you bit into it, especially a cut with a glazed edge, you got the sweet, sweet sugar first, and then a few moments later, a bit of heat. Finally the salt of the ham meat itself came through.
Dutch Oven Honey Spicy Ham
Deep Dutch Oven, 12" or 14", depending on the size of your ham
12": 25-28 coals, split evenly between above and below
14": 30-33 coals, split evenly between above and below
- 2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Salt
- 1+ Tbsp Pepper
- 1-2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 uncooked ham, thawed
- 3-6 ounces of honey
That's it, really. Not much to it, is there? I kept thinking, "Wait, this is too simple. What else should I put in there?" But I couldn't think of anything else that it needed, or that would really enhance it. Simple is good, it seems, especially in ham recipes.
I started off making the rub. This is also simple. I just mixed the ingredients into a small bowl and stirred them together with a fork. Now, your chili powder my be weaker or stronger than mine, so taste the whole mix and see how it balances. Then you can adjust the pepper and the chili so it's there, but not too strong.
How much of this you use is going to depend a lot on the size of your ham. I actually ended up doubling this one because I was baking a 10 pound ham. Use these same approximate proportions and just make it to your taste.
Put the ham in the dutch oven and make sure that you can close the lid over it. Depending on the size and shape, you might have to position it differently, or, as I did yesterday, have to cut a chunk off. I have honey in one of those squeeze bottles, so I drizzled it all over the ham. Using a basting brush, I spread it out, especially on the sides.
Then I took the rub and smeared it all over the ham, letting it adhere to the sides with the honey. I let that sit for ten to twenty minutes and absorb into the meat a bit.
I put it on the coals, and from that point on, it was simply a matter of managing the heat from the coals and occasionally using a baster to pick up the juicy syrup and respread it onto the ham. I also had some sugar mix left over, so after a couple of hours, I also dusted that back on top for some more glazing.
It cooked for about three hours total, to an internal temperature of 160 or so. At that point I took it off the coals and brought it in to the table. By the time we were all gathered, it had risen up to about 170.
My family pronounced this dutch oven ham recipe delicious!
Along the way, I also made some french bread for the first time, and also did au gratin potatoes that didn't break! I'll add those recipes later.