Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Eve Dinner in the Dutch Ovens, Part II

For a long time, it was a Christmas tradition of mine to make some wassail and take it to work.  That really doesn't work out very well at my new job, however, so I haven't done it in a couple of years.  Still, I like the flavors and the aroma of cinnamon, apple, and orange.

So, when Jodi said that her step-dad was coming over for dinner on Christmas Eve, and that he'd bought us a ham to cook up, I started thinking about what I could do with it.  She suggested something with the oranges we have.  That triggered the idea:  I could do the wassail on the ham!

Dutch Oven Wassail Ham

14" dutch oven

8-9 coals below
16-18 coals above

  • Ham
  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • cloves

  • 1/2 can orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • cinnamon
  • Orange zest
Universal Housewares Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Camping Dutch Oven
My original intent was to cook this ham low and slow.  The ham itself was pre-cooked, so I would only need to bring it up to temperature with my flavorings, rather than actually cook the meat.  I wanted to set up my ovens to cook at about 250 degrees (F), but I'm not sure that I actually pulled that off.

First of all, this was also a pre-sliced ham, so it was easy to put the cloves in the slots of the slices.  If it hadn't been pre-sliced, I would have cut the traditional diamond angle slashes in the top and inserted the cloves into those cuts.

I put the ham into the dutch oven, for starters.  I sliced up an orange into thin rings, and laid those on top of the ham.  The ones that were on more slopey sides, I secured with a half-toothpick.  With that little bit of preparation, I put the oven on the coals, listed above.  If I could have found my small oven thermometer, I would have put that in the bottom of the dutch oven, to monitor the surrounding air temperature.  I still think that in most conditions, those coal counts will be pretty accurate.  It was cold out, so that threw off my estimates.

After about an hour, I made the glaze from the second set of ingredients.  I put them all in an 8" dutch oven and put that on some coals so that it would reduce.  It did some, but I would have liked it to get thicker.  Still, I poured that over the ham.

From then on, I would check the internal temperature of the ham about ever half hour to 45 minutes or so, and, with a basting syringe, reapply the glaze.  It took about 2-3 hours, total.  I brought it up to 140 degrees, even though I'd heard that 120 is sufficient.  It didn't turn out dry, so I was pleased.

It was delicious, and it captured that wassail flavor.  I think next time, I'll go a little heavier on the cinnamon, and watch the heat on the oven better, to keep it closer to 250.

Next: Part III of the Christmas Dinner:  The Bread

EXTRA: I got contacted by a new dutch oven blogger!  Her site is  She says she wants to cook in her dutch oven every day in 2010.  I'm looking forward to her recipes and experiences.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers. So far I am having a blast cooking outdoors, and I can't wait to get some more experience so I can try your ham recipe. Love your blog and I can't wait to try some of your recipes!



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