The Best Ham Recipe

I’m a huge fan of Food Network!  I love watching all of the shows especially shows that teach neat tricks and easy simple to do meals.   A couple years ago I saw one of my favorite shows Good Eats – Alton Brown host and it was a show about Ham!   I’ve never cooked a ham in my life.  I knew it wasn’t that hard because City hams are usually fully cooked and besides when I’ve eating a honey baked ham they taste good but not GREAT!   I might prefer Turkey instead.   Well, my mind has since changed.  After I saw the episode of Good Eats – City Ham, I was sold!

City Ham Recipe Source – Food Network – Good Eats- City Ham

I’ve made some adjustments to the instructions see in bold.  I’ve made this at least 3 times and LOVE it!


  • 1 city style (brined) ham, hock end*   I use a Smithfield smoked spiral sliced ham, fully cooked.
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard   I use a basic brown spicy mustard.
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar I use either dark brown or light brown whichever is on hand.
  • 1-ounce bourbon (poured into a spritz bottle)  I just drizzle the bourbon on.
  • 2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies – Yummy!  I use the brown bag of ginger snaps and I ask the hubby to crush them!  This would be a great activity for the kids to do.


Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Using a small paring knife or clean utility knife set to the smallest blade setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut. (If you’re using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat). Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across. Once you’ve made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham. (Don’t worry too much about precision here.)

Tent the ham with heavy duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F.

Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  I recommend lowering the temperature to 300 degrees.

Dab dry with paper towels, then brush on a liberal coat of mustard, using either a basting brush or a clean paint brush (clean as in never-touched paint). Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated. Spritz this layer lightly with bourbon, then loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can.

Insert the thermometer (don’t use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered). Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 1 hour.  I find that it doesn’t take that long to reach 140 and since I want a crust to get really crunchy it helps to let it roast longer so I lower the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees mentioned earlier.

Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.

*Cook’s note: A city ham is basically any brined ham that’s packed in a plastic bag, held in a refrigerated case and marked “ready to cook”, “partially cooked” or “ready to serve”. Better city hams are also labeled “ham in natural juices”.

One reason I love having a blog is I can use this to remind myself of recipes and things I really enjoy, plus it is a great way to say to someone “check out my blog!”

Source: City Ham – Alton Brown – Food Network

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