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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Changing up Christmas main course

At Thanksgiving, the turkey is the star of the table. For Christmas, there are many options for the main course. One of the more popular choices is ham.

There are a few reasons why I like to cook a ham instead of turkey. First is the cooking time. You can easily cook a ham in half the time it takes to cook a turkey. I also like the different glazes that you can use for your ham.

This brings me to today’s recipes. I have three different glazes that top a ham: Root Beer Glaze, Creole Orange Glaze and Sugary Spicy Glaze. The beauty of these glazes is that you can use them on any type of ham, with spiral cut being one of the most popular. Here are the recipes.

This recipe is adapted from New Orleans food critic, Tom Fitzmorris. It is one of his most request recipes. It uses a product that I grew up on. Barq’s root beer was created in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1890. In my opinion, no other root beers come close to Barq’s.

Root Beer-Glazed Ham


24 ounces (two cans) Barq’s Root Beer

1 1/2 tablespoons Pepper Jelly

1 Bay Leaf

1 1/2 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce

6 Cloves

1 stick Cinnamon

Peel and juice of 1/2 Orange

Peel of 1/2 Lemon

1 Smoked Ham, about 8-10 pounds

1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard

3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

It is best to make the glaze the night before.

Combine all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer, and cook for about a half-hour or until the liquid is reduced to about half. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Place the ham on a rack in a disposable pan. Score the ham in a criss-cross pattern. Spoon enough of the glaze over the ham to completely wet the surface. Combine the brown sugar and mustard and pat is all over the ham. Pour a half a cup of water into the pan. Spoon some of the glaze over the top of the ham at 15-minute intervals until it is all used up. Add more water to the pan when it dries up. Continue baking until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160℉ on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a half-hour before carving.

Here is a more traditional glaze. I think that the tartness of the orange juice is a great compliment to the brown sugar. You can use pineapple juice, but, for me, that would make this a little too sweet.

Creole Orange Glazed Ham

20-pound Ham, scored

1 cup Orange Juice

1 tablespoon grated Orange Peel

1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

2 tablespoons Creole Mustard

8 thin Orange slices, unpeeled

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Spread surface of scored ham with orange juice, orange peel, sugar, and Creole mustard. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 15 minutes or so. Then ham comes out of the oven, garnish with orange slices and rest for at least 15 minutes.

This recipe I have shared before. I am including it because it is my go-to glaze. It works great on all kinds of ham, especially spiral-cut hams. Don’t let the work spicy fool you. It is favorable but not peppery hot.

Sugary Spicy Ham Glaze

1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice

1 cup Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice

1 tablespoon coarsely ground Black Pepper

1/4 cup (packed) Light Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended. Allow to stand for at least 1 hour before using. Spoon over ham until wet. Cook ham until done, glazing every 15 minutes until all of the glaze is used.

Next time you cook a ham, don’t use the glaze that comes with it. Use one of these glazes and raise your flavor level up a few notches.

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