If you've ever been disapointed over the lack of smokey flavor in your baked ham, this methods for you. The end result is a light smokey flavor with the sweetness of the Root Beer Glaze on top.
This recipe is as much about making the basting sauce as it is cooking a ham. The sauce will go equally well on Grilled Pork Chops or Grilled Chicken when used as a BBQ Sauce.
I've had times when I've been able to cheat with this recipe. When I was fixing the menu at a restaurant in North Carolina this past Summer, I was able to get the Root Beer Syrup from a soda machine. I even used it to make a Root Beer Brisket for a large party I catered. This is a great way to make the process go quicker, since you're not having to take the time to reduce soda.
And now, On to the Ham:
Trying to buy a ham the day before New Years Day isn't one of the smartest things I've ever done. Especially since I won't cooka spiral sliced ham, and that's all that seem to be available any more. I DID find one store that had some, but they didn't look too appetising. Anyway, I ended up at Sam's Club, and bought this one. I thought it would be real cool to have solid meat with no bones, and even though it looked more like a "Deli" Ham, I thought that it would work out just fine.
So now I've smoked it on the grill, made my famous, or is it infamous Sweet Potatoes to go along with it, and carve.
It was terrific. Moist and tender, a bit of smokiey flavor, and then the added taste of the Root Beer Glaze. And then there's the added benefit of all the leftovers.
I love cooking for leftovers, and even though it took a while to get this ham cooked, I've got a ton of things I can now do with it. In fact the first one I've done is my Smoked Ham, Corn Chowder. The smokiness of the ham really came through and totally changed my standard Corn Chowder recipe.
1, 7 Pound, Ham, Preferably Semi-boneless, but Anything Will Do.
Hickory or Mesquite Wood Chips
1. Begin by soaking 2-3 cups hickory chips. They really should soak for at least 4 hours, so get them started early.
Measure out the Root Beer, and pour it into a Teflon lined Pot.
2. Place all of the ingredients into a pot, uncovered, preferably Teflon. Bring it to a boil, then lower the temperature to a slow boil and let cook until it's reduced to a syrup. It took about 45 minutes to reduce this amount to a thin syrup. Your time may be different based on the temperature your cooking, and the diameter of your pan. A wider pot will have more surface area, and reduce quicker. I ended up with a little over 1 cup of glaze.
I prefer to do this early in the morning, or the day before I'll be cooking with it. It'll allow it to cool off , and insure that the flavors have a full chance to come together.
You could easily turn this sauce into a "Wing Sauce" by adding some Red Wine, or Malt vinegar to the above mixture. And of course, the addition of some butter, or fresh or dried Jalapenos, or Habanero powder would be pretty good also.
The mustard helps the oil blend into the mix, and the oil will give a shiny glaze.
3. Trying to buy a ham the day before New Years Day was not one of the brightest things I've ever done. It's kinda like trying a ham the day before Easter Sunday. I settled for this 7 pound Black Forest Ham, that was more like a "Deli" ham, but was all meat, and super moist and tender.
4. Score the top and sides of the Ham in a 1" diagonal pattern about 1/2" deep. You can see how it's done in my recipe for an Orange Glazed, Baked Ham.
Place the Ham on a rack in a pan. Then wrap up the chips in aluminum foil.
Start the grill, turn it to high, and set the lid down'. Let this heat up for 15 minutes, or so. At that time, the grates should look white, which means that any leftover food has burned off. Scrape it down with a grill brush to clean the grate.
The grill I used has 4 burners, So, I turned off the outer 2 left the one with the chips on high, and turned the other down to medium.
5. A gas grill isn't a smoker, and it has a pretty large vent in the back. I closed this up with aluminum foil, but not air tight.
Setting the grill up this way kept the heat at 300 degrees.
6. I cooked the ham about 2 hours, basting it with the glaze every 15 - 20 minutes.
Since this was a pre-cooked ham, I cooked it to an internal temperature of 110 degrees. At this internal temperature, and the fact that it was cooked at 300 degrees, it came out real moist, with a nice bit of the Smoke flavor, and the added surprise of the glaze.
7. I sliced it about 1/8" thick and put it on a platter. And Yes, that's my Scooby snack sitting on top, I wanted to show everyone that I DO have willpower.