Pork me, baby!
With Easter Sunday right around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the birth of the Easter Bunny after the crucifixion of a pilot who was carrying chocolate eggs or something. To be honest, I’m not really an expert when it comes to the basis of various holiday traditions; I’m just in it for the food. As the unfortunate victim of many a bad Easter dinner, I can tell you that (much like Thanksgiving), the focus must be on the main staple: ham. Keep your turkeys and fowl debaucheries out of this one; Easter belongs to the disembodied leg of pigs everywhere, and nothing is worse than a dry, overcooked, and tasteless ham.
Never fear: we can rectify this.
Meliorist City Ham with Flambéed Orange.
You’ll need the following:
1 (brined) city ham: a city ham is any packaged ham in a plastic bag labelled “Ready to Serve,” “Partially Cooked,” or a variant of such. Look for one with a nice coating of fat, as this will serve to absorb some of the salt content in the ham, as well as one with a tag such as “Ham in Natural Juices.” A fatty ham is a good ham.
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
- 3 oz of good bourbon
- 2 cups of crushed ginger snaps
- 1 tsp of grated nutmeg
- One orange (navel)
Pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees F (121 Celsius, which you should never use on your oven).
Remove the ham from its bag, and rinse and drain thoroughly. Place the ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Grab your local engineer, and using a small paring knife, cut into the skin and first few layers of fat of the ham from bottom to top, spiralling 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. Any more than that and the delicious juices will spill out, ruining a good ham.). Aim for about an inch and a half between the cuts. Once you’ve made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiralling counter-clockwise. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham (don’t worry too much about precision here; it’s just ham, for god’s sake).
Tent the ham with heavy duty foil (don’t suffocate it), insert a meat or probe thermometer, and cook until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, aim for about three and a half hours.)
Remove your ham and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them (please, don’t eat the delicious fatty skin. Your doctor would not appreciate the consumption of such porky goodness).
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Dab the ham dry with paper towels, and then brush on a liberal coat of the mustard using a basting brush. Sprinkle on two cups of the brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated.
In a separate bowl, combine the cookies with the nutmeg, and crush the whole thing together. Pat the cookie mixture on top of the sugar, and sprinkle the whole thing with about one ounce of the bourbon. Try to get a fairly even coating, and be sure not to soak the mixture!
Insert the thermometer in a new spot, and return the ham to the oven, sans tin foil. Cook until the interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, which’ll take about an hour.
Let the roast rest for half an hour before carving. While you wait, slice the orange horizontally into even, whole slices. Cover these with the remaining half cup of brown sugar, and roast them with a propane torch ‘til caramelized. While sugar is melty hot, apply the remaining ounce of bourbon on top. Garnish a slice of ham with an orange, and some mustard.