Baked Ham with a Brown Sugar, Rum and Cayenne Glaze

Baked Ham with a Brown Sugar, Rum and Cayenne Glaze

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 185 minutes
Servings: 10 Serves 8 to 10.
In this recipe, a spicy-sweet, flavorful glaze is brushed on the ham during baking to give it a burnished, golden brown appearance and to complement the assertive taste of the meat. It also enriches the pan drippings, which are then used to make a sauce. Brush the glaze on the ham partway through baking, not at the beginning, to prevent the sugar-based mixture from scorching.


  • 1 partially cooked bone-in ham, about 12 lb.
  • Whole cloves for studding
  • 2 cups unfiltered apple juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Orange or tangerine wedges or fresh or
      candied kumquats for garnish
  • Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Using a large, sharp knife, cut off the skin and all but 1/4 inch of the fat from the ham, leaving the surface as smooth as possible. Score the top and sides of the ham diagonally in two opposite directions about 1 1/2 inches apart, creating a diamond pattern. Stick a clove into the corners of each diamond. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add the apple juice and 2 cups water to the pan. Bake the ham for 2 hours. After 1 hour, add more water to the pan if needed.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, rum, kosher salt and cayenne pepper and stir until smooth. Let stand for about 10 minutes for the sugar to dissolve partially.

Remove the ham from the oven and brush some of the glaze evenly over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, brushing it with more glaze every 15 minutes, for a total baking time of about 3 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the center of the meat, away from the bone, should register 130°F and the glaze should be golden brown. Transfer the ham to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a large fat separator or glass measuring pitcher. Let the fat rise to the surface, then pour or spoon off as much fat as possible. Float a piece of paper towel on the surface to absorb the remaining fat. Pour the degreased liquid into a small saucepan and add any remaining glaze to make a sauce. Set aside.

Carve the ham. Rewarm the sauce and pour it into a sauceboat. Garnish the platter with the orange wedges and thyme and serve the ham warm with the sauce.

Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Christmas, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
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