Cranberry-Bourbon Glazed Ham

>> Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cranberry Bourbon Glazed Ham

This recipe came about accidentally, when an afternoon of cooking with friends turned a little boozy and silly. What was left was a jar of bourbon-soaked cranberries and some tamales that went terribly wrong.

Luckily we found a way to use both the tamales and the leftover cranberries, which had become little red booze bombs. If you want a more authentic moonshiner taste, use some kind of real moonshine and make sure you add dark molasses to the glaze. It magnifies the sweet smokiness of the ham like you wouldn't believe.

Note: start your cranberries marinating in bourbon a week ahead if you can. If not, just whip it all up together and let the oven sort it out.


1 cup of your favorite bourbon
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
1 – 12-16 lb. bone-in ham
¼ cup honey
¼ cup molasses (or dark brown sugar dissolved in a little very hot water)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dry mustard


Soak the cranberries in the bourbon in a jar in the refrigerator for several days to one week.

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a blender puree the cranberries with a little of the bourbon until they are all pureed. Whisk together the bourbon, pureed cranberries, honey, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

Remove any skin from the ham and score the fat with ½” deep cuts about 1” apart. Put the ham, cut side down, in a large roasting pan with 2 cups of water in the bottom. I like to put it on a low rack in the roaster. Baste about ¼ of the glaze on the ham and bake with no lid.

About every 30 minutes baste the ham with the liquid and drippings in the pan, and then baste with more of the glaze. Make a foil tent over the ham if it begins to brown too quickly.

Bake for about 2 to 2 ½ hours until it reaches a temperature of 155° with a meat thermometer in the meaty part of the ham, not near the bone. Remove and let rest 15 minutes before carving and serving. Save the pan drippings and mix with the ham bone and vegetable scraps to make a delicious ham stock for soups or other recipes.

Serves about 8 hungry people.


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