This Easter get Seasoned in the South

Easter is my favorite family-oriented holiday. No gifts, just food. The weather is warm but not hot. The flowers are in bloom. Everybody comes home from church in their whites and pastels, ready to sit in the sunshine and nosh. At some point there’s an Easter egg hunt (a ritual no one understands, I mean, what significance could it possibly bear?) and the adults take turns holding the babies and helping the kids find the eggs that were hid up trees and on the roof (every year…).

We here at Algonquin like to mark events with food and drink. No holiday is safe. Least of all Easter. What you need is Bill Smith‘s baked ham recipe from Seasoned in the South.

Baked Ham for a Big Brunch

1 tenderized ham (about 18 pounds) (note: Yes, tenderized ham is fully cooked, and I suppose that it would make a fine ham sandwich, but the twice-cooked glazed ham that it becomes turns people into gluttons, standing around the platter long after the meal is over.)

1 cup (packed) light brown suger

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup Grade B pure maple syrup

This recipe could not be simpler. Get a tenderized ham from your butcher. Cook it, covered, like it says on the wrapper. Usually it will say 20-25 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F. You are talking an easy 7 hours here. Put an inch of water in the bottom of the roasting pan. The ham should be on a rack. If you have to use foil to cover the ham, put a piece of buttered kitchen parchment between the ham and the foil.

Uncover the ham for the last hour of cooking. Lift off the carapace of skin that covers the top of the ham. It will turn into cracklins. Scrape away some of the fat that will be revealed hen you removed the skin. It will all be melted, so this can be easily done with a dinner knife. Make a paste of the sugar, mustard, and maple syrup, and coat the ham with it. THis will run everywhere and make a mess, but that’s okay. Baste with the pan juices at least once during this period. The ham is ready when it is all but falling off the bone and is a minimum of 165 degrees F at the center. It needs to sit at least one hour after cooking before it can be sliced.

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Susannah Long, intern

Bonus points if you find the Easter egg that I hid in this post.

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