I cooked a ham that made them Smack their Lips off!!!!

Dec 18, 2002 (Updated Jan 7, 2003)

The Bottom Line A big hunk of meat ... a southern soft-drink and lots of patience (or sleep) combine to make a melt in your mouth decadent holiday entree!

I know that this isn't exactly a Quick Meal Recipe but since this is the only recipe category I see on Epinions, this is where I'll post it. Besides ... the prep is actually quick and easy ... it's just the cooking time that isn't! *LOL*


Okay ... if you already know how to cook a ham, feel free to skip this ... if you like everything to look picture perfect, skip this ... if you don't eat pork, for goodness sakes skip this ...


If you love a delicious tender ham, if you've always been intimidated to cook one, if you thought only your grandmother could actually cook a delicious tender ham ... then read on!!!!

My hubby decided we'd take a ham to a Christmas pot-luck with some friends .... why he chose ham, instead of sausage balls, or spinach artichoke dip, or Ceasar salad, or any of the other millions of things I know how to make, I have no idea ... but he did it, so I was going to make the best of it.

He bought a ham ... not huge, but not too small ... about 10 lbs.

Just before bed-time, I preheated our oven to 350 degrees and lined a deep roasting pan generously with foil ... letting it overlap the edges significantly. The extra wide heavy duty foil would have been perfect, but I didn't have that so I used two sheets of the regular width foil and folded them several times along one edge to form a seam and give me a piece wide enough. I placed the ham in the roasting pan on top of this and poured in one can of COCA-COLA .... then I covered the ham with another generously sized piece of foil and rolled/folded the edges all the way around to make it as airtight as possible. (One can worked well for the size ham and size pan that I had. You'll want to be sure to use a deep enough roasting pan to allow room for an inch or so of Coke *and* whatever juices/fat cook out of the ham. If there doesn't seem to be ample room for the whole can of Coke, don't use it all.)

I placed the ham in the 350 degree oven and allowed it to cook for one hour. Then before going up to bed at about 11:30, I turned the oven down to 250 degrees ... and allowed the ham to cook undisturbed in the oven all night.

At about 6 o'clock the next morning, hubby turned off the oven and opened the door to allow the heat to escape. Then at about seven when the ham had had time to cool a bit (but it was still VERY warm an the juices were hot so use caution), I transferred the ham from the roasting pan to a clean dish (mine happened to be the large oval french white dish, but anything will do for serving.) for refrigerating till the evening when we were to take it to the party.

You would not BELIEVE how amazingly tender and juicy this ham is!!!!!! It all but melts in your mouth! And it tastes like heaven!!!!! Now I will say that there is no way you're going to come out with a picture perfect hunk of meat to decorate with pineapple rings and cherries if you cook it like this. You have to be willing to sacrifice a bit of appearance for flavor and tenderness. The meat is so tender that it absolutely falls apart! I was going to move the whole ham to the serving dish and slice it at the party, but there was no way to do it ... even with two of us using every pancake or egg turner I could find to support under the ham. So I ended up just peeling away the outside skin and fat and removing the bones, which came out with absolutely NO resistance ... and then placing the pieces of ham on the serving dish. Since the party wasn't until after work, I covered the whole thing in foil and placed in the fridge ... and then shortly before the party I cut up the pieces into slices (or 'chunks' since many of the slices feel apart!) and warmed the ham in the microwave just to room temperature or a bit above.

If you wish to serve a sort of gravy or broth with the ham you can drain the juices (the coke and ham fat mainly *ick*) ... into a large glass measuring cup and cover and place in the fridge as well. When cooled remove the solidified fat and boil the liquid to thicken it and pour over the ham or serve on the side for guests to drizzle over individual portions if desired.

Some people say that ANY liquid for cooking would do ... it doesn't have to be Coke ... you just need something to create steam as the ham is cooking and keep it from drying out. Some suggestions coworkers have made were pineapple juice or coffee. But I think the acidity and sweetness of the Coca-Cola somehow work perfectly with the ham to create just the right flavor. And when boiled down, the coke will form a thicker stickier liquid that is fantastic for drizzling over individual servings or on biscuits if you're southern! *LOL* It tastes kind of like a salt & sugar cured country ham.

Anyway, again ... you may all know a great way to cook a ham and/or you may prefer a cooking method that allows for a more formal presentation... but I swear in my total of 13 years of marriage (and intermission) , I've NEVER tried to bake a ham because I thought it was some huge difficult thing. And I've just been too intimidated to even try. I've also had WAYYYYY too many hams at family dinners (not my grandmothers though) or social gatherings that were tough, dry, stringy, or in some way or the other just not good.

Well ... all I can say is .... we'll be having ham more often at my house!!!!! It was a huge hit at the party and received lots of compliments and one of the guys asked for specific instructions and said he was going to ask his mom to cook their ham this way for Christmas! (I sure hope she isn't insulted!)

This ham is AMAZING ... unbelievable ... delicious ... succulent ... luscious ... tender ... juicy ... scrumptious ...

Happy Holidays!

UPDATE 1/7/03: Several people have asked about cooking this ham in a crock pot ... well I tried it yesterday and it worked wonderfully!!!! I'd recommend cooking all day on low or medium (depending on how many temperature selections you have) with one can of Coke. You may have to have your butcher cut the ham in half to make it fit into your crock pot depending on what size you have. I bought one large 'picnic' ham, but had them cut it in to two pieces ... to cook one and freeze one for later ... it fit nicely and was way more than enough for our family of 4. Here're my crock pot reviews in case anyone's interested ... http://www.epinions.com/content_56935681668 and http://www.epinions.com/content_82856283780

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