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When you’re the host of a get-together, there’s nothing more reassuring than to know you’ve got a ginormously gorgeous baked ham ready to be the centerpiece of the table.

Your guests will not be able to resist the sweet glaze that flavors each spectacular, succulent slice of this ham. Make it ahead, bake it while you’re wrapping presents or writing cards. And when you’re ready to serve, put it beside other entrees, the bread basket and wine.

This ham’s versatility is the best part. If there are leftovers, you can have some flavorful ham sandwiches, sides, salads or whatever ham heaven your heart desires.

The Perfect Baked Ham
Servings : 6 to 8

Ingredients: 

One whole ham, about 11 pounds, bone-in, skin on
8 cups pineapple juice (canned)
1 cup bourbon
1 and ½ cup brown sugar
1 cup seltzer water (or ginger ale)

For the Glaze:

1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 and 1/2 cup pineapple jam
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
6 to 8 pineapple slices, drained, for garnish

Instructions: 

· In a large stock pot place the whole ham, with the bone and skin on. Pour the pineapple juice, bourbon, brown sugar and seltzer water. Liquid must cover the ham. Add more water if needed. Cover the ham. Over medium high heat, boil then simmer the ham till tender. For this size of ham, simmer for 3 hours stove top till tender. Prick with a fork to see if tender. (Note: I used my slow cooker or ‘crock pot’ for this ham. Over a setting of “High”, I slow cooked the ham for 8 hours).

· Once ham is boiled tender, drain from liquid and place on a large baking pan that will fit the size of this piece. Using a sharp knife, remove the fatty skin from the top of the ham. Then score diagonal slices over the ham. Insert a clove on every corner of the diagonal slice, about 2 to 3 inches apart from each clove.

· Separately, in a small bowl mix the glaze ingredients : pineapple jam, brown sugar, minced garlic, black pepper powder. Then place this glaze on the ham, like you were frosting a cake.

· Bake whole ham in a preheated oven 375 F degrees, for 40 to 45 minutes or till glaze is golden.

· When done, remove ham from the oven and let it cool on the counter. Slice the ham as you serve. Garnish with pineapple slices.

· Recipe notes: To avoid the ham getting dry, once ham has cooled, cover with aluminum foil and keep till ready to serve. Slice in amounts enough for guests.

Cook’s Comments: If you buy a ham already made, skip the pre-boiling part of this recipe and go straight to making the glaze. Insert cloves on diagonal criss cross sliced corners of ham. Mix the glaze and place atop the ham. Bake in a preheated oven 375 F degrees for 40 to 45 minutes till top is golden.

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Elizabeth Quirino believes that “food brings the world together.” She loves to cook, develop recipes, photograph & write about her culinary adventures on her 2 blogs Asian in America & The Queen's Notebook. Outside the kitchen, Elizabeth paints watercolors, reads everything and ends every week with ballroom dancing. For great food stories find her on Facebook and follow Mango_Queen on Twitter.

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