Usually, the only reason I buy cooked ham is to slice it up for sandwiches — unsliced ham is half the price of sliced — but the last time I went grocery shopping, bone-in cooked ham was on sale, so it was time to figure out how to turn it into a dinner. Actually, I had done that before with boneless ham, but always by cutting the ham into nice neat slices, or cubes to scatter over pasta, and browning it quickly. The bone was going to make that more difficult — might as well just leave it in.
A large chunk of cooked ham is an odd ingredient — you need to treat it almost as if it’s uncooked, heating it in the oven until a meat thermometer shows it’s hot enough. The good news is that this gives you a chance to let extra flavors cook into it. This is why you may see hams covered in peaches, pineapple, or even whole cloves stuck into the surface. Ham can also be glazed, or covered with a sticky sauce, often sweet.
But for some reason I began thinking of a dry rub instead, and did a quick search to see if such things existed. Though they do, in the end I made something that was part rub, part marinade. I decided to put it on the ham well in advance. Taking the ham out of the fridge after four hours, I was a little worried to see that half the ingredients seemed to have vanished, but I knew they must’ve soaked into the ham, and that could only be good. I was right — this was tasty, with the flavor of the ham coming through, and just enough of the sweetness and smokiness.
- 1 ½ — 2 pound piece bone-in cooked ham
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ cup (approximately) brown sugar
- Slice the ham partway through — just down to the bone, or leaving a few inches unsliced where the bone doesn’t reach. Slices should be about ¼ to ½ inch.
- Brush all surfaces with the liquid smoke.
- Rub the sugar over the brushed surfaces.
- Refrigerate for about four hours.
- Heat, uncovered, at 350℉ for about 40 minutes, or until ham reaches 160℉.
- The sugar may look burned, but don’t worry, it’s not.
- If you don’t have liquid smoke at home (I know, I’m weird), you could try barbecue sauce, but I can’t vouch for the results.
- You could even try this with spiral sliced ham — you might have to use more sugar and smoke.