Photo by Donna
What to do with a ham?! I never know. I don't really like ham. Ham is a bore. There's too much of it. And it tastes like ham! But I had a big one from an extraordinary pig, I'd brined it using a standard ham brine but did not smoke it as would be traditional. I don't have a proper drying facility for a big cut like this to make a prosciutto. So I froze the thing and ultimately got tired of all the space it took up in the freezer. It was time to cook the beast. An urgent email was dispatched to the friends and family who'd helped to break down the pig, all enthusiastic takers.
Now, in order to get excited about it, i decided to try something I hadn't done before. Slow roasting it in foil in a very low oven to tenderize the thing, than to cook it over low coals on the grill and bathe it in some lovingly tended sweet-sour-spicy sauce.
The result was Sunday's dinner last week, slow-roasted barbecued ham with a chipotle-honey glaze—a reason to be excited about ham.
Combine all ingredients, heat till salts and sugar is dissolved, cool completely. You might also throw in plenty of garlic, onion, sage, lemons or any other aromats that excite you (highly recommended). Submerge the ham in the brine, weighting it down to keep it submerged, and refrigerate for a week.
Basic Barbecue Sauce Technique and guidelines for Chipotle Honey Glaze:
Sweat chopped onion and garlic till translucent (you can't over sweat), salting them as you do. Add plenty of ground cumin and coriander, chilli powder of your own choosing. Cook the spices then finish the sauce. You might deglaze the pan with some rot gut bourbon. You might then add a quarter cup of brown sugar and half as much cider vinegar. If you like the idea of chipotles and honey, add 2 to 4 minced chipotles in adobo sauce and a 1/4 cup of honey rather than the aforementioned brown sugar. Then add a can of whole peeled tomatoes (what are they, 28 ounces?), and cook this down for an hour over low heat, blend/puree thoroughly, and taste for seasoning. Meaning: Ask yourself is it the right balance of sweet and sour? does it have enough salt? is it spicy enough? If the answer is no to any of these questions, adjust accordingly until it is lip-smackingly exquisite.
Barbecued Ham Technique:
I wrapped the ham in foil and cooked it at 190 degrees overnight. When I could handle it, I removed the skin (which I would press between silpats and bake until crispy to serve as a snack with drinks while I tended the ham and finished the potatoes and beans).
I rewarmed the ham over low coals, smoke roasting it in a covered grill, basting with the sauce till it looked gorgeous.
Slice and serve with plenty of additional sauce. Lime never hurt anything that I know of. Donna just liked the look of those olives in the photo above, but eat them with the pig skin, not the ham.