Yep the fat man in a red suit is just around the corner so it’s time for another Christmas recipe, although truth be told I use this recipe all year round. This is the perfect way to feed a crowd and hams are available all year.
Usually here in Australia they come split into two being the leg and the round or you can get the whole leg. If I’m doing a half I will get the round end as it has way more meat on it and you’re not paying for bone. If you’re going for presentation you might want to go for the leg end or the whole leg depending on how many you’re going to feed. Often you can find a small whole leg around the 6 to 7kg mark and these look great, just make sure you can fit it into your BBQ or oven. The other thing to check when you’re buying the ham is to make sure its cooked, most hams you buy in Australia are already cooked and all you doing is heating and adding a glaze, however you can get raw hams that need to be cooked the whole way through so just be sure to check.
The following is how I do it and how we have come to enjoy ham, you will find many different methods if you search such as different temps, covering with foil and so on and so on but after cooking many hams over the years this is how I do it.
Setting up the BBQ
You want to set up your BBQ for indirect cooking, which means away from the heat source, I use a Weber kettle so charcoal on one side and the meat on the other, in the kettle I also use a water pan to help regulate temperature. If you’re using a hooded gas BBQ it’s the same theory you might have the left burner on and have the ham to right or you might have 2 outside burners on and have the ham in the middle. Failing all of that you can use your oven. Whatever method you use set it for 150°C.
Preparing the ham
Remove the rind from the ham but be careful not to remove the fat, you want all of that fat left there to render down. I find the easiest way is just to run your finger under the rind and it will separate. Once you’ve done this score the ham diagonally one way and then the other about 1cm apart to make a diamond pattern and place a clove in the centre of each diamond. Place the ham in a large foil tray.
For the glaze you will need a bottle of ginger ale, a litre of pineapple juice and some brown sugar. Combine 500ml each of the ginger ale and pineapple juice a pour over the ham and half fill the tray, then cover the ham with a good layer of brown sugar. You might want to do this on the BBQ as transporting a 6kg ham in a foil tray filled with liquid can be challenging.
If you’re using charcoal I like to add some apple wood for a smoky flavour, just do one chunk at a time and maybe only 2 chunks total, unless you really like a smoky flavour, but too much overpowers all the sweetness of the glaze. I think you would find hickory or mesquite to over powering but other fruit woods should work.
Let it bake for a ½ hour to let all that sugar start rendering with the fat, after this get a spoon and start basting the ham with the juices from the tray, repeat this every 20 mins to form a sticky glaze. The ham is already cooked so you’re just reheating it and adding the glaze, so really the ham is done when it’s glazed to your liking. I do mine until there is little burnt edges and the glaze is really sticky. On the kettle this will take about 1½ to 2 hours. You could do it low n slow at say 110° to 130° but it would take a long time for the heat to penetrate all the way through the ham, I just do mine at the same temp I used to do it in the oven before using the kettle. If you have a temp probe you want an internal temperature of 63°C. You might want to take the cloves out before serving the ham, they give a nice flavour to the meat but bitting down on a clove is not that pleasant.
Congratulations you have just BBQ’d your first Christmas ham, sit back and bask in your own sticky glazed glory.
You can google and find lots of different glazes using pomegranate, maple syrup & mustard or cherries. The main thing is to give it a go, experiment and remember it’s already cooked so you’re just heating and adding all that sticky goodness.
And don’t forget, you don’t need to wait for Christmas to do this, get a crowd around, glaze a ham and add bread rolls and coleslaw for a no fuss way to feed a crowd.
Photo credit for this well presented ham goes to my good friend Linda who follows this method, I like to take mine a little further but I’m not as good at the presentation ha ha.