Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR, and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love it when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Christmas Ham Glaze
Many people consider a glazed ham as part of any traditional Christmas dinner! And, many people consider making a proper glaze for ham as hard – it’s not! It’s a very simple process using minimal ingredients that can be expanded and tweaked endlessly.
Glazes can be sweet, seasonal, spicy, and more. They can be flavored with spices, fruit, fruit juice, beer, whiskey, and many other items. The sky is the limit. But, no matter how you flavor a glaze – one thing is always the same.
Glazes are essentially a liquid mixture containing sugar and seasoning that thickens when reduced and heated. Or, a glaze is a mixture of sugars and seasonings that are heated and melted onto the food – aka – the ham!
The Popularity of Glazes!
Some people claim that nothing beats a glazed holiday ham! The ham itself can be cooking in many different ways. It can be prepared whole and baked, smoked, or even grilled. Thick slices can be cooked in a skillet and called “ham steaks”.
Regardless, people love a touch of sweet flavor that a glaze offers no matter how it’s prepared. Consider this if you don’t believe me. In 2019, the Honey Baked Ham Company listed over 400 locations across the United States. The company uses “Certified Master Glazers” who sprinkle a mixture of sugar and spices over each ham while applying heat from a specialized blowtorch!
That number of 400 stores does not include other ham sellers ranging from grocery stores to specialty meat shops.
Easy Liquid Glaze Tips!
You can consider the recipe below as a starter glaze if you wish. It’s great as is – but feel free to make some adjustments and toss in some additional ingredients. Here are some basic tips and tricks when working with a liquid-based glaze. Meaning, this glaze is “wet” and not “dry” like a combination of sugars and spices with no added moisture.
First: Want to start easy? You can use preserves, jams, and jellies such as apricot, orange, or blueberry as an instant glaze! They are already flavored, reduced and thickened, and ready to go. You can use them as a stand-alone glaze or as an ingredient.
A liquid glaze is not a marinade or sauce and should not be applied too early. Sugar can burn and become bitter if burnt.
Glazes most often are applied during the last few minutes of the cooking process.
A heated sugar glaze, like the one below, can be applied during the last few minutes of the cooking process, or after the cooking process as the ham rests.
A heated sugar glaze, like the one below, will harden as it cools.
A kitchen torch can be used to heat a thick sugar glaze without burning – this is a skill and you don’t want to do this for the first time while guests are waiting to eat!
Dark brown sugar makes for a deeper flavor.
Light brown sugar makes for a sweeter flavor.
Amazing Quick and Easy Ham Glaze Recipe
This is a very simple glaze recipe and if made thinner, and not reduced, it can be used as the base for a dipping sweet sauce. Add fruit juice to thin along with mustard, or whatever sounds tasty.
1 cup light brown sugar packed
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Instructions:– Combine everything in a saucepan over low or medium heat to warm. Increase temperature to a low boil and quickly remove from heat stirring during the process. Apply to your ham and get ready to enjoy!
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